Electroacoustic Archive


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


“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.


June 10th-12th: The 17th Olympia Experimental Music Festival

Nathan Markiewicz: Curator of the Olympia Experimental Music Festival

The line up for recent Olympia Experimental Music Festivals has featured many artists from our little record label. This year is no exception. L.A. Lungs, Mangled Bohemians, Paintings For Animals, Derek M. Johnson and Marlo Eggplant all grace the stage at Northern – Olympia’s preeminent all ages venue.

We welcome this special time of year when this, one of the most comprehensive showcases from the Northwest’s experimental community, puts on a seriously huge series of experimental acts.

See Jason Baxter’s write-up in The Weekly Volcano here. Festival schedule below:

Friday June 10th:

Paintings for Animals (Olympia, WA)
Big Tom the Lithuanian (Olympia, WA)
LA Lungs (Tacoma, WA)
Marlo Eggplant (Portland, OR)
Echos of Infiniti (Olympia, WA)
Four-Dimensional Nightmare (Olympia, WA)
Eurostache (San Francisco, CA)

Saturday June 11th:

Wood Paneling (Olympia, WA)
Boyband (Portland, OR)
Violet (Olympia, WA)
Sustentacula (Portland, OR)
The Dead Air Fresheners (I-5 Corridor)
Night Jar (Olympia, WA)
Pavonine (Austin, TX)

Sunday June 12th: A/V night featuring artists who incorporate visual projections with live sound creation:

Devon Damonte (Olympia, WA)
Eric Ostrowski (Seattle, WA)
Mangled Bohemians (Portland, OR)
Forrest Friends (Seattle, WA)
Derek M. Johnson (Olympia, WA)
Cathartech (Seattle, WA)


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.

[nggallery id=12]


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 Tokafi.com 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:



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!

[nggallery id=08]


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.


Aphonia Showcase: Gallery 1412 (26 October – Seattle, WA)

Aphonia Recordings’ debut showcase in Seattle will feature a set of compositions
for voice & electronics by seasoned Seattle-based improviser &
multi-instrumentalist, Amy Denio. Also hailing from Seattle, Kristian Garrard (of
‘Joules’) will be performing an electroacoustic set as KRGA.

From the south-sound, Aphonia Recordings welcomes Derek M. Johnson and Myello.
Derek M. Johnson’s work for cello & electronics has been heard at numerous
experimental/improv festivals, including his active involvement with the Olympia
Experimental Music Festival. Derek’s past collaborations have included work with
Unwound, Old Time Relijun, Le Ton Mite, and many others. Likewise, Myello’s set
will demonstrate no shortage of LFO’s, VCF’s, and other acronymous controlled
voltage devices.

Rounding out the evening will be a performance by ‘the Precambrian’, a
collaborative project featuring label founders Andrew Senna & Ben L. Robertson.
Their performance promises to pair Andrew Senna’s work in narrative sound design with Ben L. Robertson’s obsession with microtonality & interactive
processing algorithms. Contact microphone mayhem & max/msp antics are sure to abound!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket