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.
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!
For over a decade, Raíz has been one of the most important projects in West Coast techno. Spreading their unique sound throughout the world on labels like Historia y Violencia, Electric Deluxe, Construct Reform and more recently on their own imprint, VRV. Their Droid Behavior collective is responsible for some of the best events and has become renown for cultivating a stable of talent that has influenced dance music from L.A. to Amsterdam. For the seventh release on VRV, the duo enlisted some of the best local talent to leave their own impressions on Raíz material. The result is a warehouse crushing 12" that offers a vast array of underground sounds.
"Cored 3" finds us caught deep inside an industrial echo chamber with Silent Servant's unique take on EBM-infused techno and heart racing rhythms. Truncate and Drumcell's lauded Cell Injection project takes on "Cored 2" and the result is a futuristic take on pads and dark, dystopian soundscapes. Rounding out the release is Subversive's remix of "Cored 4" which finds rich, soothing melodies and metallic percussion which quickly infects your veins.
As always, all releases include artwork by Raiz / VRV family member and collage artist Vanessa Vargas who's visual interpretations capture the sentiments of the music chosen for this label. VRV continues to do an excellent job elevating the Los Angeles techno sound and we look forward to more releases from the label. If you're in the City of Angels this coming weekend, be sure to check out Raíz open for one of our favorite artists, Rrose at Blk Stk Srs on Saturday, December 10th. VRV 007 is available now on 12" and digital formats.
Between the holidays and the state of the world, it's pure madness right now. To help cope, The Brvtalist is proud to feature a new mix from Los Angeles-based artist Friend X. Bouncy Castle Mix is a rave approved selection of hardcore, gabber, trap and original edits for 30 minutes of pure bliss. The mix comes in support of the event of the same name, presented by Blk Rainbow and happening tomorrow, November 26th at The Lash.
This will be the first of a monthly event series aimed at capturing the nostalgia and purity of the old LA rave scene while updating it for the future. It will also be the first local party to feature virtual reality (by Jonathan Sims) as well as a photo booth and a whole host of great DJs. Get ready with the mix now:
For more information, visit the event page and we will see you at The Lash tomorrow.
Our favorite pair of artists masquerading as designers make their Los Angeles debut TONIGHT, November 17th, at the incredible JF Chen Gallery. We've tracked the designers output for the better part of two years and around this time last year we spoke with Christian Lopez Swafford and Lauren Larson about their philosophy, approach and the future of the brand. They also contributed a memorable New Brvtalism mix that fit the tone of their studio sounds at the time. Over the past year, the two have launched the Material Lust Annex, a conceptual design space in New York, and have branched out into furniture like sofas and chairs. We thought it would be a great time to catch up with Swafford and Larsen ahead of their L.A. show and find out what we can expect and what's coming next.
The Brvtalist: We last spoke a year ago and at that time you were still in the process of setting up the Annex so let's pick up there. Talk about the new space and reflect a little on the last year.
Material Lust (Christian): We opened the space in May and just wrapped up the first room installation. Designing and executing the first room really opened up our eyes to what our process will evolve towards in the future. I think we described our selves as artists designing furniture in the past but now we are more environmental artists. A "Total work of Art" is what we are striving for and the Annex is quickly become a space we have grown comfortable experimenting with. So far we have done a full furniture collection, lighting collection, upholstery, textiles, a custom scent and a video installation with music scored by Xavier Swafford from 3TEETH. It's been a pretty busy year.
TB: I've been loving the "Peak" collection. The Twin Peaks Lips sofa and chair are departures from earlier work. They are more surreal and even fantastical. Talk about what inspired this and how did you like working with upholstery?
ML: When designing any soft upholstered pieces like a sofa or club chair it is important to pay attention to the curvature and proportions of the body. We then took that a step further and created curvatures that are heavily inspired from body parts and how they lay. Its funny that you mention the Surreal because we had been looking at surrealist paintings for inspiration for the collection. The goal was to introduce some unexpected shapes while still using classical design elements and construction.
TB: November 17th will see the Los Angeles debut of Material Lust at JF Chen Gallery. How did this show come about and what can we expect from the L.A. premiere?
ML: Bianca Chen is a taste maker in the world of Interiors. Along with her father, they curate one of the greatest collections of antique and vintage furniture in the world at JF Chen. They want to make serious push into the contemporary market by carrying young designers, and to us it is a privilege to be among them. We will be installing some vignettes that feature our work along side curated antique items to show people how to use our work in their own homes. We knew from early on that we wanted to be shown at JF Chen so this opportunity is a dream come true.
TB: Now that we are wrapping up 2016, what's ahead for 2017?
ML: We have a new collection coming that will be heavily inspired by Surrealist and Renaissance paintings. It will feature some cast metal and more carved wood. We want to celebrate the craft that goes into making the work so there will be elements of seeing the actual hand of the person that is working the piece. We also have some paintings that we have been quietly working on. Next year will be busier than this year.
Thank you once again to Christian and Lauren for taking the time out to speak with us. We could not be more thrilled to welcome Material Lust to L.A. and be sure to RSVP (firstname.lastname@example.org) for tonight! For more information, visit Material Lust.