Arvo Zylo – Falling Tower, Terrible Fountain (C30, Side of the Sun Recordings)

Drone, harsh noise, Industrial, Noise, Review

falling tower, terrible fountainArvo Zylo brings us another excellent tape filled with noise from Side of the Sun Recordings. Falling Tower, Terrible Fountain is, from the artist himself, a personal recording experience based somewhat on the Falling Tower tarot card, and indeed the cassette brings a smattering of different sounds, sometimes minimal and sometimes noisily full, that draws the listener into this experience.

Side A’s full-sided “Falling Tower” is a mass of pulsating textures and rhythms, with Arvo Zylo crafting a heavy droning harsh noise track out of various pieces. Industrial loops of machinery and feedback sporadically whir in the background, while swirls of feedback repeat in the forefront along with a melancholy riff. “Falling Tower” approaches cacophony at times, but Arvo Zylo refrains from letting it reach an overblown climax – instead, he allows that industrial clamor to become a drifting texture that hypnotizes as it blends into the track. The amount of noise happening in the focal point – a bit of bass here, the softly exaggerated whine of circuitry there – forces the listener to observe each alternation in the sound.

Side B is actually two tracks, the titular “Terrible Fountain” and “House of God.” “Terrible Fountain” starts as slab of static in a continual loop that makes it sound segmented. That’s only for a few moments, though, and then Arvo Zylo allows it to linger a bit more, along with an open, airy drone in the background. It’s wall-like in nature but it never quite gets there; while mesmerizing, it doesn’t have the textural hold.

“House of God” is more minimal, a track that adds various electronic manipulations and synth tones. Arvo Zylo explores oscillating movement, and the end finds a synth sustaining a note overtop of the other repeating notes. It’s a short piece, but it works well as a follow-up to “Terrible Fountain.”

Falling Tower, Terrible Fountain is a solid release, and Arvo Zylo has proven time and again that his noise is something much deeper than the simple twist and turn of knobs. This tape is like a void, easily sucking the listener into the whir of noise aberrations, and one should attempt to find this tape by contacting punkferret138 AT (since Side of the Sun doesn’t really have a web presence).

Bryan Lewis Saunders & Arvo Zylo – The Pleasure Tunnel/The Temple of Paradise (C40[?], No Part of It)

Drone, harsh noise, Noise, spoken word

pleasure tunnel

Bryan Lewis Saunders has been documenting his dreams for some time now, and The Pleasure Tunnel/The Temple of Paradise is a combination of those dream recordings, a lucid write-up of two events occurring back-to-back with similar lengths and sounds. It happened to be when Saunders had a lung infection, so there’s a breathless, nearly wheezing quality to his recordings that tend to make the listener feel a little claustrophobic. Arvo Zylo, runner of No Part of It and noise magician, decided to lay down a couple of tracks along with Saunders’ breathing, crafting a tense surreality out of Saunders’ dreaming.

Side A of the release starts with quite a long passage of Saunders’ breathing, somewhat spacious in its approach because of the way the channels have been mixed. It’s difficult to listen to; it sounds like someone struggling to breath, wheezing in gasps. It isn’t until a few minutes in that the noise begins to build, a slow droning cacophony that picks up depth as it grows. The whistles and wheezes of Saunders are still there, but the noise is enveloping, a bassy drive that closes in on the listener. It eventually comes back down again, like the end of a dream when it starts to fade away just before waking.

Side B starts a bit more abrasively and then settles into some whirring, echoing drones – dreamy, then collossal bass. There’s a disconnectedness to the sounds on this track, often cutting in and out between heavy and soft, jolting and mesmerizing. They’re punctuated by spaces of silence, the embodiment of a dream that continually fluctuates in setting, tone, and mood until it has completely shifted itself. Eventually the sound morphs into a repetitive spring creak, as though a door is continually opening, leading to the spoken word moments of the transcript. The static crash at the end is another moment of dream-like surrealism, the lull before the fall from a great height.

The Pleasure Tunnel/The Temple of Paradise is an intriguing listen from start to finish, and there’s a lot of things worth returning to in this package. Both artists have notes about the making of this tape, as well as a full transcript of both channels of Saunders’ dreams. It means spending time reading each transcript, allowing the noise to envelop in the process – perhaps then, one can very nearly enter the dreams of another.


GX Jupitter-Larsen/Arvo Zylo – Xylowave 2012 (C50, Spleencoffin)

harsh noise, harsh noise wall, Industrial, Review

If you’ve heard GX Jupitter-Larsen’s output before, I won’t even have to review his side of this split. You know if you like it and you know if you don’t. Arvo Zylo is a different story, because his output seems to constantly shift to a point where I never know what I’m going to get on each release. In reference to Xylowave, each artist brings one 25 minute track to this release, and they are both fairly noisy, with the intent to spiral out of control as a wave might during an especially raucous full tide.

First on Side A is GX Jupitter-Larsen’s “Xylowave” – you can tell on the cassette because that side is marked with an X. There are wall-like qualities to this track, since it both moves and stays in the same sort of muddied soundset that it begins with for the most part. But there’s a lot happening on the interior of this track – pulsings of jittery noise that almost sound like chords strung tightly and then fiddled with; lots of sharp feedback that doesn’t get too loud but simply hangs in the balance, as though nearly all of the electronics GX Jupitter-Larsen uses are on the edge of giving up. There are rumbles, too, but those are pared back slightly. Even when the track lightens up a bit for some churning fuzz, there are some howls thrown in for good measure. It’s a nice mix of noise, and everything kind of cements together while maintaining the sense of inward movement that becomes rather imperative for tracks of this style.

