The Brvtalist is pleased to present the music video premiere of "Massgraver" by Xultur. Over the last couple of years, the Los Angeles-based duo has pulverized listeners into submission with their warped vision of hardcore, gabber, acid and more. The video for "Massgraver" is directed by Chad Fjerstad and features MJ Brotherton.
By Josh Beck
I’ve never been to the suburbs of Ontario in 1993, but if one listens closely to these rare recordings, they might be transported to that time & place - through the minds & sonic noise-scapes of Rich Oddie, Christina Sealey, and Aron West. Thank you first and foremost to ORPHX for this vulnerable glimpse unto their minds, their expression, and for taking the listener on such a savage journey. Additionally, shout out to Mannequin Records / Hospital Productions for making these recordings available to a larger audience.
I wasn’t completely sold until track seven, “Excruciate.” It’s relentless chugging and hammering still fresh and unforgettable. Slight whispers marred the background. From the distance I make out some sort of bass line - but who the fuck knows really. Three minutes in and I am attacked by a fully distorted wall - as if Phil Spector grew up in East Berlin & decided to start banging pipes on cement. Highlight the two minute, forty four second mark.
The wave subsides as the mood changes drastically into “Monophilia.” The piece begins gently, almost luring the listener in - but do not be fooled. It’s disjointed punches and kicks are glued together by a haunting melody, almost frightening. Meanwhile, somewhere in New Jersey Lenny Kravitz is recording “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” Odd.
“Veil of Dream” could easily be playing in the waiting room before entering David Lynch’s black lodge, or perhaps the score to a strange wormhole, portal to a different dimension or multiverse. Throughout most of this recording I feel as though I have taken drugs, though I’m not quite sure which one(s).
The general lack of a consistent BPM is one of the things that impresses me the most about this archive, the percussion flows in and out like a tide beating on cold, jagged rock. What’s even more startling is hearing this recording much later and in the scope of history, comparing it to the music of it’s time. ORPHX was so non-linear, so far beyond any of the song writing of their era that it’s not hard to imagine this recording emerging today - where experimental electronics and noise have become a part of our vocabulary. The archive is nothing short of a dystopian masterpiece. Put on a decent pair of headphones, dim the lights and let this chilling “Landscape of Wounds” take over - highly recommended.
Available now on Mannequin Records.
The Brvtalist is pleased to present the Spring/Summer 2017 collection from Latvian designer Keta Gutmane. One of our favorite artists practicing in fashion, Gutmane follows up on last year's stunning Spring/Summer collection (featured here) with new forms, shapes and concepts. For S/S 2017, Gutmane explores the depths of individualism, creating garments that are both bold and polite, but also kick against the establishment.
*Photography by Martins Cirulis
We are continuously impressed with the evolution of Gutmane's brand as it manages to evoke a rebellious spirit within the confines of classic and sometimes even traditional garments. This season's cropped bombers and oversized coats maintain a very poetic splendor while still managing to exude a punk aesthetic.
Also nicely mixed in to the collection are slashed skirts and re-defined dresses that showcase Gutman's unique form of contemporary elegance.
Overall, another standout collection from the Latvian designer that demands to be both seen and experienced. For more information, please visit Keta Gutmane.
Photography: Martins Cirulis
Creative consult: #marlosaalmink
Garments: all Keta Gutmane SS17
Shoes: all The Last Conspiracy
Model: Daniela Sokolova, Starsystem Latvia
MUA: Aija Udentina
The Brvtalist is proud to present a new mix from Grebenstein. In just a short time, the Kassel, Germany-based solo artist has produced some of the most exciting material in the realms of techno, industrial, ambient and more. With standout releases on Downwards and a new EP coming out this month on Horo, we caught up with the artist to learn about the history of the project and what to expect with the new album and upcoming release show (Feb. 18) at Ohm. Please find our Q&A below.
The Brvtalist: I would love to hear about the inception of Grebenstein. After playing guitar and drums in various bands, you released your first solo EP under the Grebenstein moniker in 2014. What is your relationship with electronic music and was a project like this always something you envisioned?
Grebenstein: My relationship with electronic music is quite young. When I moved to Kassel in 2010 I started recording music on my own. At this time my music still sounded like the music we were making in my last band. As I started art school my sound became more electronic, but at this time all I knew about electronic music was stuff like Ricardo Villalobos, Len Faki etc. In 2012 I played my first live shows under the moniker Grebenstein. I still used my guitar while playing live but apart from that I felt no connection between my roots as a drummer in a post-punk band and this electronic world I had just discovered. I became a bit frustrated. I had no clue how to combine both worlds properly. Then in 2013 I spent some days in Berlin and I discovered the first OAKE EP at Hardwax… that was the turning point - from there on I discovered all the Downwards releases… Blackest Ever Black etc.. and all the stuff i had listened to at this stage had a lasting impact on me. I felt more secure to experiment from there on.
TB: Gloss is a new EP out later this month on Horo. With previous releases on Downwards, talk about your approach to this record and has anything changed with the new material?
GR: I recorded my first EP on Downwards after struggling with an anxiety disorder. The sound of the record was caused by the feelings I had back in those days… It was all about the tension within myself. Working on the record was reflective and curing at the same time. When I worked on the Gloss EP everything had already massively changed. My mind had changed a lot. I’m more calm and focused, I take more time to work on my music. I wait for the point where everything feels "perfect“ and I have to say I’m much more interested in the technical process of creating and recording new sounds nowadays.
TB: The EP launch sees you playing live on February 18th at Ohm Berlin. How has your live set evolved over the last few years and what can we expect at the show?
GR: At the moment I’m super happy with my live shows and my setup. In the past I used to have a guitar with me, a vermona drum machine, a Korg ms-20 and a NI Machine. It was too much to handle as a single person. Every show I played was an experiment and I felt bad for the people who came to see me play because I wasn’t able to recreate the tracks they knew from my records and I thought that was what they are coming for. So over the last 2 years I reduced my live-setup drastically and now I’m able to recreate the tracks from the records while still keeping a good amount of improvisation.
TB: Tell us a little bit about the mix you made for The Brvtalist.
GR: If you’d invite me to play a DJ-set at your next pajama-party - that’s what might happen.
TB: What's coming up next for you?
GR: I’m working on a new project called "Gruppe Formal“. It’s a kind of an open collective where I’m inviting people to make and discuss music with me. At the moment the plan is to do this in the form of short residencies. Working one week together and at the end of the week doing a public event, presenting what happened in form of talks, live-shows or exhibitions. One live-show by "Gruppe Formal“ will happen on April 2nd at OHM Berlin.
The Brvtalist would like to thank Grebenstein for this great contribution to our mix series and taking the time to speak with us. Be sure to pick up Gloss and if you're in Berlin don't miss that show.
One release we've been waiting for to start the year is the new EP from Berlin-based, Russian artist Alexey Volkov. Cold Blooded Genius is the second installment on LINDA RECORDS and this young imprint continues to impress with its great selection of artists and thoughtful presentation. The latest vinyl offering is a beautiful translucent red 10'' with an lust-worthy accompanying poster by photographer Jan Zimmerman. The music doesn't disappoint either, with three tracks of raw, rhythmic electronics that shatters the boundaries between techno, industrial, EBM and more.
The record starts perfectly with the title track on Side A building you up with its heart pounding percussion and filthy, mechanical grind. Side B begins with the tension filled, warehouse destroyer "Unfriendly Nation" and "Curtains of Flesh" closes out the release with a massive introduction that bleeds into an infectious techno assault. To help launch the release, The Brvtalist is pleased to premiere the video for the title track, "Cold Blooded Genius".
Many are still nursing their New Year's hangover but the fashion world wastes no time getting back into the swing of things. London Fashion Week continues to be an impressive stop on the fashion calendar and this year the men's shows proved why. From previously being overshadowed by Milan and New York, London has emerged as perhaps a more interesting hotbed than both of those cities with a focus on homegrown designers and talent from Asia. The A/W 2017 shows just wrapped and we present some of our favorite looks.
