NICK DIDKOVSKY ON METAL
Vomit Fist in all their glory
Interview by J. Vognsen
For more than three decades, guitarist and composer Nick Didkovsky has built a unique body of work from his hometown of New York. While spanning many styles and expressions, a recurring theme in his music is the meeting of high complexity with no-nonsense hard-hitting energy. He also frequently explores both contemporary composition and improvisation in parallel.
Initially a student of Christian Wolff, Pauline Oliveros and Gerald Shapiro, Didkovsky went on to be a member of the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet and collaborate with Hugh Hopper, Craig Shepard, Fukkeduk, Guigou Chenevier, John Zorn, Kevin Norton, Robert Musso, Weasel Walter, John Roulat, Han-earl Park and many others. His music has been performed by Bang On A Can, Meridian Arts Ensemble, California EAR Unit and ARTE Quartet. Didkovsky also teaches computer music composition at New York University, and is also the primary developer of the computer music language JMSL and is director of bioinformatics for the GENSAT Project at The Rockefeller University. Recently, Didkovsky played on Alice Cooper's 2017 album Paranormal.
Since 1983 Didkovsky has led Doctor Nerve, a large-scale group whose output manages to explore huge parts of his creative universe, often in a single piece of music. The bands Häßliche Luftmasken, founded in 2011, and Vomit Fist, founded in 2013, focus deeper on heavy metal in its many forms.
I reached out to Nick Didkovsky to discuss in more detail his long-standing interest in metal. He answered questions via email September 2017 - February 2019.
For more on Nick Didkovsky, go to http://www.didkovsky.com.
PSF: I'd like to begin with your personal background. When did you get interested in metal and what first attracted you to the genre?
ND: That's a great question because like many people of my generation, I remember a time when there was no metal. I have a vivid childhood memory of my first encounter with heavy music. I was probably 11 or 12 years old, and I bought Three Dog Night's It Ain't Easy LP in a department store, flipped it on my parents' Magnavox stereo (massive tube amp disguised as sensible furniture, built in the late ‘50's powering two 15" speakers and tweeters in these wooden cabs each half the size of a refrigerator). Anyway, I cranked it and had a visceral reaction to that riff that starts "Woman" (their cover of the Free tune). That was a clearly defining moment for me as a child, when my kid brain and kid body and kid nervous system identified what "heavy" was, and that I discovered that I loved whatever this repetitive distorted overtone-rich musical thing was. I also remember first hearing the Aqualung riff during a little classroom party at school (the kind with cupcakes and soda)- one of the cool kids who always got into trouble brought that record to school and got permission to put it on the teacher's dopey little portable record player. The riff took over the room even on that little toy turntable. It was like that scene in Masque of the Red Death when the plague victim shows up and ruins the party... everyone stopped talking, the music was so angry and aggressive... my heart leaped and my brain registered it as "this is dangerous music." Probably the most significant period for me and metal was a summer that was defined by Sabbath's Master of Reality. It was a new release, and a friend introduced it to me. He and I were so into that record, we listened to it constantly. I remember we extrapolated from it and we wrote our own "heavy" tune and recorded it on a little reel-to-reel, just electric guitar and voice. Wish I could remember what that riff sounded like... must have been awful, but we were very earnest about it. We had written lyrics about a sort of hell on earth scenario where the damned were exiled to an island. Exile begins with a terrifying parachute drop from a prison plane, so the tune began with "Out, now!" "Nooooo"
. A little embarrassing, but we were 13 years old and we were inspired. This might illustrate something about the lineage of metal that Sabbath pioneered, in that we as kids were as much captured by the riffs as we were by the grave themes. We had received the message loud and clear: heavy music with heavy themes was potent magic.
PSF: Many metal groups begin at their most extreme and then eventually mellow out. It's interesting to me that you seem to have moved in quite the opposite direction. Listening to your music from Doctor Nerve's 1984 debut onwards, I hear things getting heavier and heavier and now you're in Vomit Fist, a band that self-describes as "blackened grindcore." Any ideas why your musical tastes have developed in this particular way?
ND: I've always been attracted to heavy and aggressive music, and I agree Doctor Nerve has gotten heavier with each album, probably culminating with the SKIN record. There was always a healthy tension between wanting to crank up Nerve to heavy rock levels versus securing a functional sonic environment for all the musicians in the band. Some of that tension was resolved with technology, like clip-on mics for the horns or the KAT mallet controller which replaced acoustic vibraphone with sampled vibes, and some of it was addressed through the writing, by using more transparent orchestration for example. But that tension is always going to be there when you mix loud electric instruments with acoustic instruments in aggressive music.
Vomit Fist and Häßliche Luftmasken are bands comprised entirely of electric guitars and drums. The instrumentation tolerates a heavier, more extreme approach and that in turn is expressed in the writing. This trend toward the heavier end of the spectrum is probably a function of my desire to push in that direction all along, and that push was gradually enabled over time by advances in technology and new instrumentation.
It occurs to me that Doctor Nerve represented among other things, a liberation from the notion that I needed a singer to front a rock band. Instead, the horns became the voice. That was enormously freeing for me because back then, heavy bands typically had virtuosic singers, and I had no interest in going down that road. My approach to writing for Häßliche Luftmasken took a step further away from the singer paradigm by blurring the use of melody, so I don't miss not having instruments that specifically function melodically. And while a few of our tunes have vocals, they are delivered similarly to the few vocal tunes in Doctor Nerve and all of the tunes in Vomit Fist, i.e. with a rhythmic, shouted, or gutteral use of the voice. So it's possible that my tendency to compose heavier music over time has really been fueled by rethinking and reimagining new ways to get away from the virtuosic lead singer paradigm.
PSF: There are things that seem to thrive in metal that are sometimes looked down upon in other creative music making. I'm eager to hear your thoughts on some of them. The first of those is technique. Extreme complexity and virtuosic skill is not often praised enough appropriately in jazz or rock - at least not jazz or rock that I like - but it is front and center of much metal, with even very well-known acts like Meshuggah doing mind-boggling work. It's hardly only at the fringe.
ND: While blistering technique and complexity are certainly not a requirement in metal (consider the Black Sabbath riffs that brought us metal in the first place; those riffs are all about perfectly balanced, heartfelt visceral power), metal does provide an outpost where virtuosity and complexity is still revered, and, in some subgenres, is central. I think metal is in a unique position in that it brings tremendous visceral energy to the table, confronting the "all brain no body" argument that is sometimes leveled against complex technical music. I do think that all genres that embrace extreme virtuosity (contemporary classical, prog rock, jazz, fusion, etc.) share the risk of putting technique in the spotlight and bearing the criticism that a bigger musical picture has been missed. The challenge is to have the work as a whole be strong enough to carry the weight of the technique. So if, for example, you are lucky enough to witness David Starobin performing "Changes" by Elliot Carter (leading with a non-metal example and one of my strongest musical memories), or Ruth Underwood performing Zappa's music, or Elliot Hoffman navigating the complex rhythms of Car Bomb, or guitarist Josh Elmore of Cattle Decapitation, or bassist Mike Flores from Origin... your jaw may be on the floor, but your heart and spirit are flying above you because the music taken as a whole is so inspirational. Dagon reflects in an interview that Inquisition fans tell him that some of their favorite tunes are the slow, ecstatic ones... so in my view the most successful music in any genre is the music that reaches inside you and commits to its realization using whatever techniques are demanded by the music, and that may include extreme technique, although it's not a requirement. People are probably more likely to be critical of music where technique is perceived as being the driving reason for the work, but even that may not be a fair framework for criticism.
PSF: How do you view the role of technique in your own music and metal more broadly? Is it a distraction, a creative challenge or not really of much importance in and of itself?
ND: I've always liked challenging myself as a composer and as a guitarist, but pursuing normative notions of extreme technique has not been an area where I've put much effort, and it doesn't drive what I do. I do tend to pursue musical directions that break patterns and surprise me. Some of that might require a lot of technical practice, but it's not driven by it. I remember trying to learn the licks in the Doctor Nerve tune "Nerveware No 8," a piece I'd composed some years ago with automated software. That software is technique agnostic: it doesn't care how easy or hard something is for a human to perform. It generates surprising, odd, idiosyncratic music material that sort of breaks up mental adhesion tissue. I recall trying and discarding numerous approaches to fingering those passages... and actually laughing out loud with childish joy when I figured out a way to make the notes work on guitar, sort of having this out-of-body experience, watching my fingers navigate through the licks, and thinking to myself, "oh man, this is so f'ed up!" The passage might have been hard to play, impossible to play, or easy to play; the software doesn't care, but I happened to end up with a technical challenge there. Sometimes, the challenge is less physical than it is an internal struggle, like the Häßliche Luftmasken tunes "Mouthpiece," "Killing At A Distance" and "Horrorfish Kills With Fear." While those tunes might put a strain on my guitar technique, the toughest thing about them is that they live in an odd space between repetition and variation where passages differ by just a little bit, and playing those pieces from memory to invoke the improvisational context which gave birth to them in the first place is pretty challenging.
