When: Fri., Jan. 2, 9 p.m. 2015
Chicago noise artist Arvo Zylo, formerly known as Mister Fuckhead, has led a shifting collaborative group called Blood Rhythms since 2010, and this show is a release party for its debut LP, Assembly, a joint effort by Zylo’s No Part of It label and venerable Massachusetts experimental imprint RRRecords. Zylo assembled its music from as many as 66 simultaneous samples of brass and woodwind instruments played by himself, Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Bloodiest, Corrections House), Dave Purdie (Silver Abuse), Brian Klein (the Machinist), and Andy Ortmann (Panicsville). Recorded in a meat locker on three MiniDisc machines, their improvisations include blowing through a 15-foot pipe and placing the bells of their horns against the metal walls. The album starts out approximating something that a giant refrigerator full of horn players could’ve done in real time, but then hard edits and obvious looping and layering kick in, transforming their output into something like an industrial beat. Zylo applied no effects to the stacked tones, but they sometimes sound like an electric piano or accordion, a Dremel tool on glass, a steam vent at a steel mill, or a close-miked vacuum cleaner—at their peak, they could pass for the stampeding offspring of a wildebeest and a locomotive. The other side is lush and meditative, its ambient shimmer and howl suggesting bowed cymbals or far-off leaf blowers and floor buffers; drop its playback speed from 45 to 33, and it sounds like a church choir of whales.
That said, the performance tonight will be of an entirely different piece, Zylo’s “The Face You Made.” The two renditions I’ve heard shared only his distorted, haranguing vocals and blown-out cornet; one rode atop eccentric looped rhythms broken up by crashing, screeching, and bellowing (much of it made by a belt sander on miked sheet metal), while the other used buzzing, frantic pulses that meshed to create something almost ambient. For this version Zylo will be joined by Chris Turner (Nookleptia) on hollowed-out animal bones and trombone, Ron Smith (End Result) on trumpet, and as many as six drummers, four of whom were confirmed at the time of this writing: Mike Weis (Zelienople), Ben Billington (Ono, Tiger Hatchery), Josh Piotrowski (Gas Mask Horse), and Adam Wolak (Ono). Brian Klein will add live video. This is in fact a triple release party for Zylo: it celebrates not just Assembly but also a cassette collaboration with performance artist Bryan Lewis Saunders (most famous for his self-portraits under the influence of various drugs) and a solo tape called Falling Tower, Terrible Fountain. —Philip Montoro