Interred Views: Partli Cloudi



1011179_10151856692286711_79249168_nMild-mannered librarian by day, by late-afternoon Vancouver Island’s Stephen Wolf turns into the mild-mannered basement recordist named Partli Cloudi. A weaver of detailed audio tapestries, adding his own acoustic flourishes and electronic embellishments to a secret world of woozy found-sound, Wolf exudes the mystique of the mystical artiste who lives on the fringes. It’s the sort with a facade of eccentricity that people feel compelled to chip away at in order to discover the real person hiding within. Well, let me tell you, I’ve known Stephen for a long time and there is no end to the onion-like layers you could peel away. And if you did peel him down to the core, you’d find you were right back where you started because it’s not a facade. Stephen is one of those rare genuinely deep dudes whose zen-like demeanor and quiet wisdom isn’t an affectation.

I caught up with him (or, like always, tried to catch up to where he’s at) to discuss Watermelon Cauliflower, his second release on Arachnidiscs Recordings. And, of course, I forgot to ask him exactly what a “watermelon cauliflower” is.

Arachnidiscs Recordings: It’s been a while since I left Vancouver Island. There wasn’t much of a weirdo music scene there at the time, but what did exist was pretty tight-knit. What’s it like now?

Partli Cloudi:  I am probably the last person to ask about a scene of any kind, being somewhat socially inept and challenged geographically by living on the outskirts of a small town. But if by weirdo you mean music that is not based on peer acceptance and/or the pursuit of peanuts, then I don’t think there is any scene.

Not to say there aren’t interesting artists all over doing great things in isolation that zero to few people will ever hear. But when you typically have to wade through the dominant culture and dominant sub-culture just to hear music outside of the conventions of rock etc, then you quickly tire with the realization of how alone you are.

My brother and I went to hear David Behrman speak at the University of Victoria a few months ago and we were the only non-students, in other words the only non-mandated attendees. Gordon Mumma was sitting beside David and they reminisced while they presented a slide show of his old electronic contraptions and played some pre-recorded samples. That same night I went to an indie rock basement show and the place was packed full of free-range hipsters posing in front of each other, taking selfies, and talking over the music, was that a scene?

ADR: That would be the definition of a capital-S Scene. It’s interesting what you’re implying about “peer acceptance” being a factor even with people making weird music. I know when I write or record something, it’s often through the filter of “What would Stephen think of this?” which, although I trust your judgement, I know isn’t exactly a productive filter to have in place. I also usually completely ignore it. Anyway, are you saying, even if your peers are creative weirdos, that the moment peer acceptance enters the equation the art is corrupted?

PC: For a weirdo to have peers would negate the weirdo’s weirdness, so it may technically be impossible. But it is not like art has ever been sacred and free from the corruption of getting paid, or getting laid or even just fed. I would concede that audiences essentially want to be entertained, but it is the duty of the artist to decide how far to pander and how far to challenge.

ADR: Watermelon Cauliflower, at first blush, seems to have zero discernible pandering. It’s one WTF moment after another. But it also doesn’t break from the forms people enjoyed about the previous album (Two Moron Ever Nose). Was that conscious? Were you giving the few people who bought Two Moron Ever Nose what they wanted?

PC: I would get nervous at the idea that someone is listening, so I probably would block any idea of audience out. Having no audience (perceived or otherwise) is more freeing. No consciousness was used in the making of this recording. I try to convert imagination into sound and back again, once I get to a freed state it begins to create itself, I might only awaken to clean up and hope that this time the tape machine was recording.

ADR: Okay, let’s maybe talk about about “the making of this recording” as you put it. I like to think I’m pretty well versed in this kind of thing, but I have trouble picking out what’s a sample, a found-sound and what is you actually playing an instrument. What’s your modus operandi?

