An oral history of Ejaculation Death Rattle: fake jazz vets awaken from their slumbers
An oral history of Ejaculation Death Rattle: fake jazz vets awaken from their slumbers
by Allan MacInnis on November 8th, 2019 at 11:02 AM[“ratio”:”wide”,”cutline”:”Ejaculation Death Rattle live.”,”credit”:”Rick Gibson.”,”img_standard”:”//d2ciprw05cjhos.cloudfront.net/files/v3/styles/gs_standard/public/images/19/11/img_7391.jpg?itok=j_gzhiFy”,”img_large”:”//d2ciprw05cjhos.cloudfront.net/files/v3/styles/gs_large/public/images/19/11/img_7391.jpg?itok=MEviBaH5″,”usage”:”main”,”type”:”photo”,”ratio”:”wide”,”cutline”:”Ejaculation Death Rattle circa 2008.”,”credit”:null,”img_standard”:”//d2ciprw05cjhos.cloudfront.net/files/v3/styles/gs_standard/public/images/19/11/ejaculation-death-rattle.-520×338.jpg?itok=nEGKEnMa”,”img_large”:”//d2ciprw05cjhos.cloudfront.net/files/v3/styles/gs_large/public/images/19/11/ejaculation-death-rattle.-520×338.jpg?itok=cQ-WKWGm”,”usage”:null,”type”:”photo”,”ratio”:”portrait”,”cutline”:null,”credit”:null,”img_standard”:”//d2ciprw05cjhos.cloudfront.net/files/v3/styles/gs_standard/public/images/19/11/ejaculation.jpg?itok=q66zij6N”,”img_large”:”//d2ciprw05cjhos.cloudfront.net/files/v3/styles/gs_large/public/images/19/11/ejaculation.jpg?itok=4PSqhRyF”,”usage”:null,”type”:”photo”]
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Ejaculation Death Rattle doesn’t carry out fairly often lately.
EDR, as they’re recognized for brief, have been veterans of the unique Fake Jazz Wednesdays scene, when it was held weekly at the Cobalt, below whose zodiac sign the band posed for a photograph for a Wire article which, full disclosure, I wrote. They have been one of the bands from whom Mr. Chi Pig, bussing tables, may very well be seen retreating in mock horror; they’d a singular weirdness to them, delivering improvised noise jams with a perverse, playful inventiveness.
For occasion, wasn’t there a gig the place they’d a man in an executioner’s costume giving massages to viewers members?
“That definitely happened,” Sean Arden, the band’s bassist, remembers, and apparently, footage exist; however I like the thought of imagining this specific night time greater than I must see what it really regarded like.
The band describes itself on its Bandcamp as providing “an unholy poisoning of ambient, free-folk and pseudo psychedelic primitivism amid sweeping tides of noise, drone music worship, spastic panning, bent and decayed notes, and assorted digital debris meant to keep everyone off balance. Deceptively improvised, and/or intentionally contrived? An atypical journey through uplifting murk and lurid bliss.”
Even should you can’t absolutely make sense of it, that’s a fairly correct description, really – since you gained’t absolutely make sense of their music, both. You can get an extra sense of what to anticipate on Ross Birdwise’s Soundcloud, (stick round previous the three minute mark, when the vocals actually kick in; that’s both the place it can get actually fascinating, or completely terrifying, relying in your degree of psychic hardiness). Birdwise does vocal improv and throat singing, utilizing a spread of microphone setups (together with contact mics) which he assembles himself, usually mutating his voice by way of filters and/or the remaining of the band.
There are in all probability not many Soundcloud pages that embody #psychedelic, #throatsinging, #ambient, and (my favorite) #moaning amongst their descriptors.
With a Quiet City gig this Friday, the Georgia Straight caught up with the 4 present members of Ejaculation Death Rattle to carry us up to the mark. Interviewed beneath are Ross Birdwise, Sean Arden, Dan Kibke (on modular synths), and Heather Jean McDermid. Also generally known as Lee Shoal of the Creaking Planks, McDermid is the (kind of) “folky” of the bunch, and will likely be enjoying accordion on Friday, although I imagine I’ve additionally seen her contribute banjo, fiddle, and other devices to the EDR soup which aren’t often related to psychedelic ambient improvised noise, whether or not served with #moaning or with out. She’s additionally the Assistant Curator and Communications Manager for Vancouver New Music.
GS: Can you give us some of EDR’s backstory?
Ross Birdwise: When I lived in Ottawa, again within the early to mid 1990s I went to high school with Heather and additionally a good friend named Alex. Unfortunately Alex handed away final summer, however he and I have been within the authentic incarnation of EDR. It got here out of quite a bit of idle jamming, largely in my mother and father’ basement, only a crude combination if distorted Casio keyboards, presumably an MT-32 and other low-cost tools, home-made crude microphone suggestions, a pair of distortion pedals, an overdriven karaoke machine (with low-cost echo results) and the power to overdub in realtime. We had a couple of quick lived tasks (primarily based mostly round recording reside jams with a bit of overdubbing and some minimal compositional concepts alongside quite a bit of improvising, we hardly ever used any sequencing and struggled with fundamental facets of our gear). EDR was one title we tended to stay to, and we produced a couple of tapes for our personal edification, however by no means launched something, nor performed to an viewers of any form besides presumably a couple of friends who would occur to be round at one of our jams. At the time we have been in all probability influenced by early industrial but in addition later stuff like Skinny Puppy, horror film soundtracks and some 90s noise music; I recall we each preferred Merzbow. Al additionally had a factor for Krautrock and Tangerine Dream and stuff like that, I recall, and I imagine facets of that labored its means into our sound. I do not assume we actually thought (or cared) very exhausting about what style we have been and quite a bit of stuff we did was very intuitive and exploratory and very newbie. Fast ahead to 2006 and I moved to Vancouver, dwelling in the identical constructing as Heather (she discovered me my house) and we quickly began jamming, in all probability forming the second incarnation of EDR in late 2006, alongside Shan Syed (who now lives in Toronto) and Sean Arden, and very quickly after joined by Dan Kibke who I imagine performed with us at our first present which was at the previous previous Red Gate house in early 2007. Christie Watson joined later that 12 months I imagine, a current import additionally from Ottawa, who I had recognized since about 2003.
I see EDR take two as embodying facets of the unique EDR spirit of the ’90s. Noisy, at occasions very sloppy, exploratory, not emphasizing style, at occasions severe, at other occasions tongue-in-cheek or just playful. Prior to EDR, I had been enjoying in a considerably extra “serious” band and I needed to get away from that to a point and additionally to discover improvisation extra and intentionally work with fragments and discards from my solo digital explorations, like a sort of recycling. I used to be additionally getting drained to a point of artists enjoying with darkish and heavy or just earnest tropes (it felt heavy handed and apparent) and in some senses EDR was a pisstake on that, however at occasions I feel we have been legitimately heavy (and I feel I used to be in all probability channeling some shit at occasions as have been other members) and I feel some of our units tended to confuse individuals with their mishmashes and odd sequences of at occasions disparate components (equivalent to minimal techno and dub, people music, butting up towards pedal noise, excessive vocals, drones, et cetera), which was one thing we tended to embrace and often got here up in how we selected to current ourselves visually and in any other case at performances. Once or twice I performed drunk in a pair of neon pink briefs for instance, and there was the mother present [more on which below], as examples of this strategy.
Because have been tended to be sloppy and I used to be decided to embrace this by some means, in lots of second wave EDR pc rhythms there are intentionally awkward moments, trainwrecking, et cetera. It was an try and discover and combine sloppiness and brokenness. To make an (anti) aesthetic characteristic, if you’ll.
Dan Kibke: Initially it was Ross and Heather and perhaps Shan. When I used to be placing collectively the second pancake noise breakfast, Ross and Heather approached me about getting on the invoice with their new mission “Ejaculation Death Rattle” and I mentioned completely, on the premise of the title alone. Shortly after that I bought invited to the Sunday jams at Ross’s house.
GS: Where did the title Ejaculation Death Rattle come from? It’s from Artaud, proper?
Ross Birdwise: I thought of the title. I’ve been into Artaud since I used to be a teen. I just like the depth of the title and I like the way it feels for me at as soon as tongue in cheek and earnest. Its very over the top! I felt in a means it condensed quite a bit of themes in noise music (I feel I needed an final noise title, solely to subvert it) and themes I used to be all for as a teen, intercourse and demise primarily, but in addition, as you would possibly get from the poem posted beneath, anxieties in regards to the physique, identification, autonomy, insanity and society, the sacred and the profane, mystical experiences but in addition horror and insanity, et cetera. It’s from this.
Ejaculation Death Rattle circa 2008.GS: What are your top three EDR gigs?
Heather Jean McDermid: In no specific order for me: Secret Location Spring Equinuts party (I bought kicked within the face by a bandmate who was being dragged round by one foot, which resulted my a microphone dwelling out the remaining of its years with a noticeable dent); the Cobalt present that featured the executioner and a piñata; one at Video In (VIVO) the place all of us dressed as bathroom paper mummies (it’s really fairly tough hold the bathroom paper from falling off, and retain mobility). I can’t keep in mind the precise event for that one.
Ross Birdwise: I additionally assume the Tunnel Canary doc present [“Noise Night” at the Vancity Theatre, in 2011] was a spotlight for certain.
Sean Arden: These have been all epic however there’s one Destroy Vancouver present we performed the place a speaker caught on fireplace from enjoying too loud.
Heather Jean McDermid: I imagine this was throughout Ghost Taco’s set (I feel at Shitstorm Noise Fest, not Destroy Vancouver) the place her vagina noise set rocked so exhausting the speaker did in reality catch fireplace. IT WAS TOTALLY EPIC.
Dan Kibke: Heather has this, it was the Shitstorm Noise Fest the place Ghost Taco set fireplace to a speaker. I’ve the pictures. The first Tunnel Canary reunion present and Shitstorm are one and the identical. It was all half of the identical 12 hour fest that Lashen [AKA Flatgrey] placed on. EDR performed at one thing like 9 p.m. and I performed once more with Scott [aka Fritter] as G42 at Three or 4 a.m.
GS: Heather, you appear to straddle three totally different worlds, from working for Vancouver New Music to enjoying in “the jug band of the damned”, the Creaking Planks, to your jams with EDR. Do you’re feeling extra at residence in anybody of these realms?
Heather Jean McDermid: I don’t really feel any extra “at home” in a single over the others, as a result of what attracts me to them is how every is a product of, and hopefully contributes to, totally different (however usually overlapping) artistic communities within the metropolis, relatively than any aesthetic leanings. So, in the way in which that I work together with every, I feel they’re much extra related than they may appear on the floor. I don’t know if that is smart…
GS: Do you hearken to quite a bit of improvised noise, lately?
Heather Jean McDermid: Not actually, besides should you stretch it into marginally related subgeneres, like some kinds of ambient music. Perhaps a scorching take right here, however I’m not so all for it outdoors of a reside context.
Ross Birdwise: Like Heather, I’m extra into noise music in a reside context with few exceptions. Live noise can nonetheless be an incredible factor for me. [When not at gigs,] I hearken to much less improvised noise now than I did then, however I nonetheless hearken to a good quantity of improvised and semi-improvised music, whether or not its non-idiomatic improv, free jazz and associated sounds, or modern music items that incorporate improvised components in a method or one other. I hearken to a good quantity of composed or sequenced music and in all probability much less digital music (equivalent to techno, glitch, industrial or ambient) than I did as a teen or the 2nd interval of EDR. I suppose that is the 3rd interval. I’ve nonetheless been enjoying improvised noise music, nevertheless it’s very a lot merged with facets of steel, free jazz, lowercase improv, modern classical and a bit of post-rock with Crawling Human and the texture is sort of totally different than older EDR, I feel. My tastes general are nonetheless knowledgeable by my previous however I feel I’ve been on a quieter music kick extra lately with some occasional louder forays into steel, punk, and hardcore. I’m additionally listening to much less pop, equivalent to indie rock (and free people et cetera), than I used to be once I was in second-wave EDR, no concept if thats related or not. I’m nonetheless making digital music (below my very own title primarily; I’ve releases on a couple of labels equivalent to Orange Milk, Hotham Sound, and Never Anything) however Crawling Human has been grow to be extra vocal-centric.
Dan Kibke: I’m listening to quite a bit of improvised and summary music, if something extra so. Borderline scientific recordings. Film tastes affect my aesthetic as effectively with tons of sluggish and observational cinema, like Wang Bing or Kazuhiro Soda.
GS: The Vancouver scene stopped being as enjoyable and not using a common event like Fake Jazz Wednesdays: true or false?
Heather Jean McDermid: Do you imply improv/ noise scene? Did it go away? I don’t know … I don’t assume it actually did. There nonetheless are a quantity of one-off events, venues and collection that (towards rising odds) usually cater to the identical kind of scene as the unique Fake Jazz collection (e.g., Deep Blue, Red Gate, Toast, Sawdust Collector, Quiet City, 8 East, Mixtophonics, and Fake Jazz).
I feel that (the nebulous and fuzzy boundaried) “scene” developed to adapt to venue pressures, organizer burnout/turnover, and shifts within the form of music and communities individuals discover related, and need to hear and be half of. I’d wager that any perceived ‘decline in fun’ is said to cumulative influence of town’s unaffordability relatively than the loss of any specific event or collection. There has positively been an outflow of quite a bit of artistic individuals to locations the place they’ll really make a dwelling making the music they need to make, or they at least have the time and vitality to make it on the facet of no matter day job they work. Which is more and more tough to do in Vancouver.
Dan Kibke: I agree largely with what Heather has mentioned right here. And but regardless of all that there appears to be an amazing quantity occurring. Certainly greater than I’ve vitality or time for.
GS: How did the Wire article influence you? Wasn’t there somebody in California who bought actually excited in regards to the band, for awhile?
Ross Birdwise: I am unable to recall something in regards to the man in California. I feel the Wire article in all probability helped us get extra gigs regionally, that’s for certain, and in all probability bought us a couple of lengthy distance followers.
Sean Arden: I couldn’t imagine it once I noticed us within the Wire.
GS: What other tasks are you concerned with lately?
Dan Kibke: Playing and recording quite a bit within the residence studio, occasional solo performances because the Memory Palace, AV collaborations with Emma Tomic, enjoying with Jaewoo Lee for upcoming recordings and reside performances in an as but unnamed mission.
Heather Jean McDermid: I’ve largely been engaged on artwork movie tasks with my associate, Keith Langergraber. I’ve carried out videography for the previous 5 movies and music for the final two. Sound from the primary one is up right here.
The second one is forthcoming. (Ross did the music for the primary few, and Sean did some of the videography and submit manufacturing for all of them so EDR connections abound!)
Ross Birdwise: Crawling Human, recording as Ross Birdwise, VEE, numerous quick time period collaborations, some A/V, occasional sound design for Keith and other artists.
GS: What does an EDR gig for 2019 imply?
Heather Jean McDermid: Couldn’t say.
Ross Birdwise: I feel we’re all going to search out out quickly sufficient.
Sean Arden: I feel it signifies that it’s nonetheless necessary to us, the collaboration we had and sharing that befell throughout all these weekends jams and Skylight breakfasts. The conceptual exchanges that we translated by way of sound have been significant.
Dan Kibke: I’ve notably loved our current jams [with EDR] and how snug it felt and how simply we fell into issues once more.
GS: When was the final EDR gig? Why the lengthy hiatus?
Heather Jean McDermid: I couldn’t keep in mind precisely, however our web site says November 1, 2013. It was at Red Gate I feel. We nonetheless have a web site as a result of I couldn’t bear to surrender the area title. Everyone bought busy with life and other tasks, so we haven’t performed collectively in a very long time. Ross and I lately performed and accordion/ laptop computer/ voice duo set for the Accordion Revolution book launch party at Co-op Radio and needed to play extra with that mission. So right here we’re.
Dan Kibke: The analogy I wish to make is that EDR is like Cthulhu mendacity asleep and dreaming at the underside of the ocean. Has the present state of the world woke up us? Are disciples calling for our return for the apocalypse? Time will inform.
Quiet City #67 takes place this Friday at the Toast Collective (648 Kingsway), the place EDR will play alongside Faxtar, and a duo set from Sam Shalabi and Elizabeth Millar. More data right here. More
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