Sunday, April 16, 2017

ARVO ZYLO
“Sequencer Works Volume Three” C88
(Personal Archives / Ka-Rye-Eye)




You can take your Yamaha RM1x sequencer and shove it somewhere where it don’t belong, because you won’t need it anymore. Arvo Zylo has been whipping that thing into shape since the year 2000, back when our biggest fear was that computers were somehow going to revert to the year 1900 when the clock struck midnight at the turn of the millennium. Bet he was gearing up for a little bedlam when he started to conceptualize these projects. See, he was doing some sequencing for an industrial band back then, so it’s no surprise really that “Fuckmata,” which begins this collection, is an aborted cover of Ministry’s “Stigmata.” I don’t know if anything in the world makes more sense. I’m pretty sure my first reaction to just starting this tape was that of, “That’s it, then, no need for anybody else to work with this technology – ol’ Arvo’s outtakes are already the pinnacle.” Then I stupidly said the same thing about Jimi Hendrix and a guitar, and I was never heard from again.

But then I was! I had to finish this review, didn’t I? Limitations notwithstanding. Anyway, Volume Three is obviously the third (and final) in a series of these things, the first two being released on Out-of-Body Records and No Part of It respectively, and it includes material recorded (but not necessarily released, and if it was, the quantity was limited) between 2000 and 2010. Zylo specifically limited himself to the Yamaha RM1x, and, to paraphrase ideas in Scott Scholz’s excellent liner notes (titled “Worshipping the Glitch,” naturally), that limitation lends itself to quirks of recording and fidelity, allowing rough edges to remain that could otherwise be sanded smooth within digital software platforms. But isn’t that the fun of it? The rough edges are what give the music its character. I’m a firm believer in the merits of happy accidents, where even the barest sketches of composition can be fully redeemed by technological discovery. Wrap that all up in an industrial (music)–strength  package and the sky’s the limit. Of course these are more than just bare sketches – each piece is a machine-shop freakout’s worth of technical destruction, warped and layered for maximum face-melting upon exposure.

Did I say “face-melting”? Sure did. Arvo Zylo’s chaos comes packaged across a wide range of frequencies and patterns, and “confrontational” is certainly a good term to describe the results. Side A is decidedly more industrial-heavy, while side B tracks its muddy boots across the thresholds of noise and drone, but never getting caught in stasis. And while 88 minutes is a heavy slab to devour at once, there’s lots to discover as you maneuver your way through the wreckage. Start here, start at volume one, start on the moon, who cares. For maximum self-flagellation, make it a triple and set your out-of-office for the afternoon. And don’t forget where you put that Yamaha RM1x – despite what I said earlier, you might need it later if you get inspired.





--Ryan Masteller

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