Three Beats: A "mature" new record from Bible of the Devil | Three Beats | Chicago Reader

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Three Beats: A "mature" new record from Bible of the Devil

Plus: Ghost peppers with Gas Mask Horse, and award-winning Chinese classical music at the Cultural Center

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NOISE | Leor Galil

Josh Piotrowski approaches his noise project, Gas Mask Horse, with a great sense of humor. For his first set, at the Whistler in November 2010, he took inspiration from a south-side haunted house he and some friends had been running for five years—he incorporated props from the house, including a homemade corpse with a skull carved from a Styrofoam wig head, which was wired with optical theremins and contact mikes. He even gave his music a ridiculous name—ghoulcore. "It seems like everybody's making up genres," he says. "I had to make up something."

Piotrowski has since put out three cassettes as Gas Mask Horse. In January he posted the most recent, Full Moon Hysteria, for free download on Bandcamp, but he waited till this month—after he'd gotten the tape's artwork from Spanyurd bassist Joe Conserti, aka Kelly Sylvester Robertson—to announce an official release. Piotrowski has assembled a doozy of a package: a handmade wooden box that contains not just the tape but also a coupon for a copy of his zine Start Your Own Haunted House, a logo pin and sticker, a poster, and a "satchel of famed dream inducer mugwort."

The packaging and artwork for Full Moon Hysteria reflect the nightmarishness of Piotrowski's music, which combines creepy distorted synths, pummeling punk drumming, curtains of noise and feedback, field recordings of someone walking through a forest, and readings from the Haunted House zine. (Loop pedals help him do everything at once.) Since 2002 Piotrowski has fronted hardcore band Disrobe, whose guitarist Rick Ponce died of colon cancer in 2010. His death is part of what drove Piotrowski to run with his haunted-house concepts. "Rick was just a total horror nut, and I wish he would just be around for this shit," he says.

Piotrowski is selling the Full Moon Hysteria package only at shows (he's got one at a DIY space on Wed 4/25—e-mail gasmaskhorse1@clear.net for details). And any day now he plans to start offering another Gas Mask Horse product. He's calling it "scaryaki," and it's a teriyaki sauce made with the fiendishly spicy bhut jolokia—better known as ghost peppers.

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