Shows Archive


Textura on Evon: “suggestive of moody goth-rock”

In issue #73, Textura reviews Agnes Szelag’s new project “Evon: The Bees Are Coming.” Describing Szelag’s work as a “one-person, mini-orchestra” is not an understatement.

If you haven’t heard the new album we welcome you to have a listen over here. Indeed, as the review points out, it is perhaps important that Szelag chose a different moniker other than her birth name, as there are lot of contributions by other artists on the record.

The Norman Conquest provided recording help as well as voice, guitar and percussion. Fellow Aphonia artist Marielle Jakobsons, who also works with Szelag in their duo Myrmyr, provides vocals as well.

Although this is clearly Szelag’s vision, the wide array and cast of characters makes it an ensemble piece, larger than life, not a hobbyist or stripped down side project that merely spotlights the ego of it’s principle creator. No, Evon’s “The Bees Are Coming” is an immense work, encompassing many sonic backcountries and thoroughfares alike and again revealing another layer to the near geologic depth that Szelag’s work encompasses. Enjoy!.

Click to listen!


Bill Horist’s New Release The Psoriasis Coast now available!

The Psoriasis Coast: while representing more familiar territory to those who know Bill’s work, indicates a different direction than previous records. Inspired in part by W.G. Sebald’s “The Rings of Saturn”, this record imagines an coastline in the midst of an interregnum between the end of a sentient species’ existence and the birth of a primal structure from which a new order will evolve. This is an itchy and decrepit place as the emblems of previous enterprise slough back into the ineluctable resilience of nature outside our own. Passages of dense noise and wailing are balanced by dolorous moments of stillness and quietude.

Come to Bill’s dual release party for The Psoriasis Coast and Covalent Lodge (available in CD/LP/download at on Friday June 11 in the acoustically sublime chapel at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford.

Chapel at the Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, SEATTLE, 8pm, ALL AGES!


Derek M. Johnson & Andrew Senna to Embark on Western US Tour

Famed cellist Derek M. Johnson (Olympia, Wash.) and Aphonia Recordings co-founder Andrew Senna (Seattle, Wash.) are to begin touring the western United States this February. These two longtime friends and musical companions begin their tour in San Francisco on February 19th. You can check their Myspace pages out for full tour listings to see if they will be in a town near you:

Derek’s Myspace

Andrew’s Myspace

These guys will be serving up both melodic and droning noise for your aural appetite. Derek employs hand treated slides projected on an enormous screen to augment the expansive sounds he derives from his carbon fiber cello.

Andrew on the other hand will be colliding field recordings, analog synth warbles and spacious rolling electrified folk songs out towards the mountains.

This is the first tour both have them set out on, so go out and support them, buy their CDs and enjoy what will most likely be a provocative and nutritious musical buffet.


Aphonia Rec. Showcase in this weeks The Stranger

Pick up a Stranger or click here to read about our upcoming showcase at Josephine.


Mangled Bohemians, Lube Fondue & New Red Sun @ Josephine

Hello Everyone!

I am happy to inform you all of Aphonia Recordings next showcase on January 10th at the Josephine in Ballard – that’s 01/10/10. That’s a lot of 1′s and 0′s… very binary. Anyways, we have sonic buffet of a variety that hopefully will be an auspicious beginning to a year that I think everyone hopes will be better than the last one. So don’t forget, Sunday January 10th, 2010 at the Josephine in Ballard: 608 NW 65th St N Seattle, Washington 98117… Read on about our featured artists this time around! I know its short notice, deal with it.


Mangled Bohemians (PDX) are an intensely atmospheric two-piece band featuring massively effected guitar and electronics. Mining heavily from the post-punk tradition of the likes of Glenn Branca, Savage Republic , Heathen Earth era Throbbing Gristle, and Sonic Youth’s SYR releases, Mangled Bohemians create long spacey drones that melt into beautiful washes & pseudo-melodies.


What started out as a collaborative effort for Butoh dance & sound between Casey Jones (Noisepoetnobody) and Briana Chittenden turned into a string of performances 3 years long. Eventually the situation blossomed into a romance story full of art, dance, noise & an outdoor wedding. Trained as a butoh dancer Briana incorporates experiences in movement art into a new medium seamlessly blending the boundaries between frequency and motion. Instrument builder and electronic musician Casey collects sounds from small peaces of metal, strings, springs, rocks, sea shells, kitchen tools & more with a hand soldered contact microphone.


Seattle-based drone group New Red Sun weave delicate melodies into densely shifting tapestries, from violin, guitar, and interlocking feedback. Drawing on a diverse palette, NRS includes elements of folk, drone, black metal & noise. NRS self-released their debut EP “Riding the Slow Wave of Death” in October ’09 and will be releasing a more extended follow-up on Albuquerque’s Featherspines label. NRS work is especially informed by the acts with which they’ve been fortunate enough to share bills, including Dragging an Ox Through Water, Barn Owl, Bill Horist, Novemthree, Elm, honey.moon.tree, Dr. Jones, Thunder Grey Pilgrim, Vivimancer, Higuma, Violet, Groves, I Died, Hobby Knife, Shurpa, Tempered Steel, Cult of Zir, Sleeping with the Earth, Prion, Dementia, Split Horizon, Groves, Travis Johns, Derek M. Johnson, Vradiazei, and more.

You see? You can’t miss it! See you there!


Andrew Senna
Aphonia Recordings



Travis Johns, Derek M. Johnson & New Red Sun (Aphonia Recordings

It has been an interesting year and as we look towards cooler days and longer nights I would like to direct you to enjoy some aural treats at the next Aphonia Recordings Showcase on November 6th. We are on home turf again at Gallery 1412 in Seattle’s central district. For more info on Gallery 1412 click here.

This time around we have some old friends as well as visiting new friends. Most of you will recognize experimental cellist Derek M. Johnson, an Aphonia stalwart, having played at more of our showcases than nearly any other of our artists. Mr. Johnson wears many hats, so were never quite sure what he’ll be up to. Whether it is his abstract slides electric cello accompaniment, or all acoustic pure improv, Johnson never disappoints. Also, audio manipulator-artist-extraordinaire Pearson Wallace-Hoyt and eclectic violinist Jackie An – both veteran performers to our showcases are reincarnated in the newly formed New Red Sun:

Seattle-based drone group New Red Sun weave delicate melodies into densely shifting tapestries, from violin, guitar, field recordings and feedback. Drawing on a diverse palette, NRS includes elements of folks, drone, metal & noise. NRS has been fortunate to share the stage with artist like Barn Owl, Bill Horist, Novemthree, Elm, honey.moon.tree, Dr. Jones, Thunder Grey Pilgrim, Vivimancer, Higuma, Violet, Groves, I Died, Hobby Knife, Shurpa, Tempered Steel, Cult of Zir, Sleeping with the Earth, Prion, Dementia & Split Horizon. NRS self-released their debut EP “Riding the Slow Wave of Death” in October ’09 in support of their fall West Coast tour and are currently working with Albuquerque’s Feather Spines label on a more extended follow-up.

More about Travis Johns:

Travis Johns is a composer and sound artist from San Francisco, Ca. Using a combination of processed field recordings, sine wave oscillators and analog electronics, he attempts to weave textural gestures, thoughts and experiences into a singular mass of infinite sonic possibilities. Most recently, his work has concerned itself primarily with two notions – namely that of the desolation and excess of human industry, as well as the mysteries and intrigue of the subconscious mind, often sounding something like the distant swarming of well oiled mechanical bees woven with fissures of dark tones and noise rips.

Come out and support these artists at Gallery 1412 in the CD on Friday November 6th. The doors will open at 8PM.


New Release, Mood Organ’s “Visiting a Burning Museum”

Aphonia Recordings is pleased to present, along with Debacle Records, the new joint release of Mood Organ’s “Visiting a Burning Museum”  available for purchase on the Aphonia Recordings website! Chris DeLaurenti of Seattle’s alt weekly The Stranger authors a column called The Score. This week he covers Mood Organ and writes:<br><br>

<block quote>”Mason inscribes his music with poetic details that reward headphone listening: lonesome guitar, rustles of wind, swelling tones, and keyboards that sound like they’re underwater, blurred by shivering eddies and ripples.”</block quote><br><br>

Of course, Timm Mason is Mood Organ and while Aphonia Recordings has hosted many incarnations of Mood Organ’s work we are especially excited for this new release, “Visiting a Burning Museum.” As part of the joint release, Debacle Records has manufactured a very short numbered run of 100 CDs and will be available at local record stores in the Seattle area, such as Wall of Sound and Dissonant Plane – so get yours while they’re hot!<br><br>

And, if you are in the Seattle area Mood Organ will be playing a show at Ballard record store, Dissonant Plane this Friday, August 28th.<br><br>

See you there!


Ben L. Robertson : Farewell Seattle show (August 14th)

Note: Photo has nothing to do with performance.

Hello Everyone,

With great anticipation & some sadness, I would like to invite each of you
to my last performance at Gallery 1412 prior to my upcoming relocation to Spokane, WA. As many of you already know, I was recently accepted into Eastern Washington University’s Masters in Music Composition program & was, subsequently, chosen for a Graduate Assistantship within the Department. Needless to say, I am VERY excited.

You may be asking yourself, “What will become of Aphonia Recordings?” Fear not. Andrew will continue to maintain label operations & booking in the ..Seattle.. area, while I open the “Eastern Washington Branch” of Aphonia Recordings & continue to host shows in Spokane. Rest assured, we can all look forward to more releases & performances now from both sides of the mountains!

The Friday’s (August 14th) showcase will feature a number of unfamiliar takes on performance strategy & new interactivity. For example, cellist & master slide-projectionist, Derek M. Johnson will be performing an all acoustic set on a foreign instrument. If we’re really lucky, he might even coax out a Styx cover or two!

Likewise, Aphonia Recordings’ better-half, Andrew Senna is planning to perform
a rare solo set of original songs & noise textures that stradle the precious line between cathartic folk hymns & narrative sound-design. Finally, I will be performing a duet with violinist, Jackie An (New Red Sun, Whiskey Romance). This indeterminate piece is modeled upon an algorithm that extracts pitch data from two performers (Jackie & myself) & generates, by means of a logical system of microtonal counterpoint, new audio content in a manner akin to the improvisations a third, phantom performer.

With all of this mind, please stop by Gallery 1412 this Friday at 8:00pm (sharp) to hear/see all of this new work. Since this performance will be my going-away party of sorts, there might even be cake (????)

hope to see you there!!!!!

Aphonia Recordings : 09 – viii / Going-Away Party
1412 18th Ave – Seattle, WA
8:00 pm

Andrew Senna
Derek M. Johnson
Ben L. Robertson w/ Jackie An


APHONIA FEST 2009 – JUNE 4, 5, 6 (( THURS // FRI // SAT ))


Hello Everyone,

I wanted to let you know about a festival that we (Aphonia Recordings) will be hosting during the first week of June. As a celebration of 2+ years in business, we have organized this three day festival featuring friends & artists across the region & the country. In classic Aphonia-fashion, the festival will showcase a synthesis of Electroacoustic, Microtonal, Performance Art, Avant-Pop, & New music. As always, we hope to see you there….

-Ben Robertson

Desolation Wilderness is a West Coast band. They left the parking lots and the malls, the high schools and the valleys, and found their home at the summer night overlook. Taking the sounds of the cities below & amplifying them into a pitched resonance, they write slow burners & warped guitar/synthesizer/vibraphone ballads influenced by drone music, the photorealistic art of Robert Bechtle, & musique concrete (with pulse included). Desolation Wilderness has released music with a variety of labels, including Aphonia Recordings (In Love With Anything 2007). They hit the studio again & recorded New Universe for release on K Records in August 2009. Itching to leave the studio again, Desolation Wilderness will be touring extensively in support of New Universe.

(b. 1971, Washington DC , US )
Since arriving in Seattle in the mid-nineties, Bill has established himself as a highly regarded performer, composer and improviser. He has appeared on over 50 releases and has performed hundreds of concert around the world. In addition to his solo endeavors and work with bands Master Musicians of Bukkake, the Paul Rucker Ensemble and Ghidra to name a few, he has collaborated with a wide range of artists including John Zorn, Secret Chiefs 3, Ruins, Bill Frisell, KK Null, Vidushi Sumitra Guha, Kinski, & Aiko Shimada among many others. In practice, Bill’s prepared-guitar tactics will stun.

Mood Organ is the solo project of Seattle-based musician Timm Mason. Timm is best known as the bass player for diverse acts including funk juggernaut Eldridge Gravy & the Court Supreme, psych-rock supergroup Midday Veil, and instrumental hip-hop cover band Hamburger Pimp. Mood Organ is a platform for exploring different modes of listening and intersections between musical (& non-musical) genres. Each Mood Organ performance is unique; recent performances have included a solo performance on electric bass, a duet between saxophone and amplified objects, and a solo composition for harmonium and prepared piano. Work is nearly complete on the first full-length album “Visiting a Burning Museum “. Also in progress is a series of solo performances inspired by the classical elements and their associated platonic solids. For the Thursday show, Mood Organ will be presenting Quietus 3. Quietus is an improvised drone ensemble with fluid membership. I’m nailing down the complete lineup but it will at least include Skip Milford (electric fiddle), Emily Pothast (vox), David Golightly (analog synth), and myself on bass.

Gabriel Tuzzolino Will and Ian Thomas Ackerman are two members of a loose collective of musicians also including Warren Lee and Danny Sasaki. They are bent on exploring the outer limits of tonality as it exists within nature eschewing the harmonic imprecision of equal temperament. Harsh dissonances are revealed as delicate sonorities by the temporal stretch of the music.

L.A. Lungs was formed in the summer on 2005 in a Tacoma studio apartment by Afterthought Lung (nee Nathan Markiewicz) and Leeward Lung (nee Lori Peterson). What began as a “studio” project became a “functioning” live act by the summer of 2006, with L.A. Lungs making their live debut at the, now defunct, No Tomorrow concert series in Seattle . L.A. Lungs continue to perform around the Pacific Northwest and have been fortunate enough to share bills with artists such as Acre , Wesley Borden, Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, Crank Sturgeon, The Dead Air Fresheners, Steve Fisk, Forest Friends, Gowns, Bill Horist, Derek Johnson, Mattress, Myrmyr, POWRFL POWER, Shearing Pinx, Talbot Tagora, Your Drugs My Money, and many others. In their loose arrangements L.A. Lungs use variances in phrasing, the inconsistencies of live electronic sound manipulation, and acoustic/amplification variables to create semi-improvised compositions that can vary drastically in tone, rhythm, and emotive qualities from one performance to the next. Visitors to the Aphonia Fest can look forward to the possibility of hearing work from LA Lungs recent Aphonia Recordings release, Most of the Time We Do Not Realize We are Shedding Our Skins 2008, as well as newer material.

Kristian Garrard’s project, KRGA, aims to combine the sounds of any and all instruments around into thick, swarming clouds of tones using self-built sampling software. He uses emphasis on drones and moving textures to create warm and dense atmospheres. Most pieces are created using only one or two instruments as source material to be processed & resampled in the software environment, Max/MSP. Past works have used utilized the ubiquitous 60 hz ground-hum, a “personal massager”, as well as more traditional instrumentation. In performance, deconstructed sounds swirl around the room, as patiently created beds of tones build into a complex organic storm.

Unicorns in the Snow is the one-woman project of Kansas City-based composer, performance artist, & social worker, Julia Vering. The project’s roots are grounded in earlier attempts to explore empathy in a visual context. Her most recent work, “The Aviator”, is a miniature opera inspired by the narrative of an aging, anti-social pilot, obsessed by the inimitable power of flying planes. In the final act, recorded the day after the aviator’s death, reveals the primal collaboration of the artist and her elderly muse, commencing in a primal scream accompanied by violent arthritic movements of the performers’ neck and hands.

Mangled Bohemians (PDX) are an intensely atmospheric two-piece band featuring massively effected guitar and electronics. Mining heavily from the post-punk tradition of the likes of Glenn Branca, Savage Republic , Heathen Earth era Throbbing Gristle, and Sonic Youth’s SYR releases, Mangled Bohemians create long spacey drones that melt into beautiful washes & pseudo-melodies.

Heavy drones, overtone melodies & the sound of the land – Paintings for Animals is the vocal electro-acoustic music of Pearson Wallace-Hoyt. The sound possesses an archaic resonance connecting the human voice with an Earthen narrative of the landscape, flora, fauna & human ritual of both pre & post-history. Started in 2001 & transformed for live presentation in 2007, performances have taken place at art, dance & music galleries, warehouses, bars, cafés, DIY venues & live radio. Paintings music has been used in film, for video, installation & with dance.

Derek is an Olympia native and can’t seem to ever get away. He frequently performs solo acoustic/electric cello throughout the Northwest with an ever changing, direct animation slide show. He’s been a member of Bloodclot, Dead Air Fresheners, Le Ton Mite, Frequency dB, and the unfortunately named Superfly 2000. Collaborations include: Unwound, Thollem McDonnas, Jeremy Jay, Ben L Robertson, Arrington de Dionyso, Bob Marsh, among others.

The magnetic vortex that is eastern Washington is perhaps best reflected by the banshee like howls and tortured vocal treatments that hover over the fractured rhythms and found-sounds of Ryan Leeds’ project, Daedelum. Leeds is interested in exploring the boundaries of traditional instrumentation & dissecting, reassembling, & colliding the parts with electronic gestures and commentaries. The music is aurally diverse and intentionally oblique. The compositions are informed as much by Leeds ‘ upbringing and education as by his various employment stints, including work as a recording engineer for a books-on-tape factory, a camera operator for a local news affiliate, a graphic designer, and currently as a CAD technician.

Aphonia Recordings founders, Ben L. Robertson & Andrew Senna team-up as The Precambrian. In concept, The Precambrian is a constantly evolving interactive synthesis environment/instrument, engineered by Robertson using the graphical programming language, Max/MSP. In its current incarnation, The Precambrian utilizes a slide zither & various pitch recognition algorithms to coax out microtonal intervals derived from a graphical system of 11-limit, just intonation matrices & traditional Arabic Maqams. Additionally, Senna (armed with a handful of piezoelectric transducers, microphones, field recordings) executes a series of absurd narratives & synthetic onomatopoeia, indicative of both his sound design work for film & theater.


Premier of Aphonia Recordings Voice/Strings Ensemble: Fri, May 1st @ Gallery 1412

Hello Everyone!
I am super pleased to announce that I will be premiering a brand new piece (Thamnophis sirtals: 2.25 Incantations & Spectral Taxonomy) at the upcoming Aphonia Recordings showcase on Friday, May 1st. Thamnophis sirtalis.

It is a taxonomically-themed, microtonal composition written for a voice & strings ensemble consisting of a number of active NW performers & Aphonia artists (ie. Amy Denio, Derek M. Johnson, Emily Pothast, members of Problems, Mood Organ, Midday Veil, etc..) I’m pretty excited to get all of these folks under one roof & feel extremely honored to have them performing my piece.

be there or be square-rooted!
-Ben Robertson (Aphonia Recordings Co-Founder)
Friday, May 1st @ Gallery 1412
1412 18th ave – Seattle
8:00 PM sharp!
Thamnophis sirtalis: 2.25 Incantations & Spectral Taxonomy for voices, electric bass guitar, cello, amplified viola, & amplified violin

Composed & Produced by:
Ben L. Robertson Aphonia Recordings co-founder, The Precambrian

Performed by:<
Emily Pothast (Mezzo-Soprano; Midday Veil)
Amy Denio (Alto; The Tiptons, Kultur Shock, etc..)
Jackie Ahn (Violin)
Ian Ackerman (Violin; Problems, Romanteek, The Strangers)
Gabriel Will (Viola; Problems)
Derek M. Johnson (Cello, Bloodclot, The Dead Air Fresheners, etc..)
Timm Mason (Fretless Bass; Mood Organ, Midday Veil, Eldridge Gravy, etc.)

Traditionally, biological disciplines, such as Taxonomy, & the arts have been viewed as, more-or-less, distinct from one another. Intersections between these two seemingly disparate practices are often more figurative than structural. Perhaps the clinically macabre imagery particularly associated with taxonomy, complete with shelves full of dead plants & animals preserved in bottles of formaldehyde, has done little to marry biological sciences to the expressive arts. However, the parallels in methodology that unite these two disciplines offer great potential.

By definition, a taxonomist gathers empirical observations regarding the physiology & behavior of organisms (both living and deceased) to craft an explicit vernacular that definitively describes his or her biological subjects. Through a similar methodology, the spectral composer may gather relevant acoustic data, classify this data in the form of a literal or symbolic language, & establish a protocol of musical conditions that reflect the nature of data collected. Within the piece, this process entails the development of a proprietary vocabulary, or spectral taxonomy, to describe & classify the individual harmonic phenomenon and spectral behaviors exhibited in the context of Frequency Modulation (FM) synthesis. The resultant spectral taxonomy is the maturation of a system of microtonal tuning & counterpoint that effectively exploits the unique timbres produced by specific FM algorithms.

Phonetically, the piece adopts the aesthetic of an Audubon field guide, as each vocalist recites a series of incantations documenting the Latin names of various North American subspecies of the ubiquitous Common Garter Snake, Thamnophis sirtalis.