Releases Archive


Introducing DIVORCE PARTY!

We are extremely proud to introduce and announce our latest addition to the Aphonia Recordings family: Divorce Party! Their sound has been described as spasm-like, or careening from Melt Banana-esque contortions to summoning Jesus Lizard-esque riffage.

Divorce Party are David Slaga of the unrelenting drums, Ryan St. Claire’s guitar strains, Joe Biggerstaff raising the dead with his bass and Miguel Baptista Benedict supplying what I can only describe as the amplified vocal death knell of music itself. These souls wreak havoc in their short debut EP entitled “Astrocengertion Oporium.” Available in three formats, LP, CD and download (a first for Aphonia Recs). Described as “more spasm than song” Divorce Party indeed delight with a quick lightning bolt of an EP.

We hope you enjoy!

Divorce Party - Astrocongertion Oporium

Buy Now! $2 Download $5 CD and a 12 inch on it's way.

Divorce Party: Astrocongertion Oporium EP


At Last! Derek M. Johnson’s Debut Solo Release!

Derek M. Johnson - self-titled

Our first vinyl only (download too, naturally) release is a full length, 4 track explosion of sound. Anyone who has seen Mr. Johnson’s recent performances knows that his elaborately constructed mounted slide animations are indeed like little explosions… at least when they are contained within their tiny 35 mm mounts. When projected though, they become galaxies, bleached (literally) impressionistic fields and hills, the beheaded forks of flames and larger than life globules. This release is, in it’s sonic signature, the same. No one is more happy (and relieved) than Derek M. Johnson for this release. It has been a project spanning nearly 2 years of continuous effort on his part and as he pointed out late in the mixing process, “I don’t even know if it is good or not.”

The first track “FKXMS,” is a negative homage to the cultural train wreck that most of us weather called “holiday season.” The track embodies (or perhaps disembodies) the latent disgust that most of us feel during the “most wonderful time of the year.” By “feel” it, I am suggesting that we somehow know how crass our culture has become but shrug it off as a function of living in the land of plenty. “FKXMS” is a not-so-abstractly expressionistic feat of shear violence. The assault, at times, seems to be directed solely at the instrument itself – the cello. The bow squeals and thrums across strings that pronounce the likelihood of their immanent death.

“Be” is something different altogether. It is simmering, slightly sad, slightly creepy and nearly meditative. Developing slowly over a thickening bed of subtle loops, “Be” realizes itself in stages and seems to be somewhat like a soundtrack set to deep sea phosphorescent life forms evolving before your eyes. It echoes and ebbs underneath mournful legato swells. This track is befitting Mr. Johnson’s most recent slide show animations, though feels succinctly composed and intentional.

Side B brings us two very different pieces from the first side. “Fete de la Patience” is a Scott Stobbe piece performed here with great clarity. Its direct quality is in disarming contrast from the first two tracks. “You’re Welcome to Play” divides and conquers the entire record, bringing a quiet, solitary cello plucking figure to a lush and full crescendo (and multitracked cello thickness) that gives the record a denouement fitting for such a diverse set of pieces.

We couldn’t more excited to offer our first LP vinyl release by our great musician and friend, Derek M. Johnson. He has performed at more of our showcases and supported our artists for years by recording cello tracks, promoting their shows, etc. Mr. Johnson’s dedication to music has culminated in this record. It is just the beginning, however. Expect much more from DMJ in the coming months!

Derek M. Johnson
Derek M. Johnson


Unicorns in the Snow New Record / Embark on Eastern US Tour

Julia Vering is the singular voice behind Unicorns in the Snow. Hailing from Kansas City, Kansas, Vering first came to the attention of label founders Ben Robertson and Andrew Senna at the Evergreen State College where all three were studying music composition. Vering’s performance based music is at turns spooky, theatrical and whimsical. Vering’s debut release with Aphonia The Geriatric Pony Express [AR007] is at times part pop, part storytelling and swirls around piano figures and spacey synth tones. Those familiar with Geriatric will not be disappointed.

The Aviator (click to listen) marks a more ambitious turn for Vering. Coming in at 24 minutes, The Aviator consists of a single “narrative” track. Although the CD has yet to ship, you can catch Unicorns on their midwest/northeast tour and pick one of the limited 100 copy release. The release supports Vering’s vision to engage the elderly in contemporary art. Read more about that here.