Since launching his namesake label in 2012, London-born designer Craig Green has become a welcome fixture on the the city's fashion week event. Blending elements of utility, uniform and occult, Green's unique vision is exemplified through monochromatic looks that are seemingly ready for the end of days, or just a stroll through Leytonstone.
It always seems too obvious including KTZ in our roundup but at the same time, how can you not? Since 2003, few labels have had the success of mixing street culture with high fashion and Marjan Pejoski's creations continue to thrive. This year was no different as we saw contemporary urban edge meet multi-ethnic heritage. The huge seams kind of look like baseballs and exaggerated layers give many of the clothes an armor-like feel. The greyish green hue also looks great with black details. See more here.
Based in Seoul and Paris, Songzio is a contemporary menswear brand founded back in 1993. Since then, the label has earned international acclaim for its razor sharp black suits and global influences. This season, we were instantly attracted to the sophisticated pitch black wool and fur but also to the seemingly Southern American inspired ensembles. Maybe it's the string bowties with short, raised collars but the looks are deep south meets Paris streets.
Westwood needs no introduction and the 75-year old designer is still a headliner in her hometown. Closing out fashion week, Westwood introduced both men's and women's looks that are eclectic, ethnic and infuse a healthy dose of fairtytale. The deconstructed patchwork outfits mingled nicely with the middle east inspired women's wear all while maintaining her signature rebellious aesthetic.
MAN is the joint initiative between Topman and Fashion East (the non-profit organisation established by Lulu Kennedy MBE and the Old Truman Brewery in 2000). MAN spearheaded London Fashion Week’s menswear schedule in 2005 and proudly champions emerging menswear talent. Notable alumni of the program include JW Anderson and Christopher Shannon. This year, the panel selected Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY, Feng Chen Wang and Per Götessen. The offerings ranged from slouchy, oversized outerwear to fantastical historical looks. This is always a show to watch because you're sure to see some of these names again. Read and see more here.
The Brvtalist is pleased to premiere a new video work from Chicago's Hvnter Gvtherer. Titled Disarmament, the piece represents months of apprenticeship, innovation and full immersion into the brand's unique world of metalworking and fashion design. Drawing inspiration from sources such as Hvnter Gvtherer's Bronze Age collection and the current political climate, multi-media artist Mikayla Brown created Disarmament during her internship with the brand and the result is a striking social commentary which emphasizes the connection between the human body and the elements that surround us.
We are at a crossroads between:
Male and Female
Ancient and Modern
Past and Present
Our shields are metal, leather and skin.
These coverings are made from material that protects and conducts, reflects and responds. Metal is a conduit that passes energy between us. Leather too, our second skin, is death given new life. The items we wore as armor yesterday are dis-armor today, banding us together, creating a channel for the fluidity of our identity.
Something can be anything. Someone can be anyone. There is no correct gender, race, creed or god. The only truth is us.
The People and The Process -
“Disarmament” was created by multi-media artist Mikayla Brown during her internship with Hvnter Gvtherer, via the Careers and Professional Experience program (CPAX) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During the semester, Mikayla met with head designer and owner Laura Prieto-Velasco in her Chicago studio. There she learned and practiced basic metalworking techniques within an atelier/private studio setting.
With Mikayla’s interest in contemporary storytelling and her interdisciplinary background, it only seemed natural for her to create a visual archive of the current Hvnter Gvtherer collection using photography and video. From November to early December, Mikayla took over the Hvnter Gvtherer Instagram —sharing her experiences working in the studio for the independent Chicago-based label.
Over the course of three months, she developed a unique connection between intuitive media and material knowledge, forging a dialogue between wrought and digitized, past and future, hand and eye.
For her final project Mikayla proposed to do a video featuring performance and video artist Hazkel Brown and interdisciplinary artist Ona Sain set to the music of Christopher Dorian, sharing her perspective of Hvnter Gvtherer’s conceptual mission. As a result, Mikayla envisioned and delivered this striking film, closing out 2016 for Hvnter Gvtherer.
