Aphonia Recordings Archive

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Kelli’s Starlight Wishes Tour Dates!

Diamond Matter by Kelli's Starlight Wishes

July 12- Seattle Occultural Festival (Our Release show) at the Josephine with Swahili, Hair and Space Muesum and Honey.Moon. Die., Seattle, WA

July 13 – Redlight with The Ames, Bellingham, WA

July 14- Inspace Art Co-Operative, Seattle, WA

July 15- Mandy Mgee’s Music Moment Webshow

July 20- The Northern with Cohosh, Jabi Shriki, and Nancy Drew Pentagrams, Olympia, WA

July 21- The Business- in store at 5pm free , Anacortes, WA

I trace the ancient wood of a great door, noticing the bronze hinges that are as large as my head I realize I have entered a strange and wonderful dream, one that I do not want to wake up from. Down cavernous hallways and through beaded doors and cushioned by walls of intricate tapestries, I submerge deeper into an altogether subterranean and enveloping space. The sound around me is that of “Diamond Matter” from Seattle, Washington musician, Kelli Francis Corrado.

From the initial bursts of harps and strings on the first track “The Bell” to tightly arranged vocals laced and woven together with electric beats on “Honeycomb” make this a strangely concocted brew. It is music that is hard to describe without decrying words as completely inadequate to describe the space that this collection of songs inhabits. “Diamond Matter” is both primal and rarefied.

Corrado 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, here music at times mournful, but it also tastes sweet and complex.

Corrado is planning a string of short tours around the west coast this Summer 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 her debut with Aphonia Recordings.

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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.

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Paint, Print, Glue and Burn: The Process of Making Handmade CDs

1. Blank chipboard 2. Coated chipboard 3. Printed flat 4. Glued, assembled and wrapped

The packaging of music has fascinated me for years. I have always had a fetish for CDs, cassettes and LPs. When CDs were packaged in larger rectangular cardboard boxes (probably to be more like a rectangular record) I used to keep the front and backs of the boxes and hang them on my wall. I lamented the record companies going the way of just shrink wrapping and stickering the cases closed. Those stickers still piss me off.

When I decide on what packaging I am going to use for a particular release it typically comes down to whether I am going to make the packaging myself or if I am going to find outside help. Every release Aphonia produces has a specific design goal and this usually stems from the art and cover design itself. In years past both Ben and I would design some artwork ourselves (with input from the artists) and we still do from time to time. Lately we have preferred the input of artists and designers. A lot of whom, do this very incredibly beautiful work without pay or only by trade.

When I end up with a proof for artwork it is at that point I figure out exactly what it will take to have the artwork translate to a hard copy. Over the years I have whittled down what kind of packaging and process seems to work the best. In recent years, I have come up with a unique process to creating physical releases with real impact… and it hasn’t been an easy process. For instance, it has taken a great deal of wasted paper and ink to transform a rather drab, yet sturdy, chipboard blank into one of our more recent releases L.A. Lungs Letting It All Bunch Up shown below.

This past week I have been assembling this release and it is the result of several years of refining the do-it-yourself look but with the challenge of making it look polished. The process involves many steps and personalizes each and every copy that is purchased. First, we have raw ingredients, purchased from several vendors. I have found what chipboard, paint and inkjet printable CD-Rs work best for our limited means. Yes, I use CD-Rs. We have had professionally pressed CDs and vinyl done for us, but not everyone needs 300 or 500 copies to sell. Ultimately, the argument about whether a professionally pressed CD is better than a CD-R will persist no matter what arguments I offer here. That is what the “Comments” section is for!

After printing directly on the brown flats with my large Canon Pixma Pro for so long, it was always apparent that colors just did not pop. Most of the time this hasn’t mattered so much. Having so many releases based on black and white designs makes the end translation, from PDF to paper, quite simple and predictable. Even so, black on brown doesn’t have enough contrast. After experimenting with different coating inks, I found one white water soluble ink that works well to provide a white base on the chipboard. The effect of which can be seen below.

Why do this to brown chipboard? Why not buy white pre-coated blanks or bleached chipboard? Well, for whatever reason the brown chipboard always made the inkjet printing appear sharp, while the coated ones would smear and the bleached ones would bleed. This just isn’t an issue with the brown chipboard.

I then print the inkjet color on top of the dried white chipboard surface and get varying results based on thickness of the white ink on each blank. Since I coat each blank by hand, this lends each piece a hand painted/crafted look. No single piece is quite alike as you can see more clearly by a group of these blanks lined up below.

So obviously, they are still flats and must be glued together and this is when the assembly line begins. I glue the flats together and stamp the serial numbers on each one.Simultaneously, I am burning each silver coated, silver bottomed CD-R. I often have two computers burning at once, at a low burn speed. Once I have completed the printing and gluing of the jackets and the burning of the CDs I move on to create the design and print the disc art – that is, actual imagery on the face of the physical disc.

Just as the outer cases have been given serial numbers, the actual CD-Rs themselves all have sequential serial numbers. Each disc is prepared in the disc printing software with the serial number and then printed. This process can take a great deal of time as this is a product that is made from the ground up.

The first five completed pieces with serial numbers hand stamped on.

So this was brief but it might beg the question: why bother telling the world what this process is? To me, I find a certain satisfaction from producing these releases, from taking simple ingredients and making something that is ultimately worth more than the sum of its parts. The other part of it for me is that it embodies the intention of the artists who spend years of their lives cultivating and refining their process, their composition, their sound. Although not many of our artists elucidate their process or intention, as art is left more for interpretation and we would prefer to leave it that way. After all the art isn’t for the artists alone – it is for the audience.

This is where I part ways with the artists on our label. Yes, ultimately, these discs are for an audience as well. We call them customers or distributors but that is not really who they are for, that is their function. The CDs true purpose is create an artifact, a fetishized product for the artist to profit from and for the audience to desire.

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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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Upcoming Releases: Mangled Bohemians CD, Derek M. Johnson LP, Phantom of the Opera DVD and a New Compilation!

The first few months of 2011 are going to be exciting for experimental music! We are indoctrinating many new artists and new media into our release schedule, including our first vinyl release and our first DVD/Film release. New to the fold are Rachel Carns, known primarily as an amazing musician, pioneering the Queercore movement in the Western U.S. She is also a graphic designer extraordinaire and post modern Renaissance woman. Derek M. Johnson will also be offering his first ever full length release. Although no stranger to the Aphonia universe by virtue of being the artist most frequently appearing at Aphonia Showcases and sponsored events, Johnson here will offer a full length record for the first time. More on all of this later.

First up, as has been recently announced, is Mangled Bohemians new album At the Edge of Earth currently available for pre-order here. This new venture from James Lee of Portland is a swirling mass of psychedelia, meandering ambient soundscapes and as has been featured as of late in Mangled’s live shows, vocals from Lee.

Also on the way is a brand new series of tracks from Olympia, Washington’s Derek M. Johnson. Mr. Johnson has been cultivating a live performance consisting of hand treated slide mounted film, projected via slide projectors against a melange of acoustic solo cello, looped and destroyed tones, all emanating from Johnson’s cello and massive array of effect pedals. Though Johnson’s live show is abstract and often dark in tone, his new LP (release date forthcoming) is subtly beautiful, timeless and varied. It’s themes cover emotional extremes: beauty, anger, melancholy and rain. It should prove to be a truly exciting release as it will be the first ever vinyl release from Aphonia Recordings. There will a limited first run and we will announce a pre-order sale in the near future.

In addition, is an ensemble piece for the 1925 silent film The Phantom of the Opera. Back in December of 2008 Aphonia Recordings hosted a showcase featuring the ensemble (Rachel Carns, Heather Hall, Daniel Buscher and Derek M. Johnson) at the Gallery 1412 collective in Seattle, Washington’s Central District. The resulting recording and performance was so remarkable that we soon decided to create a DVD release of this live performance. The release has been somewhat delayed but we are now set to release it in the next couple of months. The packaging will include cover and insert designs from Rachel Carns and will be hand assembled by the crack Aphonia Releases & Promotions Lab Team. You can listen to our original podcast previewing the show here – it features portions of the debut performance at the Olympia Film Festival.

Original Show Poster designed by Rachel Carns

And last but not least we will be releasing a sampler compilation that will feature new/unsigned aritsts as well as Aphonia stalwarts Paintings For Animals, KRGA, Desolation Wilderness, Darwinsbitch and much, much more! In fact, it will be so crazy good that you will probably want to buy one for your mom as well.

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Aphonia Rec. Showcase in this weeks The Stranger

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

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Foxy Digitalis Has the Spotlight on Aphonia Recordings

Ben and I do a lot of legwork to keep the pulse of this label strong online and elsewhere. Press doesn’t hurt and it doesn’t necessarily come easily. Lately, we have definitely been lucky with coverage locally as well as nationally. The Stranger recently covered our last show, The Phantom of the Opera at the Gallery 1412 and we have been looking into our distribution options for that – we are looking to do a January release.

We have also been fortunate enough to catch the eye of local blogger writing for Illusory Confections and now Mr. Brad Bird of online mag Foxy Digitalis has an exclusive interview with Ben and I which you can find here. I also might add that our local friends and Aphonia Recordings alums L.A. Lungs are featured on Foxy Digitalis as well. I highly recommend going to Foxy Digitalis to check out this interview as well. And don’t forget darwinsbitch also has a limited run (only 100!) cassette up now that you can purchase there. Whew! Hooray for Foxy Digitalis.

In other news, Ben and I will be transferring our AphoniaRecordings.com domain to a new web host – so there will be outages this coming week. Hopefully by Xmas all will up again and everyone can marvel at our new speed and slickness. Actually the site wont look at all different, it will just hopefully work better. There will be some cosmetic changes on the way, which to most of you will be transparent. I will post another outage reminder probably tomorrow as that is when the process is most likely to begin.

While it gets strangely cold here in Seattle and the snow continues to stick to the ground, I wish all of you the best of times as the shortest day of the year inevitably approaches.

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International Noise Conference: Spokane

As this article clearly denotes: shame on you Seattle for not finding an outlet for this renowned festival. Why didn’t Aphonia Recodings do something about this? Simply put, nobody asked us. Though I don’t think the organizer of this fest accurately judges our fair city’s commitment to noise, I do on the other hand don’t blame him for being pissed off.

There are quite a few Aphonia Recordings friends and associates playing at the show nonetheless, including: Daedelum (current artist), The Earwigs (release on AR forthcoming), Bruce Hormann, Takedown UAV, Gogher and Forrest Friends.

Read the article below detailing this most compelling of regional events. Thanks to Ryan Leeds (Daedelum) for forwarding this on to us.

Click Here

As a side note, we are having monthly showcase at Gallery 1412 in Seattle tomorrow night Nov. 7th! Come one come all! See you there.

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Recent Website Outages

Hello Everyone,

I am writing more or less to explain our recent website outages that have occurred at AphoniaRecordings.com. We have been working with our host to make sure that our website operates consistently and all the time. Recently our host has been unable and somewhat unresponsive to our calls for immediate fixes to these issues.

To all our visitors, I apologize for this inconvenience. I hope that you all will continue to visit our website and check out all our new releases of which there are many.

Look for new podcasts to be released soon previewing upcoming releases.

Andrew Senna

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Aphonia Concert Series 2008 Part II Podcast Released!

As a lot of you may already know the Aphonia Recordings Concert Series 2008 is in full swing and already the turnout has been encouraging. We are setting up a series of shows throughout the year on the first Friday of every month at Gallery 1412 in Seattle. Come on down and enjoy a different grouping of sonic artists every month. Of course we will be offering CD’s for sale and we will most likely be recording these performances and podcasting them throughout the year so make sure to visit this page or subscribe to our podcast. We’d like to thank everyone for their stellar support in attending the shows and making donations, as well as the Seattle Weekly and The Stranger for continuing to list our shows.

As of this morning we are podcasting part ii in the concert series as three separate sets, one for each artist. Starting today, the Precambrian, a collaboration between the Aphonia Recordings founders, Andrew Senna and Ben L Robertson will be listed. The sets of Paintings for Animals and Problems will be listed here in the news section shortly.

You can listen to all three sets now if you subscribe to our podcast on iTunes music store. Just type “Aphonia” into the search and select “official aphonia recordings podcast.”

For now, however here is the Precambrian:

Aphonia Concert Series 2008 Part II Podcast Released!