8/8  St. Louis, MO @ The Lemp Neighborhoods Art Center
8/9 Chicago,  IL @ The Ball Hall
8/10 Cleveland, OH @ Boo Box
8/11 Rochester, NY @ Meddlesome Lab
8/12 Troy, NY @ 51 3rd St.
8/13 Northampton, MA @ Feeding Tube Records
8/14 Cambridge, MA @ Cambridge YMCA
8/15 Brooklyn, NY @ Death by Audio
8/16 Baltimore, MD @ Red Room
8/17 Pittsburg, PA @ Garfield Artworks
8/18 Cincinatti, OH @ The Mockbee

Click on the image below to read about Vering’s ambitious aims as a performance artist and musician. Hers is a truly unique and inspired vision. Enjoy!

You Live Here Too - Dolls


“Kappa” Teaser Video From Tetsuya Hori’s Latest Record

New Aphonia Recordings artist Tetsuya Hori gives us a glimpse, visually speaking, into the first track (“Kappa”) on his debut release “Dried Fish Is Just Good As Bait.”

Tetsuya is a composer for “things” or objects as much as he is a pianist. Most of us in the Pacific Northwest will find limited opportunities to see this truly creative experimental composer at work. This short “teaser” shows the artist and performer recording and performing. Those of you who have frequented past Aphonia Recordings showcases and are familiar with our artists will no doubt find some sense of camaraderie that goes along with the exploration of sound as music.

kappa for voice and cigar box from Tetsuya Hori on Vimeo.

Visit Mr. Hori’s Vimeo page for more examples of video work.


Mirror Mirror “In the Shadows” Hits the Digital Ether This Week – CD Pre-sale

Mirror Mirror rains down upon any acoustic space and expands it. The vocals are haunting and obscuring and they echo out over mysterious expanses. This much anticipated full length release will twist your brain around blind curves on poorly lit highways, take turns soothing your fears and indulging them. In plainer terms, it is psychedelic, oddly beautiful and melodic, sinister and distant.

In the Shadows has been a long anticipated release as Jason Campbell, principle songwriter and band leader, has recently relocated from Olympia, WA to Spokane, WA. Also appearing on the record is Ian Freddes who provides languishing drums. The two spent many sessions crafting each of these twelve tracks – a venerable outing.

Mirror Mirror’s appeal is wide ranging and we expect more from this band of reverb bathed rockers. Expect more shows in the Pacific Northwest in the next few months. Below video from the track “Monophonic Catatonic:”


Kristian Garrard: From Electroacoustic to Acoustic

Luke Bergman and Kristian Garrard at Aphonia Recs Showcase April 2008

Kristian Garrard (KRGA) & Luke Bergman are Thousands.

In the past 4 and a half years our label has gone through many changes and growth spurts. Our artists are no exception. I have seen many of them play their first shows, go on tour, later to dissolve, reform and reinvent themselves. Kristian Garrard is one such individual.

I recall meeting him very early on in the Aphonia Recordings journey. Ben had met another Max/MSP composer and was extremely eager to have Kristian release something under his moniker KRGA. Later we would tap Kristian to play many of our showcases. Ben and Kristian even hosted a Max/MSP workshop at Gallery 1412, detailing the cryptic under the radar manipulations that many disavow as mere knob twiddling and laptop music. Yes, Kristian performed with a laptop but the results were simultaneously engaging, sedative, dynamic and, at times, frightening. Some of the best performances I witnessed during our run of showcases were shows in which KRGA was the headlining act.

By the summer of 2009 it was clear Kristian was onto other material. By this time he had released his first EP Magic Wand [AR014] and the full length June [AR016CD]. Both were mere snapshots of a larger musical genius at work. I had known that Kristian had been a drummer in the band Joules and that he was a blossoming master of electroacoustic improvisation. It was with his formation of Lonesome Shack and Thousands that is became clear that there was little Mr. Garrard could not do.

A few months back I passed by Kristian on Ravenna Boulevard where we both live – we are neighbors as well. I had no idea that this casual passing was on the brink of Thousands getting signed to UK imprint Bella Union. Yes, the very same Bella Union that signed Seattle’s Fleet Foxes in addition to Andrew Bird, Wavves and Midlake. Very good company, indeed. Hearing the news that they had been signed took me back to a show that Kristian and Luke had played at one of Kristian’s last appearances at our showcases.

Fully expecting to hear KRGA’s signature hum and layered developing/enveloping textures, I asked what he and Luke were doing there with a guitar and an upright bass. “Are you gonna hook that up to your (Max/MSP) patch?” I joked. Kristian something like, “Oh we are just going to play acoustic… no mics.” I knew some direction had changed for Kristian and while I knew him to be a consummate performer, he and Luke’s short set that night headlined a night of ambiant and noise music like no other. The strains of Kristian’s particular weaving chords, half resolutions and sustains and Luke’s persistent and hardy upright bass backbone ended the evening with a tribute, a lullaby that later would morph into Thousands.

