Try ANYTHING with ANYONE: A chat with Samuel Goff of RAIC

16/03/2018

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To celebrate our release of double-disc boutique edition of Richmond Avant Improv Collective‘s third and fourth albums, Communion and Il Delirio E La Mortalità Di Amore respectively, I got drummer and co-founder Samuel Goff (bottom-right) to set aside some time for a chat.

Jakob Rehlinger: I need to start with an important, serious question. Scented candles — Overrated or underrated?

Samuel Goff: Haha. I mean it depends on the scent. Like a Yankee Candle Apple Grove might be overrated. A good sandalwood? Underrated. I approve of the product as a whole.

JR: So, you have the new Arachnidiscs edition of RAIC’s third and fourth albums out. So my ears they sound interconnected. Was that in any way intentional?

SG: Well, yes and no. The Il Delirio E La Mortalità Di Amore album was sort of put together as things that didn’t quite fit elsewhere. But a lot of that was recorded around the same time. And of course the actual song “Il Delirio E La Mortalità Di Amore” is included a total of three times over the two discs—live, studio and remix—so that could be some continuity right there. We are always in the process of recording three or four albums at the same time and I have plans outlined for the next four which are in various stages of completion. A good example is the song “Midnight” which we recorded with Brooklyn guitarist Lucas Brode, we recorded two tracks that day, the other one will be included on album number seven called Multiplicity which just got finished last week. I’m currently shopping that one around to labels.

JR: With the opener of Communion being the free-jazz “First Strike”, and the closer of Il Delirio… being the similarly toned “Ouroboros”, titled after the snake that eats its own tail, there’s a nice circular quality to the two albums together.

SG: I never thought about that but you are right. I had an idea to close each album out with one of the members doing a solo track. So Zoe did hers on Communion which was beautiful. But gosh we had to go through s lot of takes for that one. Zoe is obsessed with baroque music and she wanted to do this song from like the 15th century and I’m like, “Well it’s not really improv, but fuck it, let’s go for it.” So me and Richard coached her on and we finally got some good takes and then Richard layered her voices together and it came out beautiful. So to date that is our only “composition.” We are improv like 99.2 percent of the time. So at the end of the second album that was Erik’s solo track, which yeah, now that you say it, sort of is a full circle type of situation. Next time I’m going to say we meant that, haha. Erik is such a gifted performer and improviser. Usually when we play live I focus on him and his energy and sort of play off that.

JR: Speaking of “Plaindre L’ennuy De La Peine Estimee”, Zoe’s baroque track, and say, “First Strike” or a track like “Midnight”, stylistically you’re all over the map.

SG: That’s exactly how this group was intended. I work a job where I work about 55 hours a week and I’m also in Among The Rocks And Roots and I have a fiancée that I devote a lot of time to, so I don’t have time to devote to being in 4-5 different bands. There used to be a joke here in Richmond where you were not taken seriously as a musician unless you were in four bands. But I have always been interested in a very wide assortment of music so this is sort of a way of getting to do that noise track or that baroque track and then we move on. It also gives us the opportunity to work with a myriad of performers who are also busy but don’t necessarily have the time to devote to another band. But they can devote 3-4 practices and maybe a studio date. It’s painless for everyone involved. We are about to get even more varied with there being two black metal tracks on our album Multiplicity where Abdul makes his RAIC drumming debut and I switch to vocals. It’s a weird life… if I ever write a autobiography I want to call it “How I became a black metal vocalist at the age of 42.” Also on our album Gestalt which is about 50 percent complete we are working on a 50’s style country song with me and Laura Marina on vocals and a hip hop noise track with local MC Black Liquid. I just love music and I have been obsessed with just about every genre at one point in my life so why not have a group where you can try ANYTHING with ANYONE.

JR: Since you bring up Richmond, as a long-time fan of Pelt, I’ve had this, probably somewhat unfounded, idea the city is a hotbed of improv music. Is this the case?

samSG: Hmm. Yes and no? There was a vibrant noise scene here that had died down a lot. Also there is the New Loft which blew my mind the first time I saw them. It’s an improv group with mostly veterans of the Richmond music scene, guys that have been hitting it for over 20 years. We have now worked with most of the people of that group most prominently with Tim Harding who in addition to being in the New Loft also is still going strong with his Afropop group Hotel X. He’s also in a great band called Zygmot with sometime RAIC collaborator Vlad Cuijuclu. Also Jimmy Ghaphery and drummer Sam Byrd from The New Loft has played with us as well. To me, when I saw them I thought they were the best improv group I had ever seen not just in Richmond but anywhere. It was an epiphany for sure. Being in this scene for going on 5 years now it seems, just like with anything, it’s cyclical. Sometimes it is vibrant and groups come and go and sometimes it is stagnant. It we will always be here. This is the music I intend to play when I’m 70. I also make it very clear that when you become an official member of RAIC you are not joining s band but a family. And we treat each other as such. Sometimes dysfunctional, but a family nonetheless. We all love each other and respect each other and their abilities so much. I just love being in this group.

