April 2008 gives us the debut D-TRASH
release from USA's BLIPVERT. His disc "Stop:Skronk:Explode" is a
towering mountain of cutups, blitzes and bleeps spanning many extreme and
mind bending genres sounds. Here J. Schizoid hits up Will Redmond for
an intro to the man behind the monster.
DTRASH: Hi, BLIPVERT. Glad to have you aboard on
D-TRASH! How did you find out about us?
BLIPVERT: Yo Schizoid! Thanks for having me and glad
to be aboard! It has been awesome from the get go....
I first found out about DTrash after researching a group called Cutting Pink
With Knives. I came across their recent release on Adaadat, and loved the
insanity of their music. I noticed they had a release on a label called
DTrash, but didn't pursue the matter further. It wasn't until later that I
was researching labels online - in order to put together a mailing in the
hopes that someone would release my newest batch of stuff - that I came
across DTrash again. After listening to some the DTrash artists online and
checking out the overall musical philosophy associated with the label, I had
to send you guys something. Viola!
DTRASH: What are the other big important BLIPVERT releases that have
happened to this date. What is the most solid BLIPVERT stuff?
BLIPVERT: Well, I have only two other releases as
BlipVert. Most recent was an EP on Brooklyn, NYC's Trixy records which was
sorta released under the radar. I was pleased with it and we did a limited
pressing of the disc, but mostly it was just to prep for this DTrash
full-length, and possibly to get rid of some bits and pieces of things I had
on my hard drive. My debut release was on a label called RA Sounds, run by a
guy named Ron Anderson. I've known Ron for several years and was a member of
his avant-rock group PAK back in New York from 2000-2002. Ron's an amazing
guitarist and composer, and is primarily responsible for exposing me to much
of New York's 'downtown' and avant-garde rock and jazz communities. My debut
disc is definitely a completely realized collection of work, and the very
nice folks over at smother.net reviewed it as 'a masterpiece.' I like to
think each disc however is solid in its own right in that each one has its
own story or compositional framework. I tend to outdate myself from one
record to the next, primarily because I'm always improving and exploring new
realms of equipment and musical possibilities. So each release has its own
level of creativity and focus.
DTRASH: What got you into this type of extreme electronic noise music?
BLIPVERT: The basic answer to that question is metal.
The first kinds of music I ever listened to or appreciated were metal and
progressive rock (I am a guitarist first :). From here I was immediately
drawn to music with high levels of complexity and intensity, absorbing
everything from jazz and free improv to psychedelic rock and eventually
electronic music. I've come to the realization that there is no limit to how
'out' you can get with music based in an electronic medium, primarily
because electronic music is most often about the character of the sound than
the actual composition. This allows absolute freedom for sound construction
and composition, and what brought me to want to get involved in electronic
noise music in the first place. I'm offered the ability to get as extreme as
I want in my own work. Its kinda wierd when I look at it, as I've gone from
practicing and appreciating musical forms with very rigid structure to music
that is chaotic and amorphous.
DTRASH: Many artists in this scene have a political agenda in these times.
Would you say there is any kind of political angle of your creations?
BLIPVERT: I never really thought of my music as having
a political message per se. I'd say there's more of a social angle in my
music. BlipVert refers to the idea of delivering bits of information and
data to a person at a hyper accelerated rate, until they eventually can't
take it anymore and explode. In the world we live in there is a persistent
rapid and almost schizophrenic flow of visual and aural stimuli. I guess I
want to try and capture the environment that I live in musically, rather
than state or represent a specific political agenda. Politics in the U.S.
has become childish, sensationalist and such a waste of time to the point
where I can't even pay attention anymore. I'd rather make a ton of
noise..........which is what politics is anyway.
DTRASH: Give us your top 10 albums of your life, hit us with your solid
favorites and what you dig tunes-wise.
BLIPVERT: Wow, top ten albums of my life. That's a
bold one. Well, here are some that as I recall blew my hair back, in no
1) Miles Davis - Dark Magus:Live at Carnegie Hall -
Christ, only Miles himself could compile a random band of dudes and have an
all out scathing - ethnic - funk - avant - rock - free jazz jam at Carnegie
Hall. This album just hits and never lets up and is about as funky as it
gets, but Miles Davis style funk!
2) King Crimson - Discipline - I first heard this in my car driving home
from high school, and I had to stop the car and pull over and just listen.
The sounds of overlapping guitar textures, slick rock/fusion drumming and
blazing guitar solos a la Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew changed my life.
3) David Torn - Tripping Over God - This is the first album I heard from
guitarist David Torn when I was in my 'guitar geek' phase (does that phase
ever end?). David Torn is a guitarist who actually refers to himself as a 'texturalist,'
and creates the most surreal, alien atmospheres with his guitar and all
kinds of effects and looping devices. No one can create the sounds Torn can,
and this album is one of the most bizarre, beautiful albums I've ever heard.
4) Squarepusher - Go! Plastic - As much of an asshole as people say this guy
is, there's no denying that this album is an amazing avant-garde electronic
music album. Some reviewers criticized him for rehashing old ideas on this
record, and after Music is Rotted One Note I think people were expecting
more of a development of his instrumental chops or maybe a different idea
althogether. If you really listen to this record, there's so much going on
and the programming and editing is flawless. I wish he'd gone more in the
direction of My Fucking Sound or Greenways Trajectory (my fav tunes).
5) Embryo - Reise - I came across this record living with a couple of
hippies in Brooklyn. They had an amazing record collection and I dubbed damn
near all of it. Embryo is an old German prog rock band that had a habit of
incorporating ethnic elements - e.g. instruments, modalities, even ensembles
- into their music. In the early seventies, they gathered up everyone and
their families and hundreds of hours of audio and video recording equipment
and toured the Middle East for two years! Reise is a double LP documentation
of that tour. This album should be awarded a Grammy due to its scope and
6) John Coltrane - Interstellar Space/Ascension/Live in Seattle - Its hard
for me to pick one record from Trane, who is one of my biggest influneces.
These three probably represent my favorite style of Trane's playing, mostly
free, minimal structure, and massive exploration. No one on this earth can
deliver like Trane could, a true genius and a man obsessed with exploring
every dynamic of his horn and his music. Live in Seattle is a blistering
recording of the Coltrane quartet - featuring Pharoah Sanders - at the
height of its skill and diversity. The raw power and focus of Trane is most
clearly evidenced on Acension, a massive 40 minute composition featuring an
amazing cast of players all going full force at 1000 miles an hour. Some
have said this album is the most powerful human sound ever recorded. I tend
7) Master Musicians of Jajouka - Apocalypse Across the Sky - I first came
across these guys after hearing the soundtrack to Naked Lunch with Ornette
Coleman. I later discovered that Burroughs himself was a huge fan, who once
described them as a 4,000 year old rock band. It is like nothing I've ever
heard, sufi-trance percussion accompanied by ancient ethnic horns, flutes,
and guitars. Truly unique and inspiring.
8) The Residents - Mark of the Mole - I happened to be in an, um, 'altered'
state when I heard this, which might have had something to do with my
reaction to it. I think its completely psychotic that after 30 + years of
performing and releasing albums no one knows who the hell these guys are,
due to the fact they wear giant eyeball masks everytime they perform.
Needless to say this is true art-music, very meticulously composed and
purposeful; not to mention the album carries with it a strong story and
social message dealing with immigration. Brilliant....
9) Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica - Heh, what can you say about
Beefheart, aside from the fact that's he's completely insane? There's no
real way to perfectly describe this album, you just have to experience it
for what it is: completely fucked up (one of my friends refers to it as
strict blues). Zappa was one of Beefheart's biggest fans and actually
produced this record. I'm very influenced by Beefhearts demented rhythms and
insane guitar and bass arrangements, which is very evident in my music.
10) Don Cherry - Codona I - In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful
albums ever made. Don Cherry is one of my favorite musicians, and extended
beyond the realm of jazz into ethnic compositions. This album features Colin
Walcott and Nana Vasconcelos on all kinds of instruments. A masterpiece of
Middle Eastern/jazz inspired compositions.
DTRASH: From what I understand you gig quite a lot actually. Just before
your disc you did a tour of the USA! How was that? What is your set like?
What distinguishes your stuff in a live setting from the other Wishy Washy
DJs out there.
BLIPVERT: I try to gig wherever anyone will take me! I
almost go crazy sending out emails and trying to organize shit. Its a lotta
work. I mean, who's gonna book fractured glitch grind spaz tronic music on
their rock night? Regardless, live performance for me is where its at. I
recently cranked out an east coast tour at some really cool like-minded
venues. A pretty successful little jaunt, but exhausting. This is mainly due
to the fact that my sets, while on the short side, are very aggressive. I
spaz out and dance and jump around all over the place. As one audience
member said after a gig, 'You're the only IDM guy I've seen who sweats when
he performs.' Others have said that they enjoy my 'dancing,' which makes me
laugh as I can't dance at all. I just get really into what I do, and try to
put a face or identifiable characteristic to the music. I try to 'perform'
each one of my tunes or use them as vehicles for improvisation or entirely
new compositions by using vocal effects or altering the music in a variety
of ways. Sometimes during a set I'll stuble upon a new performance idea that
I've never thought of before and just go with it. This makes 'performing'
electronic music both exciting and challenging for me, rather than just
spinning a record. It amazes me that most people here in the States
associate 'electronic' music with DJ culture, and I get so sick now of even
seeing the term 'DJ'. Christ, everyone's a DJ! Most creative electronic
music performance takes a back seat to DJ banality, which makes it harder
for someone like myself to book gigs.
DTRASH: Your stuff is pretty fucked up actually! Both the artwork and the
music. What accounts for this lunatic side of BLIPVERT, what is that
insanity coming from.
BLIPVERT: To the statement that my music is 'pretty
fucked up,' I say, thanks! Sometimes I tell people that this music is the
result of not having a steady girlfriend for 12 years. In all seriousness,
the best answer to where all the lunacy comes from was being exposed to
Gyorgy Ligeti's Requiem at age 10 while watching 2001: A Space Odyssey. This
experience terrified me as a child, and gave me nightmares for about a week.
I believe something opened up in my head as a result of this, and I began to
hear and see things in my environment differently. Other than this, I don't
see how anyone can NOT go a little looney living in today's world. As for
the artwork, I like it to represent what the music is/sounds like. The more
disturbing the better!
DTRASH: For the record, regarding BLIPVERT, where did that name come from?
BLIPVERT: I first came across BlipVert while watching
the old television series Max Headroom. It was part of the very first
episode they ever broadcasted.
DTRASH: If you would want to remix any artist out there, what's one of your
favorite artists that you'd die to remix? Also what is the shittiest
possible band that you would remix for kicks?
BLIPVERT: Great questions! A group I can't get enough
of right now is Konono N1, who'r responsible for developing a style of music
called Congotronics. These guys create hand made electric thumb pianos and
feed them through giant homemade PA systems to where the sound might remind
one of early Krautrock or even early electronic music. Its intoxicating as
hell! I'd love to glitch-ify one of their tracks. As far as a dream remix,
I'd have to pick the Future Sound of London. No one can paint a picture like
those guys.... And as for shitty artists to remix, that's a toss up for me
between U2 and P. Dipshit, I mean Diddy, Combs. I'd probably get paid pretty
DTRASH: What's up with that insane artwork? What is going on, on your
DTRASH104 artwork? Who did the artwork and what other stuff's he done?
BLIPVERT: Heh, thanks for asking about the artwork.
The name of the front cover is actually called 'The Sonic Mask,' realized by
guy named Gavin Wilson, a good friend of mine who I met in New York. Gavin's
an amazing artist with a unique vision. His works focus on psychedelic
imagery mostly with bondage themes. It amounts to a truly unnerving
experience, which is what I'm drawn to. He also designs really wierd 'buddha'
masks that in my opinion defy categorization. I love working with artists
when I'm about to release an album, and I love seeing how they interpret my
own visions and my music. I believe its an essential part of the package
when releasing a disc. Gavin's supposedly completing a book of artwork that
will be published soon. The only website I have where one can see some of
his drawings is http://botanicalliteracy.blogspot.com/
DTRASH: How does one stop:skronk:explode?
BLIPVERT: Chase Pop Rox and fertilizer with Jolt Cola,
then dance about like your hair's on fire while whipping a giant rubber
chicken. You will eventually explode.
DTRASH: Hit us with some wisdom. Give us some deep knowledge. Tell us your
fortune and what is in the BLIPVERT future. Preach us the message, yo!
BLIPVERT: As John Zorn said: 'Powerful secrets are
relvealed through intensity and extremes of experience.' My opinion is live
that way or don't live. As for the future, I'm just really looking forward
to developing my relationship with DTrash, releasing more records, and
hopfully touring/gigging with a bunch of DTrash artists! Anyone down? I'm
also looking forward to composing more and seeing how much more out I can
possibly get with my own style of music, which includes learning new
instruments (including my own electric noise kalimba!) and checking out new
software programs and drum boxes. I can guarantee the next record will have
a style and energy all its own. Its a lotta fun! I've also been considering
a move back to New York City, studying gamelan music in Indonesia, buying
and wearing more wierd hats, and continuing my own spaz/grindcore trio out
in the Bay. Whew!