PSF: The next topic I had in mind is the tendency of genre policing. One rarely hear musicians in other genres - again, at least musicians I like - sing the praise of strict fidelity to genre borders, but in metal, one can hear bands boast of sticking true to a style for decades. Fans often agree and a band can lose half its audience switching from, say, death metal to speed metal. This has sometimes earned the metal genre and its audience a reputation for being highly conservative, so the negative sides are pretty obvious. On the other hand, it looks to me like it can also bring a bit of artistic focus, perhaps a bit of healthy competition as well. How do you relate to the genres and sub-genres in metal? Do you agree that genres are often emphasized in metal, and if you do, do you see any value in that?
ND: I haven't encountered too much of this in metal, to be honest, but there's no denying there is some of this in metal, as there is in other musical communities. Historically, the most spectacular genre attacks I recall fall outside of metal: the Newport Folk Festival audience jeering Dylan's electric set for blaspheming folk music, and Pat Metheny publicly hating on Kenny G for blaspheming jazz.
The metal shows I go to are often wildly heterogeneous and that is generally touted as a plus. I've never really had or overheard a discussion at a show where a band was held up or put down for genre purity (other than someone shouting, "Now that's some old school shit!" as a compliment). The focus is usually on the music taken on its own terms, as opposed to how closely they fit into a genre. I am not even sure what genre to call some of the metal bands I like best, since they've carved out distinctive styles that supersede taxonomy.
I do recall an aspiring-to-be-mainstream metal band blathering onstage about "death to fake metal," but I can't remember who that was. I also recall a rather confused and tepid audience reaction to it... like, "Uh, yeah ok; death to that stuff... who are you talking about again?"
Genre is best used as a loose introductory touchstone; something that starts a conversation and then is quickly discarded as the conversation fills in concrete details. I may tell someone who's never heard of Artificial Brain or Pyrrhon that they are "death metal," just to kick off the discussion, but that's not going to carry the conversation far enough forward. I'd almost immediately start describing aspects of the music itself, anecdotes about performance style, composition style, a story about a show I've seen, or a guitar or drum video they've released, etc... I try to personalize the description and do justice to the work for what it is.
It's depressing but we need only look at the low bar of brainless xenophobic attitudes surrounding immigration to be reminded that there's no shortage of the human impulse to aggregate groups into "good tribes" and "those other bad ones..." so I am sympathetic to this question! What you say about some bands changing styles and losing fans is interesting, and I'd like to think a fan jumping ship has more to with the content and details of the music than the fact that the band switched genres. Some bands like Kayo Dot are known for radical stylistic changes from record to record, and fans come to expect and value that. It would be interesting to talk to a band with clearly distinct eras, like Darkthrone for example, and get their take on how their fan base responded and changed over the course of their stylistic changes.
PSF: Metal is often associated with pretty specific styles of clothes and hair, both for audience and performers. As with the first two points, this is hardly unique to metal, but it does sometimes result in the accusation that metal is not serious musically speaking, since it focuses so much on non-musical things. What do you make of this? And more specifically, when performing with Vomit Fist, you all put on corpse paint. What is the point of that? Does it add something to the music, or is it a separate thing?
ND: Working your question backwards, in Vomit Fist, we don't call it corpse paint. It's probably best described as a family tradition, sort of tribal war paint. Leo had been painting my face as a Hallowe'en tradition, so when we formed Vomit Fist, we thought it was a pretty natural thing for us to do. There is something transformative about it that's hard to describe. I recall one night, Vomit Fist hadn't done a show in a while and when I looked in the mirror after applying my makeup, I experienced a strong moment where I recognized the reflection almost like it was someone else who had returned to my life. There's a transformative power there that is certainly non-musical but has a direct impact on the fuel and spirit of the musical performance.