“Zylowave,” Arvo Zylo’s track, begins with some looping of what sounds to be a sample – of what, I’m not sure, but it sounds like a room full of people talking played back on a bad tape player and then looped so much that some of it sounds like it’s glitching. Over time the whirr of other electronics begins to creep in, resulting in some oscillating tones and adding to the output of the track – everything is going at once, and it’s equally as chaotic as the Jupitter-Larsen side. Arvo Zylo does bring it down in places; some of the loops cut in and out, sometimes nearly all of the sound stops, but the Zylowave continues on in interesting ways throughout.

Both sides of this split are excellent – they’re two good harsh noise tracks that emphasize subtle movements, remaining rigid in their initial setups but carrying forward underneath the layers with small details. It’s a frenetic listen, and for those that enjoy a big smattering of harsh noise, this one’s for you.

Arvo Zylo – 333 (CD-R, No Part of It)

dark ambient, Drone, Music, Noise, Noisecore, Review

333 is made up of simply a Yamaha RX1 sequencer and some requisite sounds along with it, but 333 doesn’t feel as limited as it really is. Arvo Zylo takes the listener through so many different areas of noise that, even during one track, it’s hard to express just where the track has been, and it’s also impossible to really gauge where it could go. That’s a great feeling, and 333 is full of it – the three tracks on here, ranging from a half an hour to 15 minutes or so, are totally different in structure and feeling, although they all have that signature sound of the RX1.

First track “Quicksand Eggs of a Beaten Pathos” is the longest, and it’s easily the best way to understand what Arvo Zylo is doing on this release. There are moments of digital-like trip-hop, rhythms that shudder and melt. There’s lots of synthesizer shuffling, but that’s really limiting how many different types of sounds Arvo Zylo gets out of the track; at times, the rhythms shift from music to noise, with little strands of static and percussive elements keeping a hold of the ideas, or at other times, bass-heavy beats and stuttery staccatos create a march of sound. It’s easily the best showcase of 333 because of its length, but it’s also a good song altogether, and 333 could have stood on its own with just this track.

It doesn’t though. “Deadbeat Deluxe” is similar to the first, but it’s more like a crazy carnival ride gone wrong with all of its strange synth twists and turns and odd beat structures. There are more additions to the sounds, and a good groove to boot. “Plasthma” is mostly minimal beatwork with less emphasis on bass, but towards the end it adds a really awesome, moody synth line to it that reminds me of old Tales from the Darkside themes. Very nice work indeed.

It’s another solid showing from Arvo Zylo, and very different at that. It might not appeal to those who don’t like more rhythmic noise, but the amount of sound generated from the limited instrumental use is quite amazing, and it also works well with the harmonies that 333 displays.

Arvo Zylo – Saint Street (CD-R, No Part of It)

Drone, harsh noise, harsh noise wall, Noise, Review

Saint Street‘s an album from Arvo Zylo, although you wouldn’t know it simply by investigating the cover. Only inside, listed underneath a brilliantly colorful picture of a dead bird, does it list artist moniker. Instead, the cover art reminds of Merzbow at his birdiest, similar to artwork on his 13 Japanese Birds series. But Arvo Zylo’s noise on Saint Street sounds quite far from the ‘bow’s harsh noise; instead, Zylo provides the listener with a fairly long disc of ten noise tracks, often wall-like in texture while mixing in a few tracks of noisy rhythms.

The noisier walls that pepper this disc are an interesting mix of shifting static textures combined with new takes on the genre. Opener “Upheaval (Version 3)” is an impressive wall of blasting noise with a fairly consistent undertone of sound, but it often shifts between more musical droning from the opening into hypnotic churnings of fuzz and distant violence. Similar scenarios often occur on this disc, although tunes like “Undula” and “Freudian Scrape” tend to emphasize the ability of noise to completely obliterate otherwise dance-able soundscapes. It might seem at first odd that Arvo Zylo pairs the sonic blasts of harsh noise wall static with rhythmic noise akin to Black Dice, but it also feels right, a fresh stance on walls that considers changing the simplicity of the sprawling length and unchanging tone of those stoic anthems. There’s also the wallish cut crafted out of layering rewound sounds together on “DPRV”, a magnificently hypnotic piece that aims to throw the listener’s sense of direction off course.

Saint Street falters just a bit, especially in its latter half – “Arachnid Orchid” is one piece that feels contextually out of place with its digital laser beam beats, and “Freudian Scrape” feels outlandishly long considering the total runtime of the disc. The biggest problem with Saint Street is its tendency to sprawl for too long, stretching pieces on until they’re ready to fall apart. Condensing these tracks down would have allowed the listener more time to allow them to soak in; instead, Saint Street packs so much good noise into one disc that it’s difficult to absorb as a whole.

But that’s easily fixable – simply listen again and again, and come back to Arvo Zylo’s ideas fresh. Saint Street is a beauty of a noise album, and the mix of percussive instrumentation with blistering textures is refreshing as well as inspirational.