PC: I do a lot of field recordings and have a huge collection of cassettes, many made on top of pre-recorded sources: music, audiobooks or thrift store mixtapes, then overdubbed with basement jams, old demos, or rhythms taken from rehearsals of other bands, with bits leaking into different surfaces and/or finally overdubbed by myself in my basement. Afterwards I wire up all my recorders into an ancient PC with an old version of Sound Forge you gave me 15 years ago, and essentially I play the 4-track recorders into it to make the end products. I like delay pedals as a means of time travel, but sampler technology is black hole that is already filled up. Since I stay away from most things digital, degredation and tape hiss can be a problem and an opportunity. It is super time consuming and does not lend itself to any precision, I really have no idea where anything is going to end up, no two takes are ever the same.

ADR: One of those situations where technological limitations leads to inspiration?

PC: Yeah, but I feel like I have way more technology than I can handle.

ADR: Getting back to what you were saying about not recording for an audience. It reminded me of some things I’ve be thinking about lately. About why we do this at all. What’s the point of making our music available to an audience? Why do you make these recordings and why do you make them public?

PC: I guess it is same question as to why we are here? Why exist? I was born into a fragile body that has an intense need to eat, breathe, paint and create rickety rotten soundscapes. I cannot escape it, and feel like I am dying inside if I try to stop. The process is not all sunshine and kittens and in fact is probably detrimental to my health and prosperity — I pray somebody somewhere in the vast continuum of time and space needs a Partli Cloudi recording for a some mysterious divine purpose, otherwise it is all for nothing.

Watermelon Cauliflower releases on May 1st, 2015. You can buy it here.

If you’re interested in more of Stephen’s views on music, his blog Shelf Dwindle is one of the best repositories of music writing alive today. Also, you can listen to the below podcast episode where we sat down to discuss (and  slaughter) the “sacred cows” of rock’n’roll.

Interred Views is a series of interviews with Arachnidiscs Recordings artists. This interview was conducted by Jakob Rehlinger.

Vol 11: STUDIES IN TRANCE – Hazy Montagne Mystique / YlangYlang


C30, high-bias tape. Edition of 50. Custom envelope with insert card.  $7 (+ regional shipping)



We ended our split tapes series with Vol. 10 (sides 19 & 20) to focus more on full album releases. Seemed like the thing to do at the time. Now we return with Vol. 11 (sides 21 and 22) for no possible better reason than to release the conceptual split “Studies In Trance” by Montreal electronic dronesters Hazy Montagne Mystique and YlangYlang.

The title of this work could raise red flags for people. Cheesy house music budget compilation red flags planted in the sand of Ibiza beaches, that is. But rest assured the pair are long-time students of trance-inducing tones. For evidence see their collaborative project A Sacred Cloud whose album, ENSOLEILLÉ, 1972we had the pleasure of releasing in 2013. Clearly when they say “Trance” they’re talking “transcendental”; trance as in drone; trance as in cosmic youth and far out cosmic spaces.

“… two artists who excel in druggy, electronic trance music — but not that type of trance. Having already worked together under the name A Sacred Cloud, Montreal’s Hazy Montagne Mystique and YlangYlang manage to fill out Arachnidisc’s four-song Studies in Trance cassette with a rather epic sounding drone. Starting off with the 15-minute raga, “chant/il sera lointain,” Hazy Montagne Mystique channel late ’70s French Zeuhl music, as dramatic rumbles and tribal drums absorb mystic chants. YlangYlang contribute three brief compositions, keeping things less stagey but equally textured, as “Temple of Tears” melds field recordings with electronic hiss. “Smoking with Spirits” resembles a melted shoegaze single, while “In Da Zone” is the most rhythmic track of the lot. With Studies in Trance, Arachnidiscs have delivered an engrossing split release that feels like a fully realized piece of art.” ~ Exclaim!

“…with a soothing new symbiotic brain worm from two of the creative lobes responsible for Jeunesse Cosmique … if you only pick up on one eccentric Canadian split cassette series this season, make it [Studies In Trance].” ~ Decoder

“Hazy’s “chant / is sera lointain” is a beautiful car wash of white noise. The listener is placed at the center of the recording, with many objects and delights that flit across the stage for the entertainment of the ears. Initial voices, imitating chants of mystic quality, give way to static and throbbing bass synth notes. The piece is stripped, collecting nuances of natural disorder, and keeping things entrancingly not of earth. YlangYlang’s … highly pleasing “Smoking With Spirits” is a delightful collection of space debris, a wealth of synthesized sighs and melodic highs. Crowding the short minutes with a cast of drone-worthy characters, YlangYlang creates a fruitful cosmology, rich in contrasting tones.” ~ Grayowl Point

Interred Views: Hazy Montagne Mystique and YlangYlang



In 2015 Arachnidiscs Recordings returns to our split tapes series with Vol. 11 (sides 21 and 22). Why? Well, for no possible better reason than to release the conceptual split “Studies In Trance” by Montreal electronic dronesters Hazy Montagne Mystique and YlangYlang.

I first met Chi (Hazy Montagne Mystique) and Catherine (YlangYlang) about five years ago when my band was (seemingly randomly) invited to play a gig in Toronto with a few of their bands. At the time I wasn’t sure if these bands were called Jeunesse Cosmique or Sally Paradise or a bunch of other things and that’s a state of confusion I haven’t been able to shake. It’s a tangled web to navigate when when you set out to explore the myriad projects these two play in together (and not together) under the über-hip Jeunesse Cosmique collective umbrella.

The title of this work could raise red flags for people. Cheesy house music budget compilation red flags planted in the sand of Ibiza beaches, that is. But rest assured the pair are long-time students of trance-inducing tones. For evidence see their collaborative project A Sacred Cloud whose album, ENSOLEILLÉ, 1972we had the pleasure of releasing in 2013. Clearly when they say “Trance” they’re talking “transcendental”; trance as in drone; trance as in cosmic youth and far out cosmic spaces.

Arachnidiscs Recordings: So I’m pretty excited to be putting out “Studies In Trance” as part of our split tapes series. But let’s talk about the title. What do you mean by it, exactly?

YlangYlang: When I did my side of the split, I worked in a ceremony manner. I placed all my gear on the floor, pedals, synth, loops, delays, into the mixer, then into my four track. It was a beautiful mess of interconnected magical objects. After that, I lit some incense and put myself in a meditation state, or a “trance” of openness and receptivity. For this tape I really wanted to get out of my head, you know, return to this no-brain instinctive primal free-form music I did when everything was more simple. I jammed like that for a while then transferred and chopped the material, including sounds recorded while walking. Walking is another form of trance for me. Then when I heard Chi’s side of the tape, it sounded to me like the same kind of vibe, a mind-blowing moment outside of time, where space-time is a metamorphosis of sounds and visions. I thought the name “Studies in Trance” could not only fit for my part but also Chi’s.

Hazy Montagne Mystique: In fact, I listened to a lot of the new album by Panda Bear and Andy Stott. I thought I could make more cheerful beats but instead, it was much more cavernous, dark and industrial so I keep zoned-out in the current music until I find the joyful sound at the end of my track.

ADR: Yeah, speaking of industrial, when I was listening to the tape this morning, I was hearing a sort of Throbbing Gristle influence. Which isn’t something I’ve thought of before about your music. Are you guys into that TG/Coil/Cabaret Voltaire Sheffield scene?

HMM: I listened to a lot of industrial and dark music when I was younger like Throbbing Gristle and Coil and but I also like Trisomie 21, Cabaret Voltaire and Clan of Xymox and a lot of The Cure/Joy Division. I played in a band with my friends Sebastian Trafalgar and Black Givre: Les Gustavo Kuerten that mixes dark kraut noise.

YY: Listening to Throbbing Gristle for the first time a few years ago with Chi and Sebastian revealed a possibility of depth and catharsis that I hadn’t explored yet. I actually was totally shocked when I fell on a blog that had Cosey Fanni Tutti’s tape Time to Tell. Deeply transformative and strong and dark, and seductive. I began to be obsessed by Chris & Cosey and CTI. Those albums, I’ve studied a lot.

ADR: It’s great that people are still listening to those records.

YY: Yes they are essential, they are the basis of today’s experimental music.


ADR: There was a time when I felt like I was the only person I knew who listened to Coil and Swans, but now they’re pretty widely regarded as being big influences for a lot of current bands. It’s something that baffles me on a certain level. How did you guys discover these older experimental electronic artists?

HMM: Before internet, I read a lot of books and I borrowed my music from the library. After, I checked Pitchfork, at the time that was interesting.

ADR: Basically, the same as everyone else then (haha).

HMM: (haha) for 30+ years

ADR: You also play together in A Sacred Cloud and, I think, other projects. Is it a different process to do Hazy Montagne Mystique and YlangYlang?

HMM: Definitely because with our solo projects we are alone to meditate on our music. We have the entire control of the process.

YY: Definitely yes. We both play in different projects with each other and with friends,but for me, YlangYlang is the place I’m the most free and close to my inner sound. Playing with Chi is really comfortable and our jams are like playing Pokemon or something, throwing sounds at each other, layering, elevating. YlangYlang is really introspective and weird and personal, I go places I wouldn’t with others cause I don’t really know where I’m going until the end

ADR: Is A Sacred Cloud generally more improvised jams? Less “composed”?

HMM: A Sacred Cloud is a mystical project confronting your fears and your joys to make sounds.

YY: Never composed (haha)

HMM: It is learning to musically know another person, someone accomplice. A meditative music, transcendent journey through the senses. Escape from his own body, mind and maneuver. Being in a state of purification, forget bored of the modern world for a pacifist levitation. Control his emotions at the expense of its rationality. Be free from acts, thoughts and negativity. The music is not art at all a given, it is enough to understand the meaning.

ADR: There really is a sort of indescribable magic that happens when people come together to make music in that way.

YY: Yes, it brings you places you wouldn’t go necessarily. You just listen to what the others create and try to surf on it.

ADR: You’ve both had releases out on a few different labels over the past year or so. But you also have your own labels Jeunesse Cosmique and Jeunesse Spatiale and others. As artists do you feel its important to have other people put your music out?

HMM: Yes, because we are always passionate when we release an album by others, that’s why we love going out on different label because it feels good that other people like what you do and take care of your release.

YY: Yes it is important, well for me, to have my music released by other persons, other human beings having record labels like us. It is an exchange, a connexion with another person that cares about your music, that understand you and wants to help you. All my experiences on other labels, Lava Church, Ailanthus Recordings, Personal Archives, Inyrdisk, Crash Symbols, Phinery, Illuminated Paths and Arachnidiscs are first learning to know the other person, talking and taking conversation into places to understand the vibe ot this person, why he’s having a label like Chi and I have you know…? Having an interaction not cold and unpersonal but like two human beings. Then, it is a project that I need to realize for this specific label so I get to think about it a lot, and work with that in mind. You feel also more connected to others, you make your music travel. It’s kinda like the karma we create with helping others in Jeunesse Cosmique that comes back to you.

STUDIES IN TRANCE releases on April 15th on Arachnidiscs Recordings.

Interred Views is a series of interviews with Arachnidiscs Recordings artists. This interview was conducted by Jakob Rehlinger.

SEMEN PRIEST: Third Testament



C50 – High-bias tape, toxic green shell. $6.66! (plus regional shipping)


THIRD TESTAMENT is, fittingly, the third album by Canadian post-punk/electronic duo SEMEN PRIEST. Evolving from the “industrial vapor wave” of their debut, the duo’s previous tape, Disco Horribilis, dallied with EBM tones. On their latest outing Epididymis Rex and Zsa Zsa La Borg dilly with a harder-edged sound inspired by classic ’80s and ’90s Wax Trax! records bands.

CALL IT: Post-Punk, Disco, Industrial. Electronic, Vapour Wave
SONIC COUSIN TO: PiL, Revolting Cocks, Underworld, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult

“Toronto’s Semen Priest make some of the best gothic infused disco/post-punk this side of Silent Shout favourite Femminielli. Those of you who follow the blog know that a comparison to the Montreal italo-disco king is one of the highest honours that we can bestow on a band, and ‘Person Suit’ hits all the notes: an epically long song, half-sung spoken-word vocals over funky synths and a bass-line made for a late-night after-party … This album is an excellent foray into a dark underbelly of Canadian electronic music.” ~ Silent Shout

“Spraying us with another blast of sludgy … ‘Wrong Number’ is a crunchy post-punk stomper … “ ~ Quick Before It Melts

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