Recently they have been playing sold out shows, completed a successful tour of Europe and were rightfully praised in Seattle’s alt-weekly The Stranger. Mr. Reighley describes their sound: “Like a shadow that cannot be divided from the entity that casts it.” Well said, and best of luck to our pals, Luke Bergman and Kristian Garrard.

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Mirror Mirror Video! “Locked From the Inside”

A sneak peak into Mirror Mirror’s upcoming full length release on Aphonia Recordings! Check out Mirror Mirror’s other videos here.

Click below to purchase:


Introducing Tetsuya Hori: Berlin-based Composer, Object-player and Pianist

Click Image to Listen

“My pieces do not have a concept. That is the concept. The concept develops in the head of the listener. I compose not only for instruments, but for things. Each piece is different. Every time. I want to show the listener nonsense. Interesting nonsense.”

So says evocative and perplexing Berlin-based composer and pianist Tetsuya Hori. By arranging a confounding series of musical events, the listener is left with the freedom to interpret. At times sedative, creepily silent or jarring and brutal, Hori paints landscapes and often allows enough breathing room in his pieces for processing.

Any discernible pattern on “Dried Fish Is Just Good As Bait” is confounded by its sheer scope. Developments in his compositions take time to foment. The three long tracks that “Bait” consist of take time to get through and often, if any logic is implied, it is over stretches of minutes rather than seconds. The pieces beg multiple listens, the beauty of which is that upon repeat listens, details recede and new ones form. “Intermezzo” recalls hints of Debussy, “Kappa” listens like a book of nonsense poems supported by the sleeping of a mythical mechanical beast, “Dried Fish Is Just Good As Bait” is at once meditative, frightening and sculpted. From guttural wails to introspective chordal interludes, this is a vast project of a record and we hope you like it. His debut release comes in a limited edition special 15 inch square poster which you can pre-order as of April 14th, 2011. We are very excited to release this record and hope you check it out!

Check out a more extensive interview with Tetsuya Hori by Tobias Fischer at a unique German music website.


Derek M. Johnson Plays on Olympia Winter Nights

Last night Derek M. Johnson performed on Olympia Winter Nights. As a lot of you may know Mr. Johnson is releasing his first LP with Aphonia Recordings later this Winter. Here is the video in two parts:

Here’s more from Olympia Winter Night’s website:

Olympia Washington has a very vibrant and unique musical culture. A large part of this culture is born from the long, dark winters that all Olympians must endure, the beautiful changing of seasons and the hopeless feelings of melancholy and inspiration. This unusually creative and mysterious season provides a canvas for Olympians to create, reflect and experience a rejuvenation with the coming of spring.

Olympia Winter Nights is a live concert series created and produced by the  2010/2011 media interns of  The Evergreen State College.    This production will be aired live in High Definition video and audio from the new CCAM television studios nestled within the beautiful, wooded campus of The Evergreen State College. Olympia Winter Nights will be an intimate listening and viewing experience for those attending the in-studio performances. Additionally, the concerts will be viewable by the entire world via a live stream on the internet!

Inspiration for this concert series comes from the long running PBS broadcast “Austin City Limits”, the 1990’s MTV broadcasts of “MTV unplugged” and the recent in-studio broadcasts of KEXP radio “Live on KEXP”. The artists to perform in this concert series will be drawn largely from the rich community of local talent.  In true Evergreen State College tradition, Olympia Winter Nights will be complemented with experimental lighting techniques and infused with imaginative, real time MAX/MSP/JITTER light projections.  A truly Olympian concert experience!

Go to artist’s profile page:



Marriage + Cancer Now Available on iTunes!

Robert Cometz and Erin Schmith (Nucular Aminals) have been with us since the beginning. They played as Marriage + Cancer at our launch show way back in May of 2007. Their self titled release was our second [AR002CD] and it seems only fitting that while nearing our 5th anniversary to finally get this brilliant and often overlooked gem of theirs onto iTunes, Rhapsody and others. Of course, this release has been available for download and on CD since our online store opened in 2007.

Since 2007, Cometz and Schmith have moved on to form Nucular Aminals with Jheremy Grigsby and Wiley Hickson. Currently, they are working on their first full length record with K Records, recording most of it at Dub Narcotic in Olympia, Washington. We hope that you listen and enjoy this truly singular talent from not only great friends but also great people. Truly a classic record.

Go to Artist’s Profile: