FCIO – Batman: Digital Justice

Batman Digital Justice

So I feel like everybody in my age range knows of this comic, but somehow I don’t know anyone who has actually read it.  Even my friend Jason Young of Gutter Trash who has Batman as his favorite character said he’s owned it for years & has yet to read it.  I think part of the issue is the price point on it was pretty high at the time, published at an artbook price of $24.95 in 1989 when comics cover prices were typically $1.75.  I always had a certain interest in it, but not at $25 & I recently stumbled on it for $3 (which is a dollar less than a current issue of Batman on the stands, so I picked it up).
So I was a fan of the comic Shatter (the first major computer drawn comic) & this came out 4 years later & it’s hard to tell if this was directly influenced by it or it was just natural for early CGI comics to have a dystopian cyberpunk/Blade Runner edge.  It’s a fun quick read that stands alone & works for anyone with the smallest amount of Batman background knowledge & might even work without it as it is set 50 years in the future with a new person taking up the Batman mantle as a Joker computer virus takes over the city.  The art is interesting as well as highly dated & you can see the technological limitations in it with larger panels ending up less detailed.  In the end, if this sounds like it’s worth checking out to you, it probably is either as a stand alone Batman tale or a relic of 30 year old computer art.  A couple pictures below.
Batman Digital Justice Batman Digital Justice

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Swans: Sacrifice & Transcendence: The Oral History by Nick Soulsby

Swans - Sacrifice & Transcendence - The Oral History

I started listening to Swans in high school with their album The Burning World with its acoustic guitars & violins & cover of a Kansas song that is not really indicative of what folks associate with the band, but as a goth kid I loved it.  Exploring the back catalog with Cop & Children of God as well as the side projects Skin & World of Skin I fell more in love with the band & by the time The Great Annihilator came out they were my favorite band & as I interviewed bands for my zine QRD I would ask them their favorite Swans song & in issue 7 I scored an interview with Jarboe & we had a correspondence for a few years & she collaborated on a Small Life Form track with me a couple years later & I interviewed Michael Gira a couple times years later as well as a few other folks who’ve been involved with the band over the years.  But at some point in life I started listening to Swans less, in part because they reminded me of some dark spots in my life & pulled me back to it.  So even though they are still in my top band list & without Michael Gira as an example of someone significantly older than me still struggling to make good music that so relatively few care about I probably couldn’t have continued working on art myself, I haven’t really listened to them much in the past ten years.  Still when I heard about this book I was super interested, as I have been a fan of the oral history style books (paragraph long quotes from interview subjects put in order to make a narrative) ever since reading Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk as a teenager & as I said, Swans are still one of my favorite bands.
So there are a lot of legends about Swans (like Gira cutting off his little finger & selling it to a fan for $10,000) & this book doesn’t attempt to make the legends greater & often explains the origins of them & debunks them.  I was surprised by the amount of stories I hadn’t heard before & in fact the story of why the original guitarist got kicked out of the band (for wanting to be more improvisational & jazz oriented) inspired me to re-start my no wave project that was somewhat of an homage to early Swans, also it made me hear how the first EP could be considered avant jazz through a rock lens (especially if you listen to the original pressing – which you can find a rip of on YouTube).  I also found pretty interesting the question of, “is Swans a band or a project?” that Jarboe brought up & where that answer is not just for Swans, but for most bands with a single dominant voice in them an interesting one & the question that rises from it of, “how do you keep collaborators?”  So lots of interesting stuff here & a lot of focus on the early days & while I would have liked some more stories from the Angels of Light era & more about the recording processes there’s a good chance it’s more accessible & interesting to the average fan as it is.   So if you are a Swans fan or even just interested in reading about NYC rock history or an artist trying to survive for 40 years, this is worth checking out.
Full disclosure – Nick Soulsby reached out to me & had a complimentary copy mailed to me before I got around to ordering it, thanks Nick for both my copy & all your hard work!

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Grendel: Devil’s Oddysey #1

Grendel: Devil's Odyssey

So I first started reading Grendel when I was 9 with issue 10 of the original run.  Sex, violence, flying cars, & a kabuki werewolf – so maybe not age appropriate, but no more so than favorite movies of the time like Terminator & Dawn of the Dead.  Having read the comic pretty much as it sporadically has come out over the past 35 years has not been as frustrating to me as it probably is for a lot of people because the original Comico stories are pretty hardwired into my brain.  There’s a lot of backstory & a lot of influential things to me about the series.  First off, when I started reading it the Pander Brothers were drawing it & they were the first artists that really were doing something different that drew me in to accept things outside of the typical mainstream comic style, so I am forever grateful for that influence on me.  Also a few issues later there was a run where each page was a series of minimalist thumbnails with a lot of text which was a huge inspiration point for my matchbook sized comics.  As far as what Grendel is about, it starts out a story of a mobster & his rise to power followed by a religion following him after his death & becoming the only structure for society after an apocalypse.  That said, that storyline hasn’t been looked at for about 20 years, going instead with comics about the original Grendel (Hunter Rose) who died before even I started reading the books.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been some great books in that time (notably Grendel: Black, White, & Red), but that whole time I’ve been waiting to see the story continue & now it does.  Grendel Prime, the cyborg warrior built as a bodyguard & nanny for the world emperor’s son is called back after a hundred years of solitude & asked to take a ship with DNA & cloning machinery to outer space to populate a distant world with the seeds of the royal family before the earth destroys itself.  Very much an homage to early Heavy Metal (e.g. Den by Richard Corben), but still Grendel & I’m looking forward to the story & hope it’s not a long wait for the next story arc after this one finishes.  Recommended if anything about this sounds interesting to you.
Also I feel I’d be remiss to not mention how weinery the space ship looks.
Grendel Space Ship

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Silber Newsletter October 10, 2019 – Now That’s What I Call Silence

Hello,

I hope all is well.  For several years we’ve been working on a complilation called “Now That’s What I Call Silence” influenced in equal parts by John Cage, Reynols, & the concepts of minimalism & sound experimantation in general.  But it’s done, it’s here!  Varying from tracks so silent they were rejected for dustribution (hi X-Bax!) to industrial noise (hi Small Life Form!).  Download & streaming links below.

We also have all of our August field recording series now available in one collection -https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/august-fields-2019-complete-collection
Our warehouse CD Purge sale is still happening – 12 CDs for $6 plus shipping - https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/merch/12-cd-warehouse-cleaning-special

Hoping to get up new releases from Yellow6, Baptizer, Whalt Thisney, Wodwo, & others shortly.  Been having some issues with my computer & 20 year old software for making the press releases lately.

I hope you dig the sounds & can help spread the word.  Thanks for your interest & support.

Hrt
Brian John Mitchell
www.silbermedia.com
PO Box 833
Sanford, NC 27331
USA

NowThatsWhatICallSilence
NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL SILENCE
Bandcamp - https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/now-thats-what-i-call-silence
Spotify (truncated) - https://open.spotify.com/album/7EgUUDFweoc84J7BEenCcD
YouTube (truncated) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lZMMaiGIO0&list=OLAK5uy_lTljjwRIM_jZQWTiqxdDLHFYJ8wUAgWJU

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Nostalgia = Distortion: An American Werewolf in London

An American Werewolf in London

I didn’t see this movie when it was new as I always assumed it was some kind of a spoof.  But I saw it in my 20s on Comedy Central where I probably wouldn’t have watched it at all except I flipped in on one of the best friend zombie scenes.  My memory of it was it was good & that the CGI in the Paris sequel was awful, but that’s about it.
Recently I re-read (or actually listened to the audiobook of) Robert E Howard’s werewolf story “Wolfshead” & it got me thinking about werewolf movies & so when I saw this available to stream while I was doing my data entry job I hit play.  This movie is a weird mix of things.  It definitely is part comedy, with plenty of one-liners & even a knock-knock joke, but it is also part horror movie (obviously) & weird paranoia film.  If you are into the first two Evil Dead movies, this is probably a match for you.
The werewolf mythology here has a hole in it as far as how a werewolf can be killed, is it only by a loved one or does suicide work or only in werewolf form or will a shotgun suffice?  But I think that in most werewolf canon the method of death is always in question & something the para-suicidal werewolf seeks but isn’t sure how to find & I guess the para-suicidal werewolf is what I like in the genre from Lon Chaney, Jr on down.  Anyway, the part of being haunted by all your kills is a really interesting twist & I could see this being expanded pretty well into the 13 episode TV shows they make today as it’s been a long time since a new werewolf item interested me (though I hear good things about the Teen Wolf tv show, so maybe I should check it out).

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Silber Newsletter – September 6, 2019

Hey Kidz,

Hope you all are well.  Hurricane Dorian came here on the coast of the Carolinas, but seemed to have limited impact on Silber HQ & our allies & we’re thankful for that.  There’s a lot going on at the moment & will probably be a new newsletter pretty shortly, but here’s the news right now.

August Fields 2019 finished up with 35 contributions.  To make things a little easier on everyone, I made a collection of all the pieces that you can grab here at the pay what you want model – https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/august-fields-2019-complete-collection

As some of you may know my folks basement has served as Silber’s warehouse for about 20 years (starting the first year I put out 10 releases in a year) & a few years ago they started having flooding issues because of the city approving some new subdivisions that send their storm water onto my parents’ lot.  Well, things on that have finally come to fruition & the city is buying them out & tearing the house down.  I don’t want to just throw the CDs away, so I’m offering a ridiculous special.  12 CDs for $12 including shipping.  Get them here while supplies last – https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/merch/12-cd-warehouse-cleaning-special

There was a Remora improv drone rock show recently.  I’m probably going to be able to make the audio into a release or maybe we’ll re-record it.  I’m unsure at the moment.  But here’s the video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW5Z2iSZuWQ

Finally you may have already heard, but there’s a new Aarktica album & you can grab it on Bandcamp https://aarktica.bandcamp.com/ or it is available from all the regular streaming spots.

New music & a new QRD hopefully in about two weeks.  QRD will include a Lycia interview that I am pretty excited about as it is an attempt at doing something new interview wise for me as it’s a new method.  New 5in5s coming from Baptizer & Hyperborean Echoes, the That’s What I Call Silence compilation, the Symphonic Plunderphonic compilation, & albums from Wodwo, Whalt Thisney, & Stoic Automaton.

I’m feeling upbeat at the moment, life’s hard & good here, thanks for your continued interest & support for what I’ve been doing for 25 years.

Hrt
Brian John Mitchell

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Somewhat Relevant – Beyond

beyond 2014
So I would say this maybe should go under “Finally Checking It Out” since it’s five years old, but I’ve never heard of it until now when it was recommended to me on FilmRise, so I’m guessing it’s new to plenty of folks.  So this is kinda in a crossbreed category of film styles I like as a post-apocalyptic sci-fi survival relationship study film.  If you like sci-fi movies like “Primer” & “A Quiet Place” than this is probably a match for you.  Basic plot synopsis without spoilers is a guy who doesn’t really seem to care if he lives or dies ends up in a relationship as a presumed asteroid is discovered to be headed towards the earth.  I feel like saying too much more gives things away, but I will say something with a bit of spoiler beneath the trailer.

 

****SPOILER****

I felt like the end of the movie would’ve been better if it was a little more open ended.  It felt certain that the aliens were all a hallucination/dream, but I would’ve liked it if it was crafted so we weren’t sure of that.  Subsequent rewatches would show, “that guy definitely is the same doctor” & “the number on the ship is the same as in the parking deck” & fans could debate it.  But I get that people like things tied up with a bow.

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August Field Recording Series

Hey Kidz,

Well, there’s stuff going on, lots of stuff waiting in the wings (new 5in5s, new music from Yellow6 & Space Sweeper & Wodwo & Whalt Thisney, a new QRD, a couple comps, bloggy stuff), but today is August 1st & that marks the launch of our August Fields series.  It’s a follow-up to Droneuary in that it’s a release by a different artist everyday, but sonically it’s definitely its own animal.  I asked all the usual suspects about doing some field recordings & either releasing collections of raw sounds they found in the wild or they could manipulate those sounds into more structured pieces, but no musical instruments were used.  About 20 in so far & some promises as well so it may round into the full month, but not into the beast Droneuary was.  Some pieces are long ambient structures & some are only a few seconds long, some are soothing & some are caustic noise.  You can keep up with them daily on the Silber Bandcamp – https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com – or Twitter/Facebook or in the next newsletter I’ll have full information for you.  Pretty excited that Attrition took part in this as well as Phil Dole under his Field In Stream incarnation & Phil Zampino’s Signal to BLIND & some names you may recognize like Electric Bird Noise, Small Life Form, remst8, Azalia Snail, Determinist?, Ben Link Collins, Petridisch, Nathan Amundson, The Gribshnobler, Discord, Martin Newman, Ocean in a Bottle, Subscape Annex, Toni Dimitrov, Switchblade Kid, Bryce Eiman, Philip Polk Palmer, Jeremiah Paddock, & fornever.  The inspiration for this was a couple years ago when I did a micro-cassette recording release for Veduin Hiss & had a lot of fun trying to capture random sounds with it.  Anyway, they are all going to be free to stream or download on Bandcamp, so check them out.

I’m feeling upbeat at the moment, life’s hard & good here, thanks for your continued interest & support for what I’ve been doing for 25 years.  If you want to be taken off the mailing list, please just let me know.

Hrt
Brian John Mitchell
www.silbermedia.com

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New Minimalism & Sound Experiments from Electric Bird Noise, Bryce Eiman, Ocean in a Bottle, & The Day2 Alliance

Hey Starz,

It’s been a while & I hope you’re doing well.  A lot has been going on at Silber, but I’ve been sick with a bronchitis/sinusitis/ear infection that didn’t really respond to antibiotics that has slowed me down the past couple months that I am finally getting over.  Getting older & admitting the slow down is hard, but enough excuses & sob stories, on with all the good things happening.

The Droneuary series (a drone piece by a different artist each day) ended up lasting 80 days & you can hear or download the whole thing on Bandcamp at name your own price.  It was a lot of fun & I’m planning on doing it again in 2020.
https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/droneuary-2019

It’s been about two years somehow, but I got together a new QRD with 27 interviews with artistic dads, guitarists, record label owners, cartoonists, & touring musicians.  Hopefully something for everyone.  Probably another issue fairly soon as this fall marks 25 years since I did the interviews for the first issue.  If you have any words (kind or unkind) to say about the thing let me know, as it’d be nice to have a little letters section or what have you for the anniversary.
http://www.silbermedia.com/qrd

I finally finished a new issue of my original micro-comic Lost Kisses.  It continues the time travel story arc you forgot all about, but has a recap page so it’s easy to walk into.  Meanwhile my three year old drone cub made a comic with an all star cast illustrating it like Jason Young, Nate McDonough, Michael Neno, Bob Corby, Kurt Dinse, Eddie Delaney, JM Hunter, Chelsea Fields, Dan McCloskey, Shawn Atkins, & Jared Catherine called In The Spooky Jungle.  Lost Kisses is $2 with shipping, Spooky Jungle is $4 or get both for $5 Paypal-ing to silberspy@silbermedia.com

The 5in5 EP series has officially re-launched with new EPs from Bryce Eiman, Ocean in a Bottle, & Day2 Alliance.  More info on all of those below & more coming soon from Baptizer, Vlor, & more.  Of course you can listen to the entire 5in5 series on Spotify to hear how everyone has faced the challenge over the years.
https://play.spotify.com/user/silberspy/playlist/7ge7yufxSf6IR9Tpu7YIgh

Finally we have a new album from Electric Bird Noise continuing the ambient jazz for art gallery elevators of the last few years, but this time collaborating with drummers.  A little more info below.

Here are a few releases from some of our good allies that you might want to check out:
M is We – https://bst009miswe.bandcamp.com/
Irata – https://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/tower
Nonconnah – https://nonconnahordeath.bandcamp.com/album/dead-roses-digged-up-zombies-broken-pieces-of-diamonds-live-cats

There’s other stuff, but that’s enough news for now.   Probably some more news & new music in a couple weeks.  Thanks for your interest & support, spread the word if you can.

Hrt
Brian John Mitchell
Silber Records
PO Box 883
Sanford, NC 27331
www.silbermedia.com

 

Ocean in a Bottle - A Simple Case

OCEAN IN A BOTTLE: A Simple Case: I’m sorry… looking at the moon
File Under: Piano, Melancholia, Introspection, Minimalism
Recommended if you like: Brian Eno, Zoviet France, Harold Budd
Following on from his Droneuary release on Silber, “Dawn Chorus”, Manchester based Andy N, aka Ocean in a Bottle, has an entry for the 5 in 5 series. “A Simple Case: I’m sorry… looking at the moon” while still using recorded ambience with live instruments goes further with the five pieces uniting together to tell a fragmented tiny story, taking the listener on a journey across emotions with live rain as bookends of the story & layers of drone like synths & looping piano as symbols of aching sadness & heightened reality stepping into rain building a new reality that one can be more immersed in with more listens.
Listen or download on Bandcamp – https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/a-simple-case-im-sorry-looking-at-the-moon
Listen on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWgtn5vR-euF990OphZMzcjaPFnm-vGlz
Listen on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/album/3TgGrw6nMMddRVtR9j77yE

day2-alliance-pardonDAY2 ALLIANCE: Pardon the Interruption (Commercial Themes Volume One)
File Under: Experimental, Drone, Indie
Recommended if you like: Drekka, music by your friends
It’s kind of embarrassing that the idea of a 5in5 as a compilation came from Day2 Alliance instead of Silber. A compilation to sample some of the flavors of the art collective featuring Drekka, 144,000, Porir Georg, Eating Canada. Minute long ambient soundtracks for spooky moments.  Day2 Alliance TV, signing off.
Listen or download on Bandcamp – https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/the-day2-alliance-media-network-presents-pardon-the-interruption-commercial-themes-volume-one
Listen on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/album/6iADDTn7AKNh1ftDO2QXHu

Bryce_Eiman-More_thanBRYCE EIMAN: More Than a Second, Less Than a Moment
File Under: Experimental, Noise, Minimalism
Recommended if you like: Nurse with Wound, Nocturnal Emissions, Aube
Silber’s prodigal father Bryce Eiman returns with a new entry in the 5 in 5 series.  For those not in the know, Bryce Eiman has been releasing experimental music since 1989 varying from aggressive & caustic to soothing & ambient to rhythmic & danceable both solo & in various collaborations.  Since 2008 he’s been the curator of 919Noise & it’s monthly series showcasing experimenters from around the world as well as showcasing local talent & giving an outlet for live performance to Silber artists like Electric Bird Noise, Small Life Form, slicnaton, Konbanwa, & countless others.
“More than a second, less than a moment” is minute long electronic meditations on the lyrics of Appalachian folk songs.  Soothing & menacing, just like man’s relationship to both creation & the creator.
Listen or download on Bandcamp – https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/more-than-a-second-less-than-a-moment
Listen on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWgtn5vR-euGniVzZZL7RhLapm5ff4CTC
Listen on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/album/3PsZnrMnjbztenZK3piHzE

electric-bird-noise_hearn-roberts-strong_watts
ELECTRIC BIRD NOISE: Hearn-Roberts-Strong-Watts
File Under: Experimental, Ambient Jazz, Outer Space, Minimalism
Recommended if you like: Lubormor Melnyk, Brian Eno
Hailing from America’s party city Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Electric Bird Noise has been Brian Lea McKenzie’s outlet for sound experimentation for 20 years. Varying from prog rock to post rock, new wave to ambient, jazz to noise, Electric Bird Noise has always been uniquely itself.
On Hearn-Roberts-Strong-Watts EBN continues the guitar based ambient jazz experiments for art gallery elevators of the past few years with the addition of percussionists as a natural expansion of the sonic pallet. Shut your eyes and wait for the elevator to let you out in outer space.
Listen or download on Bandcamp – https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/hearn-roberts-strong-watts
Listen on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_kvov_nQVNbpmo48B2ILdC3Ww4Bzqi8tbQ
Listen on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/album/7Ie4phHPFV82JC9EP7zToj

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Gear Stories – Mark’s Guitar

marks-guitar
So I acquired this guitar in 1998.  Russell from Vlor had got it when his band broke up & closed down their practice space & it had some bad mojo for him so he traded it to me for an SG with the electronics & hardware ripped out & a bottle opener mounted to it that I’d found in the trash somewhere.  The caveat of the trade was that if the owner ever showed up I’d give it back & I was fine with that.  The owner was a crackhead named Mark who’d been at one jam session at the practice space & caught his apartment on fire & left town a few days later, so I totally understood the feeling of bad mojo & the slim chance of needing to return it.  I was told none of the effects were working & that was technically true, as it needed a new battery.  Also half the neck inlays fell out when I was doing some aggressive bends & I had to glue them back in & finding a nut to hold in one of the output jacks was a real headache.  The thing is a heavy beast that hurts your shoulder when you play it punk rock stage style (the only way I know how) & I think I used it for a couple songs on the last few burMONTER live shows, I know I used it for at least one because my buddy Kirk asked me if it was made for Service Merchandise at one of the shows.  A few months later while it was sitting in my closet, the tailpiece snapped (which I’ve never even heard of happening to anyone else’s guitar, but who knows how rough of a life this thing led) & I was at a point where I was both super broke & into weird tunings, so I kept stringing it with wires instead of guitar strings & I went through a bunch of different types of wire before someone on the Oddmusic Yahoo Group turned me on to taking a clothesline & stripping the vinyl coating off & so I got these weird braided strings on the thing that don’t really sound like a guitar or a banjo that I found interesting, usually tuned with four of the strings to the same note & two a fifth higher.  It ended up the feature instrument as what I look at as the single on Vlor’s A Fire Is Meant For Burning with a song called “Wires”, but it’s generally just sat in my closet or guitar rack for years.  But a few months ago Zach from Nonconnah bought the same guitar & posted a photo of it on Facebook & though I never could figure out what it was before, I guess it’s a Kay Effector & in a couple weeks me & Zach will play both of them at a jam together based on some of their quirks.  I played with it this past week a bit & I was shocked to feel like it actually is a really fun & playable guitar that maybe deserves real strings.

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