Derek M. Johnson Archive


Check Out All Our New Releases

We have been busy lately. All of these releases have come out in the last two months or so. We are expecting a few more, including Nucular Aminals self titled debut on the label as well as well Mangled Bohemians’ Degeneration. Also in the works is a special limited release with Derek M. Johnson and Rachel Carns of The Need performing a live improvised score to the silent film classic, The Phantom of the Opera. Stay tuned for these exciting releases… and also if you would like to catch up with The Need and Mr. Johnson, they will be playing a special one time only concert Friday December 12th at Gallery 1412 – make sure to catch them! More on this later!

Paintings For Animals – Cistern Air [AR023]
buy now


Dokuro – The Black Room
[AR020] buy now


L.A. Lungs – Most of the Time We Do Not Realize that We Are Shedding Our Skin [AR018]


Amy Denio – sub-Rosa
[AR019] buy now


Shows: November 2008

Nov 02 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ Church of the Friendly Ghost (Austin, TX)

Nov 03 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ ACFM (Lafayette, LA)

Nov 04 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ The Engine Room (Tallahassee, FL)

Nov 05 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ Flicker Theater (Athens, GA)

Nov 07 – 8:00P – Thunder Grey Pilgrim, Wehrwolve @ Gallery 1412 (Seattle, Wa)

Nov 07 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ the milestone (Charlotte, NC)

Nov 08 – 8:00P – takedown uav, daedelum, more @ Intl. Noise Conference (Object Space) (Spokane, Wa)

Nov 08 – 8:00P – nucular aminals @ the know bar (Portland, Or)

Nov 08 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ the pilot light (knoxville, Tn)

Nov 09 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ Al’s bar (Lexington, KY)

Nov 10 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ garfield artworks (Pittsburg, PA)

Nov 11 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ the cake shop New York, NY)

Nov 12 – 8:00P – Amy Denio @ Musiquarium (Triple Door) (Seattle, WA)

Nov 13 – 8:00P – Amy Denio @ Henry Art Museum (Seattle, WA)

Nov 13 – 8:00P – Derek M. Johnson @ Capital Theatre (Olympia, WA)

Nov 13 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ the bug jar (Rochester, NY)

Nov 15 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ oberlin college (Oberlin, OH)

Nov 16 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ DAAC (Grand Rapids, MI)

Nov 17 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ cinemat (bloomington, IN)

Nov 18 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ shubas (Chicago, IL)

Nov 19 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ Vaudeville News (Des Moines, IA)

Nov 19 – 8:00P – Amy Denio @ the Rendezvous-jewelbox theatre (Seattle, WA)

Nov 21 – 9:00P – Paintings for Animals @ the Josephine (Seattle, WA)

Nov 21 – 8:00P – desolation wilderness @ Rhinoceropolis (Denver, CO)

Nov 22 – 7:00P – Hell’s Bellows! (w/ Amy Denio) @ Blue Heron Arts Center (Vashon Island, WA)


Podcast #18 – Amy Denio and Aphonia Supergroup

Just a short three weeks ago Amy Denio released her first digital only release on Aphonia Recordings. The release entitled, sub-Rosa, is a soundtrack for a multimedia and dance piece of the same name. Directed by Cheronne Wong at produced at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center exactly one year ago today, September 18th, 2008. This podcast gives an overview of sub-Rosa’s inspiration and we hope you will listen in for a track from sub-Rosa.

This is also kind of a double header as the second part of this podcast is the recording of our Aphonia Recordings Supergroup. For the Olympia Experimental Music Festival benefit show in June we assembled an all star cast of recording artists from the label including, Derek M. Johnson, The Precambrian, Ph0n0n, KRGA and Gabe Will of Problems. We hope you enjoy.

Podcast #18 – Amy Denio and Aphonia Supergroup


Shows: September 2008

Sept 05 – 8:00P myrmyr @ San Francisco Electronic Music (San Francisco, Ca)

Sept 05 – 8:00P Problems, Amy Denio, nucular aminals @ Aphonia Rec. 9 (Gallery 1412) (Seattle, Wa)

Sept 05 – 8:00P Desolation Wilderness @ the treehouse (Arcata, Ca)

Sept 06 – 7:30P Amy Denio (w/ yellow hat band) @ Burien Lantern Fest (Burien, Wa)

Sept 06 – 8:00P Desolation Wilderness @ Rererato (Portland, Or)

Sept 06 – 8:00P Agnes Szelag @ Project Artaud Theater (San francisco, Ca)

Sept 06 – 8:00P Nucular Aminals @ The Red House (Olympia, Wa)

Sept 07- 8:00P Daedelum @ The Empyrean (Spokane, Wa)

Sept 07 – 8:00P Desolation Wilderness @ Matt’s house (Olympia, Wa)

Sept 11 – 8:00P Paintings for Animals, VxPxC, Warm Climates, Wind Swept Planes @ Galley 1412 (Seattle, Wa)

Sept 13 – 8:00P Nucular Aminals @ SCRAP Benefit (Portland, Or)

Sept 19 – 7:00P Derek M. Johnson & mangled bohemians @ Rererato (Portland, Or)

Sept 21 – 8:00P Amy Denio @ El Corazon (Seattle, Wa)

Sept 26-28 – 8:00P Derek M. Johnson @ Midnight Sun (3 day festival) (Olympia, Wa)


Shows: August 2008

Aug 01 – 8:00P Aphonia Recordings series 8 @ Gallery 1412 (Seattle, Wa)

Aug 05 – 8:00P Desolation Wilderness @ the Phoenix House (Olympia, Wa)

Aug 08 – 8:00P Bob Marsh Ensemble @ Gallery 1412 (Seattle, Wa)

Aug 15 – 8:00P Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, The Precambrian @ Gallery 1412 (Seattle, Wa)

Aug 15 – 9:00P Derek M. Johnson, Problems, Wummin @ Le Voyeur (Olympia, Wa)

Aug 21 – 7:00P Desolation Wilderness w/ Stag Hare @ Phoenix House (Olympia, Wa)

Aug 22 – 8:00P Desolation Wilderness @ Carousel Festival! (Seattle, Wa)

Aug 23 – 1:00P LA Lungs @ Carousel fest! (Seattle, Wa)

Aug 23 – 8:00P LA Lungs, Dead Air Fresheners, Eet @ Proper Eats (Portland, Or)

Aug 23 – 8:00P Desolation Wilderness + Problems @ Artistery (Portland, Or)

Aug 24 – 8:00P Desolation Wilderness @ Shady Pines (Eugene, Or)

Aug 25 – 8:00P Desolation Wilderness @ Luna’s Cafe (Sacramento, Ca)

Aug 26 – 7:00P Desolation Wilderness @ Udai (Reno, Nv)

Aug 27 – 8:00P Desolation Wilderness @ Upstairs Gallery (Placerville, Ca)

Aug 28 – 8:00P Desolation Wilderness @ Kittenboat Warehouse (Oakland, Ca)

Aug 29 – 8:00P Desolation Wilderness @ Mama Buzz Cafe (Oakland, Ca)

Aug 30 – 8:00P Desolation Wilderness @ Pehrspace (Los Angeles, Ca)

Aug 31 – 8:00P Desolation Wilderness @ The Smell (Los Angeles, Ca)


Shows: July 2008

Jul 06 – 8:00P Paintings for Animals @ 20/20 Cycle (Seattle, Wa)

Jul 09 – 8:00P Amy Denio @ Rendezvous Jewelbox (Seattle, Wa)

Jul 10 – 8:00P The Precambrian, aye aye/navigator @ le voyeur (Olympia, wa)

Jul 11 – 8:00P Aye Aye, Navigator, KRGA, thunder grey pilgrim @ Gallery 1412 (Seattle, Wa)

Jul 12 – 9:00P Derek M. Johnson @ le voyeur (Olympia, Wa)

Jul 13 2008 6:00P
Paitings for Animals @ Mr. Spot’s Chai House (Seattle, Wa)

Jul 15 – 8:00P Derek M. Johnson @ the Royal (Olympia, Wa)

Jul 17 – 8:00P Amy Denio @ The Red Umbrella (Everett, Wa)

Jul 17 – 8:00P darwinsbitch @ Mission Creek Music Fest (San Francisco, ca)

Jul 18 – 9:00P Paintings for Animals @ S.S. Josephine (Seattle, Wa)

Jul 19 – 12:00P Desolation Wilderness @ What the Heck? Fest (Anacortes, Wa)

Jul 22 – 8:00P Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, the Precambrian @ Gallery 1412 (Seattle, Wa)

Jul 31 – 8:00P Amy Denio @ Gallery 1412 (Seattle, Wa)


Video Podcast!!! Derek M. Johnson, Darwinsbitch and More!!!

Join us in enjoying this excerpted video from the Aphonia Recordings mini-tour that occurred last November. Recently Darwinsbitch performance during this mini-tour was featured as a podcast here. Now an excerpt is available as video!

Video directed by Ryan Leeds
© Aphonia Recordings 2008


Seattle Occultural Music Festival (May 16, 17, 23, 24)


Friday, May 16th @ 8pm, All ages
Gallery 1412
1412 18th Ave

Robin Holcomb
Phillip Arnautoff
Michal Szostalo

Saturday, May 17th @ 8pm, All ages
Dearborn on Woodland [Film night]
4131 Woodland Park Ave N

Voodoo Israel[Portland]
Eric Ostrowski
Tyler Potts
Paintings for Animals

Friday, May 23rd @ 8pm, All ages
Underground Event Center
2407 1st Ave
Agnes Szelag [Oakland]
Cult of Zir [Portland]
Matt Shoemaker
Ben L. Robertson
Tempered Steel
Forrest Friends
Thunder Grey Pilgrim

Saturday, May 24 @ 10:30pm, 21+ w/ID
Rendezvous Jewelbox Theatre
2232 2nd Ave
A Minority of One[Portland]
Red Squirrels
Mood Organ

A two-weekend, community-based festival of esoteric, mystical & psychoacoustic musics, spanning the region’s breadth of generations & genres. Established to integrate Seattle’s diverse experimental arts scene, introduce new local artists & import important outside influence. Generous promotion provided by Aphonia Recordings & Hollow Earth Radio. All shows are all ages & start at 8pm, except the 24th which is 21+ w/ID & starts at 10:30pm. There is a suggested price of $5-15, all donations at the door. The vast majority of proceeds go toward curbing travel costs for performers not from the immediate Seattle area.

The SOMF is featuring JAMES NEILSEN’s multilayered, transcendental paint, pen & collage creations. Dense, salon-style conglomerations of his work, as well as display books, will be assembled & featured for the month of May at Dearborn on Woodland. We hope to introduce his work to a wide & appropriate audience by displaying it in this frequented stronghold of DIY art. Additionally, 100’s of scanned works informed by extreme paranoia, isolation, drugs, violence, exertion, sleeping, wandering, alchemaic & qabbalistic diagrams can be view at

SOMF will present musical performances of/by Robin Holcomb, Phillip Arnautoff, Michal Szostalo, Eric Ostrowski, Derek M. Johnson, Tyler Potts, Paintings for Animals, Agnes Szelag, Matt Shoemaker, Ben L. Robertson, Thunder Grey Pilgrim, KRGA, A Minority of One, Red Squirrels, Mood Organ & many others.

Friday, May 16th @ 8pm, All ages
Gallery 1412
1412 18th Ave


Pianist, composer, singer and songwriter Robin Holcomb has performed extensively in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia as a solo artist and the leader of various ensembles. Recent performances include appearances at Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), Carnegie Hall, The Verona Jazz Festival, The San Francisco Jazz Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Festival of Perth, DuMaurier Jazz Festivals and Arts at St. Ann’s.

Her work has been called ‘remarkable’ (CMJ), ‘stunning’ (Option), ‘entrancing’ (Billboard) and ‘sensitive, descriptive, adventuresome and full of soul’ (Washington Post.) The New York Times had this to say about her difficult-to-define musical style: ‘Robin Holcomb…has created a new American regionalism, spun from many threads – country, rock, minimalism, Civil War songs, Baptist hymns, Appalachian folk tunes, even the polytonal music of Charles Ives. The music that results is as elegantly simple as a Shaker Quilt, and no less beautiful.’


In the 1970s Mr. Arnautoff began work on an expansion of the harmonic resources of the Partch tuning system and built his Harmonic Canon, a large zither-like instrument of 66 strings , played with plectra and requiring a standing player. Years of on-again, off-again research and a number of abandoned projects in composition finally culminated in the composition of SOLILOQUY, begun in the winter of 1998-99 and completed in 2000, when it was recorded and released by Periplum recordings. The work has since undergone numerous revisions.

The tuning of the Canon for SOLILOQUY is based on the expansion of a purported scale from ancient Greece to an array of 21 tones. The work itself is continuous, though divided into two large sections, the first a single unit comprising five contrasting episodes, the second an essay in perpetual motion. The subtitle
“A Ritual of Communion with Vibrating Strings” refers to the characteristic resonance of the Harmonic Canon, a resonance that is unceasing to the very end and set into motion by the work’s harmonic and melodic configurations.


MICHAL SZOSTALO has been steadily working on new music: Chamber music, music for film & TV, multimedia events, 3D installations, songwriting, electonis sounds, jazz and improvisation. His compositional works have received a slew of comissions from both Europe & the United State, including the ‘Hermes, Dog & Star’ at the Polish Royal Palace, ‘Train’ for Barefoot Studios in Tacoma & scoring for the film ‘Burning Man’. Szostalo plays piano, accordion, guitar, bass and a variety of exotic instruments and is aslo a member of Croatian/Bosnian folks ensemble Ruze Dalmatinke.

‘Reruns of the Final Battle’ is Szostalo’s String Quartet no. 1 and was originally commissioned in 2003, performed and recorded at an opening of sculpture work by Viktor Szostalo. The piece’s structure references Biblical prehistory, initiation of cilization & apocalyptic trajectory. The electronic tracks range from shifting guitar pulses to walls of layer trumpets to dark clouds of white noise. This largely aleatoric work’s creation was informed by study of mictronalities ranging from Partch to gamelan to the experimental academic synthesis. This rendition will be performed by regional ensemble of players know for their innovation & energy, Eric Ostrowski, Derek M. Johnson, Gabe Will & Ian Ackerman.

Saturday, May 17th @ 8pm, All ages
Dearborn on Woodland [Film night]
4131 Woodland Park Ave N

VOODOO ISRAEL [San Fransisco]

VOODOO ISRAEL’s spiritual drone noise is hot and heavy with the humidity of the crossed wires of internal feedback & the christening winds of pumps organs & overtone singing. His work calls us to listen as Mother Earth is speaking in tounges through the ageless, ratling, and exagerated bone structure of every obsorbed entity.


Eric Ostrowski is a freely-improvising musician and experimental filmmaker based in Seattle, WA. He played guitar and violin as one half of the legendary improv-noise duo of Noggin from 1993-2006. He has been concurrently developing his hand-made film style.


TYLER POTTS believes in spontaneity and in our capacity to learn from things we can’t yet explain. His latest musical endeavors include: improvising with a dancer, playing the auto harp differently, exploring what happens in the length of a minute, singing things that come to mind without thinking too much about it, and trusting first impulses.


Heavy drones, overtone melodies and the sound of the land – Paintings for Animals performs with field recordings, bowed metals, mixer feedback, throat singing, vocal blips, clicks and the buzz of electronics. Started 2001, in Seattle by Pearson Wallace-Hoyt, the project is maintained to provide a platform for the proliferation of spiritually charged noise and a revival of ritualized sound. With members dispersing to Bali, Kolozberg, New York and San Francisco, Paintings continues to craft a truly Cascadian music of chants, esoterica and the sounds of urban & natural environments.

+works from Patrick McMurchie, Jake Sweeney-Samuelson & others

Friday, May 23rd @ 8pm, All ages
Underground Event Center
2407 1st Ave


Agnes Szelag is a composer, performer, and video/audio installation artist. Her work explores the cognitive and aesthetic relationship of sound and visual media in chosen environments. In performance and composition she creates interactive schemes that ride the line between composition and improvisation.

Her work has been featured in the Electronic Music Midwest Festival, the Illuminated Corridor Festival, 60 x 60, Voices on the Edge, at the Stone in NY, and has been broadcast nationally on KQED for the show Spark. She has also executive produced numerous video pods that have aired nationally on Current TV. This fall she will be playing in the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival as myrmyr.

CULT OF ZIR [Portland]

‘Done with layered vocals, the voice warped, resonated, gorged upon itself, mated with itself and destroyed itself. There are other artists that work with this type of manipulation and it is easy to overindulge into what this type of performance offers. I think he managed to keep it stark enough to allow the idea to shine through instead of being buried under the layers of gimmicky goop.’ -morimur


MATT SHOEMAKER focuses upon the treatment of sonic phenomena. Sourced from both natural and electronic means, Shoemaker manipulates sound in an affected and often grotesque manner, so as to convey compositions that uniquely imagine a space encrypted to the point of vanishing definition. The narrative tradition haunts Shoemaker’s work, but only the sort found in patterns and systems free from willful intention… much like an apple compelled by necessity to rot to its core.