I believe it is easy and quite natural for people to be able separate staging from musical value, so using the look of a band as a basis for musical criticism doesn't really hold up in my view. We wouldn't take seriously the assertion that Italian opera relies on elaborate staging, costumes, and grand production to cover for insubstantial music. Even someone who doesn't like opera as a matter of taste must accept that the music has substance. I think the problem arises when people don't understand the music or feel excluded from a musical culture, and then transform that psychological distance into a sort of defensive/offensive critical hostility (making fun of the fat lady in the Viking costume singing high notes with exaggerated vibrato for example, is a comedic cultural meme). From a prejudiced position of hostility, everything becomes fair game for criticism it seems. Consider Newsweek's review of the Beatles in 1964, which leads with a jab at their looks: "Visually they are a nightmare, tight, dandified Edwardian-Beatnik suits and great pudding bowls of hair. Musically they are a near disaster, guitars and drums slamming out a merciless beat that does away with secondary rhythms, harmony and melody." These comments are so devoid of substance, it seems the reviewer decided ahead of time that this music was not going to be taken seriously, so it reads more like a culture war.
To me, it's all about creating something coherent and strong, and the most successful staging matches the musical content and feels almost inseparable from it. In rock and roll, I think Arthur Brown and Alice Cooper were ground breaking in this way because the music was extremely rich on its own, and further, it invoked an internal world in the mind of the listener, and then finally the staging just lifted it all higher. I do remember an irritating Pioneer advertisement back in the ‘70's that got under my skin, which praised the Allman Brothers and slammed the Coopers for needing "sequins and serpents and put-on showmanship" because they weren't true musicians. It was this fake trumped up division that really pissed me off because while I was a deep Cooper fan, I also had tremendous respect for the Allman Brothers. Both bands produced significant and important music, but Pioneer's marketing department thought it would help sell stereos if they could pit consumers against the other. Anyway... contemporary metal bands that I think do an astounding job fusing theatre with their music include Behemoth and Meshuggah. They really go above and beyond in pushing the integration of music, theatre, and stagecraft forward.
PSF: During the The Dither Extravaganza 2013, you performed both a set with Vomit Fist and with members of Dither playing material from the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet. Looking at pictures of the event, you kept the Vomit Fist make-up on with Dither. What's it like playing Fred Frith in what you call "tribal war paint"?
ND: Ha ha, that's a great question. That was the first time we ever performed with face paint. Now we take the makeup off as soon as we get off stage so we don't recontextualize it. I was concentrating on the Dither performance and sort of forgot I was wearing it. It reminded me of a costume party where everyone is very conscious of what they are wearing at the beginning but as time goes by, you sort of forget and catch yourself having an earnest conversation with the Pope and a werewolf.
PSF: Perhaps directly contradicting my earlier comments about genre policing and conservatism in metal, some of the most interesting music to me over the last decade or two has come from the intersection of metal and the avant garde. A few prominent but quite different examples of this could be Sunn O))), Cleric, Ex Eye and Bobby Previte's recent "Mass." Since you've long been active in both metal and more experimental and contemporary circles, I'm wondering if you've noticed the same opening up and what you think of it?
ND: Well, I think much extreme metal is part of the avant-garde and what you are noticing is that people are crossing permeable community boundaries (Cleric's connection to John Zorn for example). I believe there is an eagerness among people who are attracted to non-normative music to explore and absorb things that are wildly different. A primary idea behind experimentation is not knowing outcomes, so someone with a commitment to experimental music has a lot of freedom to move.
While it's true that it's possible to fill your musical life with exploration without studying the work of others (in some cases deliberately so, consider John Cage's assertion for example, "I don't listen to records" (Telegraph), musical culture is driven forward with tremendous force as extreme experimental music makers become aware of each other. Crossing is a very powerful evolutionary driver, more so than mutation (Holland), so I believe the exposure to other influences and ideas is a critical component of keeping the edge of the avant-garde sharp. I was thrilled to learn from some extreme metal musicians that they knew about Doctor Nerve, for example (in fact, I recently invited a couple of them to record alternate guitar solos for the next Nerve record!), and I think that supports the idea that non-normative artists delight in transcending landscapes. As an aside, I'd love it if the entire Rock In Opposition movement became a political, cultural, and economic chromosome that showed up in other extreme styles of music, if not as a phenotype then as a sort of inspirational touchstone, as the movement says as much about music as it does about society.
PSF: Then, what composer / ensemble / musician from the non-metal part of the avant garde would you most like to hear do a full heavy metal album?
ND: I'd love to hear Michael Pisaro take on this idea, affording him all the freedoms of interpreting the task however he wants.
PSF: Earlier, you commented that heavy music with heavy themes is "potent magic." I'd like to look a bit closer at those themes. Many lyrics and much artwork in metal deal with the lurid and putrid and as much as I do like that, it's also interesting to me - and probably overlooked in general - that there actually is a very broad outlook in the genre, including influences from sci-fi, surrealism, philosophy and much else. How do you feel about the thematic and stylistic universe that metal inhabits? Are there themes in particular that attract you? Any that don't?
ND:Well I think there's something to be said for metaphorically "clearing the room" with extreme imagery. I am reminded of the opening scene in one of my favorite Herzog movies Fata Morgana where the camera shows plane after plane landing. In an interview (sorry I can't find a reference; it might be in the "director's comments" option on the DVD), Herzog muses that this opening scene got rid of anyone in the audience that wasn't going to be on board with this film. Quite funny that I just looked up Vincent Canby's review of this film from Oct 8, 1971 and yes, he describes the opening as "One, two, three planes land. By the time the sixth or seventh lands--the limits of boredom being what they are--we secretly hope that one will crash."... and proceeds to pan the film mercilessly. He should have left.
I am pretty open to any and all themes in metal and other musical genres and artforms. I notice that I tend to soften over time on art in general that I might initially find repulsive, shocking, or painful. With time my mind continuously works on the material in the background and digests it on its own schedule, and I become more open to it. Film provides a couple of good examples. I saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre when I was a lot younger than I should have seen it, and it really tore into me. It was a very disturbing experience and it haunted me for quite a while. Years later I checked it out again and found it astounding how great (and tolerable) that film is... I really love it now and proudly wear a Texas Chainsaw t-shirt that my son got me for my birthday. Another example is the film The Vanishing (original 1988 version)... I still shake myself out of sleep sometimes thinking about it, and for a little while there almost resented a film that put such an image so vividly into my mind, where it continues to live rent-free. While I don't think I'll ever be particularly stoked to see the film again, I notice that time has changed my position from trying to chase away the image to accepting it as a passenger that sits in my mind and will demand attention periodically.
Now I wonder what the difference is between the two film experiences and how it relates to the opening scene in Fata Morgana, and I think it has to do with how the notion of trust plays into it. The end of The Vanishing was a shock and I felt it as a transgression, while from the opening scene in Texas Chainsaw, you know what you're getting into. Contrast Brakhage's "The Act Of Seeing With One's Own Eyes" which doesn't prepare the audience for what they are about to see versus Cattle Decapitation's "Forced Gender Reassignment" which is up front about the mutilation in the video.
So I think what I am addressing is not so much the content of extreme themes as much as the relationship between creator and audience. I am more troubled by content where I feel there's an element of sadism directed against the audience by the artist, and less so by even very extreme content where I feel there's an agreement between artist and audience.
PSF: You have a series of instruction videos on YouTube analyzing Black Sabbath and have also been involved in concerts performing complete Sabbath albums. Similarly, one of your own recent projects has been performing Alice Cooper's Pretties for You in its entirety. What did you learn or take away from going through those classics so carefully?
ND: Notwithstanding my high school cover band, for most of my life I was pretty uninterested in studying other guitarists' styles or covering other people's music. Not a deliberate decision to spurn anything or anyone, but just a lack of interest or maybe lack of performance opportunity, I'm not sure. Something changed for me when I got a 1967 Gibson SG Special back in 2008 (the recession made it affordable). There was something about tapping into a vintage instrument that was contemporaneous with the music that is historically at my core. It sparked an exploration that was pretty ravenous. Playing that guitar was the first thing I'd do every morning and the last thing I'd do every night... pretty obsessive, honestly. Tony Iommi's SG Special was built in 1965, just two years before mine, and he invented heavy metal with that guitar. In fact, my best friend Tom and I visited Iommi's SG at the Hard Rock Café right around this time (it's on display at the Times Square location), and that was like a pilgrimage that reflected the whirlwind of interest that we'd mutually stoked in each other: of diving into history, learning what we could about the origin of these instruments, the customizations, the amps, the treble boosters, etc that crafted the sound of this vintage era of heavy music.
More as a lark, I decided to sort of inaugurate my '67 SG by learning one of Tony Iommi's solos note for note, and making a YouTube video of it. I was prepared for public indifference or worse, but uploaded it anyway, and included a carefully written-out tablature. It really took off, which surprised me. It's up to 600,000 views today. One fellow even commissioned me to create a lesson for one of Iommi's more extensive solos (intro to "Die Young"). So this YouTube guitar lesson thing really developed a lot of momentum; I did a bunch of Sabbath solos, and a Zappa solo at one point as well. The range and extent of YouTube as a medium was a crazy thing to wrap my head around... I had people recognize me at Sabbath shows and introduce themselves. People would mention it in unlikely places: a Vomit Fist basement show, a guest lecture at UC Santa Cruz, on the sidewalk in NYC... YouTube is a very different distribution model than what I've been accustomed to, and experiencing the magnitude and extent of it was pretty stunning.
For the Alice Cooper Pretties For You project, I followed a model that I learned from Jesse Krakow. Jesse organized some pretty amazing evenings of music, like the music of Captain Beefheart one time, or the Shaggs another time... he'd tap into this extraordinary pool of musicians and put together a musical hoard that would devour even the most challenging and extreme material. What really struck me about Jesse's successes was the revelation that there were a lot of freelance musicians who were open and eager to doing one-time shows of pretty obscure music, and had the skills to learn ‘weird' stuff in extraordinary detail. That paved the way for me to even dare dream about performing the entire Pretties For You record live... I always wanted to hear that material live, loud, and clear (the record is notoriously lo-fi) and I figured at this point the only way to experience it would be to do it myself. So we did!
Transcribing another player's performance highlighted some unconscious habits of my own. For example, the reflex to culminate a string bend with vibrato. That's something you hear 999 times out of 1000, and that's not a criticism... In fact, a player's vibrato can be part of a signature style (witness Ace Frehley's wide slower vibrato technique). But when I transcribed Zappa's solo in "Cosmik Debris," I was struck how non-reflexive his use of vibrato was. Sometimes, he lets a note hang frozen and then add just a little hint of vibrato at the end, or just bend it up slightly or just leave it stuck there with no vibrato at all. It is all used to create extraordinary tension and momentum; keeps you on the edge of your seat. From transcribing Glen Buxton's guitar work, I discovered a lot of efficient ideas. He wasn't a shredder in the athletic sense of the word, but he created some extraordinarily unique and tricky-to-decipher guitar licks using simpler techniques that lead to inventive results. A good example is his solo in "Sing Low Sweet Cheerio," which uses wide intervals and pull-offs with open strings to craft wonderfully unusual phrases. I sometimes caught myself going through complex gymnastics to replicate some of his riffs, but then I'd sit back, take a breath, and remind myself this isn't Alan Holdsworth... There's got to be some insight about the guitar that Glen was sharing with me that I was overlooking, and then indeed I'd find a simpler way to do it, one that fell easily under my fingers. Those were very touching ‘aha' moments, because for a brief moment, you can feel the guitar exactly the way he felt it. Transcribing Iommi, I was repeatedly struck by how riff after riff was comprised of such simple elements but were shifted in time and spliced in extraordinarily insightful ways. Every solo is a lesson in what you can get out of an electric guitar, keeping all the solos singable, like compositions-within-a-composition. I think you can draw a clear line from Iommi's solos to my solo in the Häßliche Luftmasken tune "Darger Rising.
Transcribing another player's guitar work certainly expands your chops but I think there is even more value in seeing it as a window directly into someone else's mind. It's a non-verbal blueprint of how a player solves a creative problem, that says so much more about his or her creative humanity than the licks do.
PSF: I'd like to end by asking you if you could share a few recommendations. What excites you most in metal these days? Any current bands, albums or live shows that have impressed you?
ND: One of the best shows I ever saw just happened a few days ago at Kingsland in Brooklyn! Pyrrhon, Cleric, and Dysrhythmia. Just incredible. One of those shows where all night there's a voice in my head telling myself, "Up your game!" Every moment of music defying expectations and going to an unanticipated creative place. Mind blowing. That's what gets me most excited: music that defies expectations and demonstrates intense focus and sincere creative invention.
Some of my favorite records are:
Car Bomb 'w^w^^w^w'
Dysrhythmia Psychic Maps
Artificial Brain Labyrinth Constellation
Virus The Black Flux
Baring Teeth Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins
Thantifaxath Sacred White Noise
Gorguts Obscura and Colored Sands
Pig Destroyer Phantom Limb
Demilich Nespithe (you can get their entire catalog for free on their website!)
Decapitated Carnival Is Forever and Nihility
Ulcerate Everything Is Fire
Inquisition Nefarious Dismal Orations and Obscure Verses For The Multiverse
Horna Ääni Yössä
Lazarus A.D. The Onslaught
Goatwhore Blood for the Master
Michael White, The music that's all around us (The Telegraph, 2006-01-06), https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/3609656/The-music-thats-all-around-us.html
John H. Holland, Genetic Algorithms (Scientific American Vol. 267, No. 1, Jul 1992, pp. 66-73), https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/24939139.pdf
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