JR: Any plans to buy a run-down farm property and make it full-fledged cult?

SG: Ha! I thought it sounded cult like when I said that! Good call!

JR: Cults are much more profitable than ensembles. Just an idea I’m throwing out there.

SG: I mean, yeah, our Bandcamp sales are holding strong at 99 dollars so I’m sure. The cult thing might be something worth looking into. Erik always talked about starting a cult. Was he kidding or…

JR: I imagine RAIC isn’t a touring proposition. But if you were, what would be in the van tape-deck?

SG: John Coltrane. The soundtrack to “Signor Rossi” Swans. Art Ensemble Of Chicago. Eyvind Kang. And whatever black metal Abdul brings along, haha. Oh! And Sun Ra!!!!

JR: If RAIC were hosting a movie night, what would be on the screen?

SG: We just recorded a movie soundtrack! I will say a silent film called The Seashell And The Clergyman, no hesitation. We have scored that live and in the studio now and for whatever reason it really speaks to us. We do that one really well!

JR: Though not exactly different than some of the sounds on these two CDs, I have to ask you about Among The Rocks and Roots and the absolutely punishing noise rock sounds you and Abdul create. Where does that come from?

SG: Years of having a lot of different emotions that we tried to deal with through the use of substances. We are both recovering addicts and, in fact, I met him my fourth day of sobriety. It’s a lot of just raw emotion. Sort of like improv we play off the energy of each other. How we set up live is indicative of that energy harnessing. I set up in the audience but I am facing the stage and him. And we face each other the whole performance. My back is to the crowd and really all I can see in the whole room is him. This is not some “fuck You” to the audience in any way but a way of getting us into the correct mind-frame in order to lock into each other emotions and energy. So because we are so locked into each other we can really let out everything that is going on inside of us. The room melts away and really it is just me and him there. Volume and intensity also play a part. I first stepped onto a stage at the age of 38 so I swore since I had to wait so long I was going to give every thing I had every performance. And Abdul does as well. We had a motto for awhile where we said “We play like our lives depend on it, because it just might.” It translates to a live audience as well, it’s a very intimate display and the audience feels that. Some people love us and some hate us but no one who sees that ever forgets us and I like that.

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JR: That certainly comes through on the record. Though it might sound simple, it’s really tough to pull off.

SG: You mean the philosophy or the actual music?

JR: The actual music. The minimalist heavy noise thing. Like free-jazz, people tend to say “Aw, anyone can do that” but few who try can make it sound convincing.

SG: Oh ! Haha that stuff is not easy to play I promise. There is a good part on the song “Raga” where it’s quiet and I am doing a roll on the toms and if you listen you can hear me wheezing cause I’m out of breath. We recorded those songs live in the studio because I can’t play “cold” in a room by myself. Like I can’t even play that at all without feeding off his energy. These are 20-30 minute long songs where there are few stopping points and yeah the physicality of it is exhausting. Anything I do with RAIC is much easier than ATRR. I can be fat and do okay free jazz but to play ATRR you got to be in shape, haha.

JR: Last question. You mentioned a finance. Wedding dream band — who is it?

SG: RAIC is playing.


RAIC’s two disc compilation of Communion and Il Delirio E La Mortalità Di Amore is out now on Arachnidiscs Recordings.


Richmond Avant Improv Collective – 2CD

13/03/2018

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Double boutique numbered edition of “Communion” & “Il Delirio E La Mortalità Di Amore”. Lino printed outer sleeve, stamped inner envelopes, hand-stamped CD-Rs, full-colour insert/poster. 

ORDER: $11.99 CAD (plus regional shipping)

Two ecstatically mind-bending free-improv face-melters and esoteric soul-healers from RAIC (the Richmond Avant Improv Collective)—which features members of the category-4 noise-rock hurricane, Among the Rocks and Roots—in one 2-disc set.

Communion and Il Delirio E La Mortalità Di Amore are RAIC’s 3rd and 4th albums, respectively. Ranging from traditional free-jazz combo improvisations to distorted noise jams and lush, global drones, the two albums span an impressive breadth of vision as well as offering an eclectic, yet unified, listening experience.

RAIC is the Richmond Avant Improv Collective. Founded in Richmond, VA. in September 2015 the collective has turned into a group featuring founders Samuel Goff and Abdul Hakim-Bilal. The group expanded in late 2016 adding Erik Schroeder and Zoe Olivia Kinney. Laura Marina rounds out the group joining in early 2018. The group has remained active playing shows in the Richmond area and has recorded 4 full length albums with the first “Lovers Never Leave” appearing in March, 2017 on Pennsylvania’s Orb Tapes. “Love Lingers Like Poison In The Veins” followed in November 2017. The group plays multiple genres including avant garde, jazz, noise, post rock, classical, black metal, free jazz, film scores, etc. All of their performances whether live or in the studio are improvisational in nature sometimes structured based on mood or emotion and sometimes not. RAIC has been busy, simultaneously recording 4 albums the first of which “Symbiosis” will be released in April on Chicago’s Lurker Bias label. The other 3 albums “Gestalt”, “Multiplicity” and an unnamed film score album will be finished by summer 2018.

 


ESCHATON: Torus cassette

16/05/2016

Eschaton Torus jcard
C40. High-bias, real time dub. Released May 16, 2016. First edition sold out before release, a second edition with spine colours reversed available. $6 CAD.

Genre/style: Free-jazz, free-improvisational, experimental electronic, harsh noise
Sonic realm: Don Cherry, Pharaoh Sanders backed by Neubauten, early Cluster / Faust,

〈〈〈〈〈〈Order Here〉〉〉〉〉〉

Eschaton is a soulful noise duet comprising Aaron Hutchinson and Connor Bennett. Based in Hamilton, Ontario, their music is driven by spontaneity and a passion for improvisation. Thick textural noise contrasted with vulnerable horn expressions, Eschaton creates narrative soundscapes that breathe, bend, and distort. They have released cassettes and lathes on Hamilton labels HAVNrecords and PERDU. Eschaton is happiest when collaborating with friends. Recorded and mixed by Matt Tavares (or BabdBadNotGood) at STUDIO69 in Toronto, ON


Interred Views: Erm + Nickname

25/09/2015

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Erm & Nickname‘s Woodland Ritual fits into that oddly obscure-yet-pervasive niche of outsider music lodged in between free-jazz, early Faust-ian experimentalism, ambient electronics, primal therapy, and neo-pagan psychedelic rituals. It boasts a rich darkness as well as an ephemeral light, not unlike the campfire in the East Sussex woodlands it was recorded around. I chatted with the duo about their unusual, magical recording experience, which just happens to be the latest release in our Extra Limited Runs series (order it HERE).


Arachnidiscs Recordings: Tell me a bit about Erm & Nickname. Who are you and what’s up with this recording?

Nickname: Erm & Nickname are Andrew Newnham and Nicholas Langley. We met at the age of twelve and almost immediately chose the aliases Erm & Nickname for making radio-style tape recordings and comedy videos. We were both enthusiastic owners of recorder-Walkmans so we eventually accrued hundreds of hours of improvised radio, comedy, songs and general silliness, most of which will never see the light of day.

Fast forward about twenty eight years and the Erm & Nickname personas can become a useful psychological retreat for us. We escaped into the woods of East Sussex for four days armed with only battery-powered gear and the sole intention of making music. Not to record an album or work on a cohesive project, but to immerse ourselves in the therapeutic music process. We recorded rock songs, funk tracks, comedy numbers, but sooner or later the wood spirits always took over. They enveloped us, spoke through us. Our thin electronic sounds became one with the crackle of campfires and the wind through trees. The constant activity of arachnids, birds, insects and worms seemed to transmit both the life voice of creation and the deadly sirens’ call into the ground. The song cycle ends with Hope.

There’s this Buddhist proverb “Living without hope is like burying oneself,” which should be the album’s tagline really. It was truly an unintended deep, personal, musical and lyrical experience for both of us….

ADR: You say the cycle ends with “Hope” but it literally ends with a scream. Is “Hope” to you a primal scream in the wilderness?

Nickname: That’s not really a scream, just a thing we do at the end of recordings to make each other jump. We love to unsettle ourselves.

ADR: It definitely unsettled us every time it came around during the dubbing. EQ’d perfectly to sound exactly like someone standing on the walk outside our front door.

Nickname: A primal scream in the wilderness though? Sure that can symbolise hope. Screams for help, mating calls — making sound always involves some form of hope, I’d not really thought about it, but maybe that’s the main function of making music, to hold onto hope!

Erm: It’s almost that there is hope; getting through tough times and challenges… But around the corner something new rears its ugly head. Just when u think its all “gonna be alright” for a time it is… then the dark comes. It is like a cycle… with hands held; with support of others it is conquered for a time…

ADR: I’ve always wanted to record something in the woods but haven’t organized it. Tell me a bit about how you found it affected the recording experience as opposed to recording in a studio setting or at a jam space or something.

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Erm: Didn’t feel influenced by life surroundings. We were shut off with no other human contact. Within the three days all life distractions faded. The only thing left was our subconscious. Working in solitude with limited equipment and resources allowed a more relaxed and spiritual result. Those limitations allowed us to let go of ourselves…within time our woodland surroundings, crackling fire, played it’s important part. We allowed the woods and our emotions to take over.

Nickname: Definately. It was good to be away from a computer. Limitations are really positive for songwriting. The play-to-work ratio improves.

ADR: I’m a big proponent of imposing limitations to spark creativity. So what is your usual musical modus then? When you say “good to be away from a computer” is it all Ableton Live and VSTs?

Nickname: Ha, God no, sometimes I think I should try that as I’ve only done three or four tracks that way. I used to just use internal ‘sequencers’ on synths and hardware, and quantised everything. No computers at all. Then I got bored with electronic music and stopped for five years. Since then I started using a computer to record mostly live stuff, as well as sound processing, mixing and mastering.  But for this project we were using just a portable recorder, which is how Erm and I always used to record actually.

ADR: When you pitched the album to me, I noted what I sort of thought was a Coil “unplugged” vibe. When I was listening to it over and over and over doing the dubbing, I began to notice perhaps more of a Nurse With Wound feel, perhaps specifically the vocals from their collaboration with Stereolab, actually. You said the Coil comparison was interesting because Erm doesn’t know them, though you of course are a fan, as are most people you make music with. Over on your side of the pond is there a large groups of people who are into the whole Coil / Throbbing Gristle /NWW / Current 93 scene?

Nickname: I really don’t know. Whenever I’ve met someone that I wanted to do music with, it’s turned out they’ve been really into Coil. That’s happened with at least three of my longest-running and significant collaborations anyway. Now it’s happened in a different way, it’s the first time someone made the comparison I think. Other than my own particular kind of music-people though, nobody I meet seems to know who they are. I’m not that familiar with Nurse With Wound but I love what I’ve heard. They seem to be interested in some similar areas to The Vitamin B12. And I do music with somebody who’s friends with members of NWW too so I should pay more attention really. I know I don’t like Current 93. I guess there are thousands of very keen fanatics rather than millions of fans. Coil were just so inspirational. I think that anyone who hears them is compelled to create with sound. It’s the overwhelming freedom of possibility in their music. They were very generous and kind with their time — with their fans — too. I know this for a fact.

ADR: NWW have a pretty vast catalogue that can be hard to delve into. Results may vary. I definitely am not a fan of Current 93 either. They sound like Jack Black doing a goth parody to me, though clearly many would disagree. But I was asking about Coil precisely because of how you put it: “Other than my own particular kind of music-people though, nobody I meet seems to know who they are”. I’m fascinated by that odd mixture of their being a seemingly pervasive, universal influence for experimental musicians of, shall we say, a certain age, yet remaining almost entirely underground even with—or almost in spite of—all the Trent Reznor connections.

My question here is, with your own particular kind of music-people, do you think its hearing music like Coil’s that compels them to create sound or that a band like Coil appeals to a certain kind of music-person? Who’s the chicken, who’s the egg?

Nickname: I’m pretty sure they were all doing music before hearing Coil, but it’s very encouraging to hear music that is outside of genres that can also be very moving and intimate. Not sure if young people are interested in Coil at the moment, but they will be at some point I think, it’s quite prophetic, or futuristic, in some respects. Technological folk music, which is where the music-making process is headed I think. So, not so much chicken and egg as chickens watching one of their own fly over the fence.

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ADR: I hope you’re right about their music enduring—it does have a timeless quality to it. Though I wonder without anyone in that camp still alive if anyone’s in charge of their catalogue. I’d almost expect there were clauses in their wills to burn all the master tapes [*during the course of conducting this interview we excitedly learned their lost mid-90’s album Backwards is being released by former—and still living—member Danny Hyde].

Anyway, you mentioned The Vitamin B12, which is another of many projects you’re involved with. Are these all different “nicknames” for you or are these actual bands?

Nickname: Not me. The Vitamin B12 is an umbrella term for a wide range of artistic projects that nearly always include Alasdair Willis. Mostly, it’s a free-improv group. I’ve done 14 complete albums with them but that’s basically piss in the ocean of a really huge body of work. Hz is just me. Babylon was also Erm & Nickname.

ADR: You mentioned Buddhism earlier. Is Buddhism something that informs your creative process?

Nickname: I don’t think so.

ADR: In that case, what does inform your creative process?

Nickname: For this project it’s very loose. It’s playing in the sense of children playing rather than instrumental playing. You could say the process is informed by our long history, reverting back to being kids. We also do a lot of jokey stuff which is the other side of this.

Erm: Working with Nickname for over two decades makes improvising more possible. We seem to know how each other are going to play. I find that starting songs by improvising can allow my inner self to come out. I’m quite spiritual; so allowing my inner self to flow into music seems to work.

Nickname: Spiritual yes, but you might also say witchy or seer-like. I think you described the lyrics as almost channeling at one point. It certainly felt like we acknowledged some ‘demons’ out in the woods. I think your stream of consciousness took a life of its own?

Erm: You’re right there! It certainly was music therapy in the woods…. [laughs] Well, maybe just for me. Maybe I/we needed to face the demons in order to move on? Whatever it was… it was a great escape, a good time out; and its inspired me to do more!

Woodland Ritual released on September 25th. You can order it HERE.


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


Colin Fisher & Mike Gennaro: Sine Qua Non

18/09/2014

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C50. high-bias tape. Custom envelope and 1″ button. Limited to 50 copies. ($7 plus regional shipping)


⇒CLICK HERE TO ORDER⇐


Released: 07 October 2014.
Free jazz sax/drums duo beating out five face-melting, brain-blowing freak jams.

Colin Fisher – alto saxophone
Mike Gennaro – drums

Recorded live in Toronto, March-May 2014

CALL IT: Free-jazz, post-bop, avant-garde, experimental, improvisation, fiery freak-outs, transcendental tripping.
SONIC COUSIN TO: Rashied Ali, Sam Rivers, Ornette Coleman, Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Rollins, Albert Ayler,  you know… that kinda thing.


UVESEN: III

26/08/2014

Uvesen III cassette

C44 high-bias tape. Encased in plaster bandages. Pull black tab slowly and hear. $7 (plus regional shipping)


⇒CLICK HERE TO ORDER⇐


Uvesen is a Norwegian duo of percussionist Børre Myklebust and the highly prolific Andreas Brandal who has been releasing challenging and transcendental music since 1994, racking up hundreds of releases over several projects. With Uvesen the two embark upon free-improv psych experimentation of the highest order. Deep majick drones and wild aural landscapes. Abstract, percussive textures and bowed strings mingle with wild freak-folk dances and expansive electric guitar.

This music is such a beast we had to encase it in plaster for your safety.

CALL IT: Drone, improvisation, psychedelic, no-wave, avant-garde, noise-ambient, free-jazz, freak-folk
SONIC COUSIN TO: Pelt, Coltranes Robbie and John, Don Cherry’s Pan-African and Cosmic eras, Ensemble Pearl [or other SunnO))) ambient side-projects], Fred Frith, Sir Richard Bishop, Flowers/Corsano, a general VHF records vibe. God literally whispering in your ear (but maybe not whispering nice things).


Totenbaum Träger / Projet Muet cassette

17/06/2014

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TOTENBAUM TRÄGER / PROJET MUET // C60 // $7 (plus shipping)
High bias tape, transparent red shells, fold-out poster and stamped edition cards featuring art by Lenny P. Robert, packaged in a translucent red envelope. With download. Edition of 50.

Click to purchase at our Bandcamp page with immediate download.

Last year’s Neurinomes CD by Mad/Mod was probably the release we were most proud of. So much so that, even though we’ve ended our split tape series, we didn’t hesitate to jump at the chance to release a tape split between two of Dominic Marion’s (“Mod”) other equally accomplished projects. Not so much a split tape, as a split artistic personality that combines into a unified statement.

With Totenbaum Träger he explores sometimes blissful, sometimes harsh guitar drones and noir-ambient spaces. A post-rock soundtrack for a lost David Lynch film.

The chamber trio Projet Muet travel similar roads to both Totenbaum Träger and Mad/Mod, but to different destinations and by different modes of transportation. Projet Muet rides waves of minimalist harmony on a raft woven from free-jazz and experimental no-wave. Churning, industrial thrum mix with meditative drones and zentropic bells.

FILE UNDER: post-rock, free-jazz, ambient, drone, chamber ensemble.
SIMILAR ARTISTS: Mad/Mod, Don Cherry, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Angelo Badalamenti, Ennio Morricone, Morton Feldman, Do Make Say Think, Tortoise, Silver Mt. Zion.

Listen and purchase at the Bancamp link below.

 


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