His essential technique is one of obsessive artifice. It is the clarity of nuance and attention to detail that contrasts and balances any intended obscurities. It is from humility, a strategy for authenticity, and a personal view of an ideal aesthetics that Shoemaker proclaims: ‘Obviousness is my art’s antithesis.’

Shoemaker is a self-taught artist, employing microphones, digital and analog recorders, computers, acoustic instruments, and assorted signal processors. His work has been published in countries as diverse as Portugal, Germany, England, USA and Malaysia. He has also received commissions for radio works across the globe and presented his work at universities, dance halls, rock clubs, and art galleries.


THUNDER GREY PILGRIM is a landscape…a landscape and a person walking in that landscape. There are daunting cliffs there, and plains glad in their way of brown monotony. But especially there are sinkholes, places of sudden terror, of small circumference and malevolent depths.


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 of these pieces are created using only one or two
instruments as sound sources, which are processed and resampled real-time in a computer environment. KRGA live performances surround the audience with live generated synthesis and sampling. Deconstructed sounds swirl around the room, as patiently created beds of tones build into a complex organic storm.


BEN L. ROBERTSON uses a battery of algorithms & processes developed in Max/MSP to extract dense textures from a variety of found & performed sources.

His compositional process demonstrates an almost pathological obsession with the acoustic relationships between timbre & extended forms of tonality. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that he regularly utilizes a historical cannon of microtonal scales, including Harry Partch’s 43 tone scale, various other forms of just intonation, and the stretched octaves of the Balinese gamelan, as well as his own timbre-specific tuning systems.


TEMPERED STEEL features Ffej, Frank Junk, and Dennis Rea playing a variety of amplified, electronically processed thumb pianos. The trio sounds like no other thumb piano ensemble you’ve ever heard, conjuring phantom harpsichords, as-yet-uninvented stringed instruments, musique concrete…


Saturday, May 24 @ 10:30pm, 21+ w/ID
Rendezvous Jewelbox Theatre
2232 2nd Ave

Feed by water and an unseen warming sun
arisen from the ancient seed
the rain is warm and soaks the crowd
roots buckle then pulverize
a new life awakens as the old grey body returns to dust.


Few squirrels have earned such a reputation for playfulness and roguery as the Red squirrel. This squirrel is a well-known backyard inhabitant that often has a saucy regard for its human neighbors. A Red squirrel will firmly scold all intruders with shrill chatters, clucks and sputters, falsettos, tail flicking and feet stamping. Even when it is undisturbed, this chatterbox often chirps as it goes about its daily rountine.


MOOD ORGAN’s breathing cycles are informed by vibration, interference patterns, recording & playback devices, altered states, violence, electricity, sex, mirrors & feedback. Timm Mason also plays bass & electronics with the death improv ensemble Kuru Cult, and will be performing at the Sculpture Park staging of work by Glenn Branca.


Shows: May 2008

May 02 – 8:00P – Aphonia Rec. Monthly Series @ Gallery 1412 (Seattle, WA)

May 09 – 8:00P – Desolation Wilderness @ Artisan Cafe (Olympia, WA)

May 16 – 7:00P – Seattle Occultural Musick Festival (SOMF) @ Gallery 1412 (Seattle, WA)

May 17 – 8:00P – SOMF @ Dearborn on Woodland (Seattle, Wa)

May 17 – 8:00P – Bloodclot (w/ Derek M. Johnson) @ Matrix Coffee House (Chehalis, WA)

May 22 – 9:00P – Unicorns in the Snow @ The Gaslight (Lawrence, KS)

May 23 – 8:00P – SOMF @ Underground Events Center (Seattle, WA)

May 24 – 8:00P – Derek M. Johnson @ Black Front Gallery (Olympia, WA)

May 24 – 9:00P – Desolation Wilderness @ Le Voyeur (Olympia, WA)

May 24 – 10:00P – SOMF @ The Jewelbox Theatre (Seattle, WA)


Shows: April 2008


Apr 04 – 8:00P – Aphonia Rec. Monthly Series 4 @ Gallery 1412 (Seattle, WA)

Apr 09 – 8:00P – Country Western Ensemble Rocks @ Meridian Gallery (SF, CA)

Apr 12 – 9:00P – Desolation Wilderness @ Le Voyeur (Olympia, WA)

Apr 26 – 8:00P – Derek M. Johnson @ Plenty (Olympia, WA)

Apr 26 – 8:00P – KRGA w/ Hungry Pines @ Healthy Times Fun Club (Seattle, WA)