The Brvtalist is pleased to present a full video stream of the Julius x Downwards S/S 2017 Paris fashion show. A collaboration for the ages, the show sees the conceptual Japanese fashion line infused with the legendary techno label's sound and imagery. With live performances from Kerridge and Autumns, industrial soundscapes fill the venue while the new collection marches down the runway. Aptly titled Knives, the line captures a decaying urban feel while paying homage to the imprint's groundbreaking artists.
For over two decades, the label run by Karl O'Connor (aka Regis) has pioneered an industrial techno sound that has influenced countless other artists and genres. Meanwhile, Julius, a label designed by Tatsuro Horikawa, is inspired by art, architecture, noise and more to create avant garde looks that always begin with a black palette. We immediately fell for the collection's British Murder Boys (Regis + Surgeon) sweatshirt and the off-white asymmetrical outerwear.
For The Brvtalist, a collaboration like this is nothing short of amazing as two of our favorite brands have combined forces for a performance that will no doubt be remembered for years to come. Please visit Julius and Downwards for more.
The Brvtal List continues with Los Angeles-based writer and artist Lawrence Pearce.
Yin and Yang Gift Ideas
Books, music, and movies are always my favorite types of holiday gifts. They’re tiny little contained worlds which you can visit and revisit over and over again. Here are some ideas for gifts this holiday season accompanied by their compliment/counterpoint: yin and yang. All items are available on DVD/Blu-ray, digitally, and in print.
Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie and Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson
Yin: Ralph McQuarrie’s designs for the original Star Wars Trilogy are the visual spirit of a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie is a lavish, massive, two volume collection of his entire Star Wars oeuvre from art book masters Abrams. I had copies McQuarrie’s stuff all over my wall when I was a kid right next to my Skinny Puppy and NIN posters. This book is an awesome collection of film history’s greatest concept art that will help you remember how visionary Star Wars is in case you’ve forgotten, and contains paintings and drawings that haven’t been seen before.
Yang: Controversial academic Camille Paglia’s Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson explores the work of Donatello, Shakespeare, Goethe, Emily Bronte, and Oscar Wilde (among others) using the Dionysian/Apollonian dichotomy borrowed from Nietzsche to dissect the work of Western Art and literature’s most revered figures. It’s as fascinating, annoying at times, eye-opening, smart, and as undeniable as its author.
Dhalgren and And Chaos Died
Yin: Samuel Delany’s Dhalgren is as postmodern and brain-melting as they come, polarizing readers since its publication is 1975 (Delany is one of new wave science fiction’s very brightest and most challenging stars.) Confusing, frustrating, life changing, and gender bending to the extreme, Dhalgren is mostly exiled to the dusty piles of the “sci-fi section” of used bookstores these days, but it is so much more than that.
Yang: Joanna Russ, (a close friend of Delany’s and another brilliant new wave SF figure) is science fiction’s grande dame of feminist meta-fiction using the modes of fantasy and SF to examine the form itself and the cultural forces which bring it about. And Chaos Died is a psychedelic dystopian masterpiece and one of my favorite books.
The Right Stuff and Event Horizon
Yin: Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff is funny, ironic, satirical, inspiring, and haunting all at the same time. Some great old school optical FX, a heroic score by the legendary Bill Conti, great performances, stunning cinematography by Caleb Deschanel, and a really strange, playful story structure make The Right Stuff one of the best American films of the 1980s—separate yet equal to Tom Wolfe’s acclaimed novel. It also reminds you that Dennis Quaid starred in so many forgotten, underrated masterpieces of the 80s.
Yang: Visually incredible with a cool sort of premise, Event Horizon is awesome with some of the most imaginative space imagery of the post-digital age (Event Horizon features real models composited onto film digitally) and some of the raddest gross out scenes of any era. Described upon its release as “Hellraiser in space”, Event Horizon for me is more like 2010: The Year We Make Contact meets Poltergeist. I fucking love this movie.
Autechre elseq 1-5 and Survive RR7349
Yin: At over 4 hours long with 5 album length passages, the only thing wrong with Autechre’s latest release, elseq, is that it doesn't seem long enough somehow. I could listen to this stuff all day, everyday, and I often do! Autechre are always at the very top of their game, each new release more masterful, more challenging, always blurring the lines between timeless electronic sound designs of yet discovered civilizations and badass musicality and arranging. No other major electronic artist seems nearly as contemporary or as a thousand generations ahead of anything else out there as Autechre. Autechre’s elseq isn't just otherworldly, obtuse daydream music… It’s therapy for your brain that’s hovering somewhere in a frozen aquarium beneath the surface of the moon.
Yang: Like Autechre, Austin’s Survive are at the very top of their game, but in a truly yang-ish fashion from Autechre, neutralizing and moving far ahead of all previously encountered synthwave cliches. Survive’s aesthetic is more 70s to me in a way than “80s”, evoking stoner flights through galactic wallpaper and purple lava lamps than any 80s soundtrack I’ve ever heard (and I’ve heard them all, believe me.) Yet it’s all remarkably, paradoxically, refreshingly contemporary. RR7349 much like “THX 1138” suggests the bar code on the back of a confused, rebellious clone’s shaved head or the number on some obscure synthesizer invented by the Soviets in the 70s. I enjoyed it more than their Stranger Things soundtrack, which is also excellent and, like RR7349, a lot less “retro” than everyone wants to think.
Yojimbo and Point Break
Yin: It’s a tough call, but Yojimbo might be my favorite Kurosawa film. It’s basically a Japanese gangster movie with swords. Unlike the stoic heroism and sacrifice of Kurosawa’s other samurai classics, Yojimbo has a cynical swagger, the type of which Tarantino’s later revenge epics try to emulate. The story is based on noir guru Dashiell Hammett’s The Glass Key and Red Harvest, but it becomes its own thing inspiring and influencing everyone from Sergio Leone, John Milius, David Lynch (Lynch stole the image of the severed hand in the dog’s mouth in Wild At Heart from Yojimbo), and The Coen Brothers whose film Miller’s Crossing (also highly recommended) is also based on Hammett’s The Glass Key. Awesome, timeless filmmaking. I’m a sucker for samurais and ronins.
Yang: Point Break is a modern day Kurosawa with surfboards, machine guns, bank robbers, pop zen new age glibber-glabber, and, much like Top Gun and Road House, not so veiled male homoerotism (I mean, come on… Keanu’s female love interest is androgynous and boyish, and Keanu’s scenes with Swayze are more romantic than the love stuff with the woman.) Containing some of the craziest action scenes every filmed, a surprisingly original story, timeless dialog, Keanu’s best ever performance, and a solid, crowd pleasing, yet sort of tragic climax, it’s the best film Katherine “I usually have no clue how to end my movies” Bigelow will ever make. Great soundtrack by Mark Isham too. And Keanu’s character has the best movie name of all time: “Johnny Utah.”
Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters and I Shot Andy Warhol
Yin: Mishima is Paul Schrader’s complex biopic about the complicated Japanese gay writer/filmmaker/fighter pilot/military officer/media personality/quasi-fascist Yukio Mishima. Featuring a typically exquisite music score by Philip Glass filled with prerequisite existential dread and revelation, Mishima is unlike any biopic you’ll ever see. A monument of great filmmaking on every conceivable level, and featuring one of the most complex story structures ever set to film, it will leave you changed forever. I cant praise or recommend this film enough.
Yang: Andy Warhol liked to collect weirdos, but not really out of any solidarity with them as outsiders, but more for hipster cred and a source to exploit for his own projects. Mary Herron’s excellent film about feminist hero and icon Valerie Salanas is also about the equally complicated Andy Warhol and his darker side of dumping people in his circle when they no longer suited his ambitions. I Shot Andy Warhol humanizes both of them without ever judging them as people nor their dubious acts brought about by their different/not so different obsessive geniuses. One of the film’s very last shots of Salanas in an institution being hosed down in a shower is one of the most heartbreaking things you’ll ever see. And while other period films like Oliver Stone’s The Doors come off as corny, the recreations of Andy Warhol’s Factory in Herron’s film capture fairly accurately all the emptiness, shallowness, douchebaggery, and brilliance of that brief atmosphere of partying and high-minded exhibitionism.
Fanny and Alexander and A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Yin: Bergman’s sprawling, mostly autobiographical epic about childhood (his own) isn’t so much watched as experienced. It just sort of unfolds and you’re carried away and hypnotized even during the film’s darkest moments. Bergman is the opposite of his more joyous and sentimental Italian contemporary Federico Fellini whose childhood remembrances embrace the fantastic and imagination, often bordering on the outright schmaltzy at times. Not Bergman. Though there’s all sorts of wonder, romanticism, and acts sacrifice in Fanny and Alexander, there’s a dark cloud over everything that never seems mopey or overly sentimental. Plus Bergman loves ghosts. Bergman’s ghosts are metaphors for the things that will never leave you no matter how much you try to move on, and Fanny and Alexander is Bergman’s greatest ghost story.
Yang: I prefer A.I. (which started out as a Stanley Kubrick project) to Kubrick’s half-assed final film Eyes Wide Shut. Spielberg’s polarizing toy come-to-life adventure is his Fanny and Alexander. All of Spielberg’s previous issues and fears of maternal abandonment are on full display in A.I., a film that despite its glaring flaws is somehow unforgettable, and features the eeriest, creepiest final 20 minutes (a final 20 minutes that will forever be debated by lovers and haters) I’ve ever seen in a science fiction film. It’s like Solaris level creepy. And don’t let the sugary coating and piss drippy piano music of the film’s false lullaby final moments fool you. The ending’s as dark as they come. A.I. is an end of the world fantasy that’d make Bergman stand up and applaud.
- Lawrence Pearce
It's that time of year again - cold temperatures, depression, anxiety and most importantly, gift giving! With the holidays fast approaching we are pleased to present THE BRVTAL LIST Holiday Gift Guide 2016. Last year's LIST saw some great contributors from all over the world and this year we invited a few of our closest friends and favorite artists from here in Los Angeles to give us some of their holiday gift ideas. Without further ado...
Fragrance. Byredo is my go to fragrance house. Their scents are unisex so their fragrances or candles will make great gifts for anyone. https://byredo.com/
Fleet Ilya Leather Goods. Beautifully crafted leather accessories handmade in London and one of all time favorite fashion brands. If you are new to Fleet Ilya, something small, like a choker or belt is a great first addition. http://www.fleetilya.com/
Art books. You can never go wrong art or photography books as a gift. You can find some rare and hard to find items from instagram accounts such as "Idea books" or on amazon's bookstore. For a more in store experience the folks at These Days LA and Mount Analog in L.A. have a very well curated section of books that are updated regularly. http://www.ideanow.online/home
August Uncommon Tea. I'm usually a coffee person but once a friend had me try a cup of August Uncommon Tea, I was hooked. You can tell a lot of hard work goes into creating the different blends and I found I get a similar "alert" feeling similar to drinking a good cup of coffee. I recommend the Silenco to start with. https://august.la/
Wallpaper Housewares. There are so many beautiful and unique pieces from Store Wallpaper LA that I've had my eye on for a while but their sculptural cocktail glass collection would make a great gift on any occasion. http://store.wallpaper.com/
Erik Adrian. Erik Adrian is a designer and another LA based brand I don't have enough good things to speak about. His designs are functional and unique and the bags themselves are handmade from durable and high quality leather. His structured duffle bag is on my wishlist. Highly recommend checking out his pieces. https://erikadrianstudio.com/
Fine Lingerie. Gift certificate to Panty Raid. http://pantyraidshop.com
Classic Steel Flipper Knife. For all occasions. http://www.knifeart.com/
Sensory Deprivation Tank. Gift an hour to relieve stress. www.justfloat.com
Handcuffs Ring. http://www.titanium-buzz.com/
Shikama Ring. You can't go wrong with a NOH ring. http://www.sarahshikama.com/shop/noh-ring-2
Thanks to Corinne and Aly for these great selections. Tune in tomorrow for more!