Ambient Archive


New Releases! Miguel Baptista Benedict (of Divorce Party) & Kelli Frances Corrado

These are exciting times. I really love it when two disparate artists, who live so far apart both come out with two astounding records with near synchronicity. Deviation from expected norms from Aphonia Recordings has become commonplace in the last two years. We have released rock, folk, electroacoustic, experimental, electronic dance, ambient – you name it. Which is why I love these upcoming releases from Miguel Baptista Benedict and Kelli Frances Corrado. They are genre creating, uncovering territory for Aphonia Recordings and for their audiences.

Diamond Matter by Kelli's Starlight Wishes

First, there is Kelli’s Starlight Wishes, the project title of well established folk-tronic singer-songwriter Kelli Frances Corrado. She brings lilting melodies, broadly painted string arrangements and  just-on-the-gloopy side of cracked open drum machine sequences. “Diamond Matter” is a narrative of sorts, the threads coursing through one track develop in the next. By the end, it is as if the Earth stopped turning and only then heard its heart beat. This all might seem like quaint embellishment and huffery, but this record deserves a listening from start to finish.

Now, Divorce Party is an incredible group and few play with such tightness – a skill with which the band takes as a given – but Divorce Party has a strange glue in it, one that isn’t apparent until you start to peel away any member of the group. One such glue constituent is Miguel Baptista Benedict. He is the source of the oft cringed death knell, scream or menacing textures that roam around the few complete breaks between speedy guitar, bass and drums. Credited as “Vocal Manipulation” on their debut EP with Aphonia Recordings entitled “Astrocongertion Opporium,” here with “Sa[i]l[e]s” Benedict has head bobbing throbs, languid strings and familiarly outlandish soundscapes.

Sailes by Miguel Baptista Benedict

This, indeed, couldn’t be more true for a band that without him, would not have the shrill whine,  robotic seances, much less the space to take a breath in their all too frenetic pace. Benedict’s debut solo release is something entirely surprising given this context.

This new record, entitled “Sa[i]l[e]s,” is in fact, a roving collection of poems. Not verbal ones mind you but aural poems. Here, as in Corrado’s “Diamond Matter,” strings languish and sneak around oblique arrangements of bass tones and bursts of synaethesic fizzes and thick drizzles. This record demands acute attention. It’s  subtlety is apparent both in it’s penchant for head bobbing distraction, to viewing near death precipices. Yes, again, grandiose. Why shouldn’t it be? Benedict carves new sinews into what a song structure could be. He is a futurist of pop, although his music carries non of the trappings and tired commercial linguistics of an already dead language.

The beautiful coincidence here is that Benedict and Corrado share something. They share an aesthetic reality, one that once immersed you will not want to leave.

More on Kelli Frances Corrado:

Kelli Frances Corrado is Kelli’s Starlight Wishes. She comes to Aphonia Recordings a fully formed force of her own. All the tracks are her own but her arrangements boast an impressive line up of very talented performers. Of course it doesn’t hurt that you have Scott Colburn on your record as a co-producer. Colburn has worked with Animal Collective, Nurses and Arcade Fire. With a similar tightness and sheen Corrado’s work here is supported and her compositions are in no way overwhelmed by the production but fully fledged.

Local music scavengers Ball of Wax have already been making noises about the immanent release of this record and you will know why from the first 10 seconds that leap into your ears. She has also been infiltrating earholes across the pond and as Jane Bradley of UK music blog The Girls Are says Corrado is “dark, atmospheric and enchanting.” Her live performances have been described as melancholy and nearly always her short bio includes her past as a wife of a member of the armed forces, clearly her music defines her now far beyond this association. Yes, her music at times mournful, but it also tastes sweet and complex.

Corrado is planning a string of short tours around the west coast the Summer of 2012 and we will be sending updates as shows are announced for it is one thing to enter her world at home, it is quite another to walk into her home, her show and allow her to open the door for you. We couldn’t be more excited for Kelli’s Starlight Wishes on Aphonia Recordings.

More on Miguel Baptista Benedict:

A Michiganer,  noise artist, vocalist and singularly talented musician and composer, Benedict first made an appearance in the Aphonia Recordings catalog with last year’s “Astrocongertion Oporium” by Divorce Party. After a recent stint living in Los Angeles he produced perhaps his most accessible compositions to date.

Formerly, of noise duo Puberty, and collaborative project with Craig Johnson of Laserbeams of Boredom, Benedict originally began his music career learning the trumpet and quickly transitioned into experimental and noise music. Benedict is a singular talent and source of energy as a musician, composer and friend of Aphonia Recordings.


