I hope all is well & that you are off to a great 2020. If you haven’t already seen it, we have launched Droneuary 2020 & you can hear & download all the new stuff on our Bandcamp page & see the daily releases as they come out ( http://silbermedia.bandcamp.com ) or check out the series on Spotify ( https://open.spotify.com/user/silberspy/playlist/45NXvsMgDQ2c9a0rB7LK0G ). We have about 55 pieces in so far, so we’ll see if we pass the 85 we got in last year. It has been a real honor to see the series generate so much interest from the artists involved.
As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t really been updating the main Silber website lately. I do plan to update everything eventually, but more traffic was going to Facebook/Bandcamp/Twitter so I’ve had those as the focus even though I personally wish the main site was the center of all things. Time is hard to come by around here lately, so I’ve had to pick & choose a bit more than I’d like as far as what to cultivate.
Recently we have started giving out free Bandcamp download codes on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/silberspy ). I’m mentioning this not only so you can make sure you are following Silber on Twitter & can score some free downloads for yourself, but to offer you twenty codes of your favorite Silber release to post to Twitter (or other social media) for your friends. Just let me know your favorite release & I’ll send you some codes to share.
About a week ago we had a first recording session for my revitalized no wave project The Undermasks (also first full band rehearsal, despite us having had a show a few months back). I have yet to listen to the recordings, but it was rewarding for me to be in a more band type setting than I’ve been in since 2011. It’s nice to go in with vague ideas & watch them get transformed by collaborators & we’ll see if my initial vision stays with the band or if it transforms into it’s own thing. The lineup is currently me on guitar/drums/vocals, Martin Newman (Goddakk/Plumerai) on guitar, & Rowland Yeargan (Konbanwa/Sprtsmanship) on guitar/drums. We’ll see if an EP/album is ready for the next newsletter.
As far as what’s coming up, new material from Whalt Thisney, Chvad SB, Vlor, Remora, Small Life Form, Space Sweeper, Phillip Polk Palmer, The Undermasks, & Luka Fisher. The launch of a new field recording series in April. Of course I hope to get the new issue of QRD done sooner than later, but I’ve been saying that for six months now & just maybe some new comics.
Thanks for your interest & support over all the years, it really means a lot to me. Spread the word about the music if you can & if you want to be removed from the mailing list just let me know.
We do have a new compilation out that we’ve been working on for several years called Symphonic Plunderphonic that is plunderphonic pieces built from classical music varying from total transformation to fairly true to the spirit of the original material. It’s available as a free download on Bandcamp. https://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/album/symphonic-plunderphonic
As far as what’s coming up, new material from Whalt Thisney, Chvad SB, Vlor, Remora, Small Life Form, Space Sweeper, Phillip Polk Palmer, & Luka Fisher. The launch of Droneuary 2020 (a new drone piece by a different band each day starting January 1, we’ll see how long it will go this year). Of course I hope to get the new issue of QRD done sooner than later, but I’ve been saying that for six months now.
Thanks for your interest & support over all the years, it really means a lot to me. Spread the word about the music if you can.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.