L.A. Lungs & Mangled Bohemians

The long awaited L.A. Lungs record is now on sale for download and pre-sale on CD! Although a departure from their earlier material, this record is still brimming with the textures and washes of ambiance we have come to expect from these Tacoma based adventurers. Also going on sale today is Mangled Bohemians second release in a year’s time and also the third on the label.

L.A. Lungs - Letting It All Bunch Up

With “Nights in Hedonia” (Mangled Bohemians second release within a year’s time) we find ourselves tuning into a bizarre radio station. A transmission from an AM radio, from some basement of mid 60s folk psychedelia. Enjoy!

Mangled Bohemians - Nights in Hedonia


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


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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Pics From Evon’s Debut Show on Jan. 25th

On January 25th,  Aphonia Recordings artists Evon played at El Rio in San Francisco.  A belated release party show for the band,  we welcome you to check out some choice photos from the event as well as listen to the release. We recommend you view the pictures below as a slideshow (the page will reload) while using the player. It’s almost like you were there! OK, not really. So the next time they play, get your ass off the couch and see them. Check the Aphonia Recordings website regularly for show dates.

Evon is an amazing group of 6 stupendously talented musicians lead by Agnes Szelag from Oakland, CA. Enjoy!

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Portland’s Mangled Bohemians Announce New Release: At the Edge of Earth

Portland’s own Mangled Bohemians are to release their second release on Aphonia with At the Edge of Earth. Here, James Lee (now Mangled Bohemians’ sole member) weaves guitar textures, atmospheric washes, and unlike previous releases, cavernous vocals. Most who have seen Lee perform in the last year or two can attest this reflects a new direction for the Bohemians.

The pre-sale continues until the official release date of January 26th. There are only 100 of this first printing being made available so please visit the release page to purchase before we run out!

In addition, the Bohemians embark on a tour to promote At the Edge of the Earth, which you can listen to here.

West Coast Tour Itinerary:

Wed, Jan 26
Soda Bar
San Diego, CA
Doors Open: 9:00 PM
Ages: 21+

Thu, Jan 27
The Prospector
Long Beach, CA
Doors Open: 8:00 PM
Ages: 21+

Fri, Jan 28
The Cat Club
West Hollywood, CA
Doors Open: 6:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

Sat, Jan 29
Trip Nightclub
Santa Monica, CA
Doors Open: 9:00 PM
Ages: 21+ or w/ adult

Thu, Feb 3
Hemlock Tavern
San Francisco, CA
Doors Open: 8:00 PM
Ages: 21+

Fri, Feb 4
East Nile
Oakland, CA
Doors Open: 9:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

Thu, Feb 10
The Wandering Goat
Eugene, OR
Doors Open: 8:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

Fri, Feb 11
Triangle Inn Salem
Oregon, OR
Doors Open: 9:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

Sat, Feb 12
Portland, OR
Doors Open: 12:00 PM
All Ages

Sat, Feb 12
The Artistery
Portland, OR
Doors Open: 7:30 PM
Ages: All Ages


Podcast Special: Darwinsbitch

While the Spring weather is definitely a welcome feature of the recent days, we would like to go back in time for a tiny bit and revisit some past shows on the podcast. Aphonia Recordings has reached its first full year of continuous operation with the year anniversary of the launch show, way back on May 17th of 2007 at the Midnight Sun in Olympia. While we will be revisiting that particular show, to kick of this extravaganza, we bring you a show performed by Darwinsbitch on November 11th, 2007.

A.K.A. Marielle Jakobsons, Darwinsbitch hails from Oakland, California and back in November joined several of our other artists – those sets will be podcast here soon.

Podcast Special: Darwinsbitch


Series 5 Podcast Part 1: KRGA

Kristian Garrard performs as KRGA on May 2nd at the Gallery 1412 on the occasion of the 2008 Aphonia Recordings Concert Series.

Series 5 Podcast Part 1: KRGA

You can also subscribe to the Official Aphonia Recordings podcast on the iTunes Music Store in iTunes. Just type “aphonia” into the search field and you can subscribe there.


Series 4 Podcast: The Precambrian

A little late this month, The Precambrian performs at the Gallery 1412 on April 4th 2008.

Series 4 Podcast: The Precambrian


Series 3 Podcast: ph0n0n

Catch ph0n0n’s set at the Gallery 1412

Series 3 Podcast: ph0n0n

ph0n0n creates soundtracks with elements of ambience, noise, microtonality, chance processes and live improvisation. Chris Hanis and Adam Reza met in early 2007 through a shared interest in innovative electronic music. They are working in their studio on recordings for their first album.