Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Harrius' 'Proud Flesh' NOW AVAILABLE from Ehse Records

Harrius' 'Proud Flesh' Soundtrack now available in LP format from Ehse Records.

"Some amazing tweaking of the idea of the Western film and, by extension, America itself." -- Arthur Magazine

Jenny Graf Sheppard and Chiara Giovando release the soundtrack for their experimental Western featuring a 70-year old female gunslinger seeking redemption.

"...discrete passages that vary between ominous guitar drone, suggesting rumbling thunder, drizzled with piano melody; solemn monastic chant; cryptic tape manipulation; and H0 scale clatter. This is just in the record's first 10 minutes." -- City Paper

Retrospective of Works by John Berndt at Emily Harvey Foundation, Soho NYC

Ecstatic Thought Experiments, 1989 – 2009
A Retrospective of Auditory, Visual, Tactile and Language Works by John Berndt

Wednesday April 15th – Thursday April 30th
Open Tuesday – Saturday, 2PM – 6PM

Opening reception and free concert: Friday April 17th, 7PM-10PM
Performance Nights: Friday April 24th and Saturday April 25th, 7PM-9PM
($6 admission for each night)

Emily Harvey Foundation (Gallery)
537 Broadway at Spring Street - 2nd floor
New York, NY 10012

The Emily Harvey Foundation presents the first major retrospective of works by John Berndt (b. 1967). Best known as a prolific musician, composer, and improviser as well as a key organizer in the scene surrounding the international High Zero festival, from the very beginning Berndt’s work also has involved the creation of coherent novelties in a broader range of media, including personal behavior, film, visual art, text, installation and a variety of non-musical performance genres. This panoramic sensibility is the subject of the show.

As a teenager in the mid-80s, Berndt became the youngest member of the international Neoist movement, contributing as a core member to the development of its philosophy adopting falsehoods, mythologies, mind games, and hoaxes. In the early 90’s, Berndt became a student of Henry Flynt, the visionary philosopher and original author of “Concept Art”. This relationship, which has recently deepened into collaboration, had a huge effect on the clarification of Berndt’s thought, and led to an increased emphasis on writing sincere philosophy, and framing his varied activities as manifestations of a unified, radical sensibility of consciousness. At the same time, Berndt became a student of world-renowned avant-garde saxophonist Jack Wright and of experimental instrument inventor Neil Feather. Through these relationships, he dramatically broadened his approach, developing extended technical ability on a variety of instruments, and developing novel approaches to sound production becoming an advocate of non-idiomatic, freely improvised music and performing in hundreds of freely improvised concerts and on many recordings, including collaborations with leading figures.

In Ecstatic Thought Experiments, 1989 – 2009, the Emily Harvey Foundation brings together the dimensions of Berndt’s work over a twenty year period, ranging from micro- to macro- experiences. A large installation submerges visitors in a uniquely disorienting visual space. A small book, made especially for the exhibit, contains descriptions of impossible objects. Novel optical illusions give the visitor new experiences. A dance solo continues fluidly forever without repeating. Original instruments expose new aesthetics and performance possibilities. Theoretical texts frame lived experience in ways that are destabilizing to faith in conventional knowledge.

The exhibit is also enriched by three nights of concerts, covering a broad range of Berndt’s solo and collaborative projects, starting with an opening concert on Friday April 17th, and continuing with two nights on April 24th and 25th.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Blast from the Past: Review of Harrius' 'Enter the Cotton Ring' (2007) from KFJC FM

Harrius - “Enter The Cotton Ring ” - [Ehse]

Jenny Graf Sheppard (Metalux) and Chiara Giovando are the mistressminds behind Harrius. This is a bizarre dream of a record, indeed “Ringer’s Glove” sort of reminded me of the sleep sequences from the outstanding film, “The Manuscript Found At Saragoss.” Something about the succubus sounds and the tick-tock plunking percussion re-conjured up images of drinking from a skull. Indeed the music here is allegedly from an unsound soundtrack to a “psychedelic Western recently shot in the Badlands” (and that’s straight out of the horse’s web site). The title track is a sort of ladies lost in the canyon free-fall-folk ditty. “The Wedding Ring” has many bands, chopped and wobbly bands of sound. “L’OK” feels like a small slice of Fursaxa heaven. “Ebolatime” has a low rumble guitar and more voice-acting song could be a cross between Obuh records and Mauve Sideshow… but really this is willfully weirdly its own brand of wonder! “Proud Flesh” works a deep subconscious rupture…like a blood vessel mic’d up to volcano level? Lastly “Uppera” is another oddly divine number, like angels pacing back and forth in some scrambled universe. And then a very faint looked groove at the end! This is a fantastic twisted, yet intricately so, release! Do not miss!

- Thurston Hunger

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Harrius' 'Proud Flesh' Movie Trailer

It is 1886 in South Dakota, and Harrius, a 70-year old wounded wanderer, seeks redemption. Through her encounters with a parched landscape and beings both physical and metaphysical (including a virtual labyrinth of mounds, geisha dancers and her pious lace-maker double, Alma), Proud Flesh is no mere re-visioning of the American Western. It is a meditation on the iconography and gestures contained within the genre itself. -- Jenny Graf Sheppard / IMDb

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Harrius' 'Proud Flesh' reviewed in Arthur / Feb 09

Harrius' 'Proud Flesh' reviewed in Arthur.

It’s a beautiful thing, made from a private, internal symbolic system and some amazing tweaking of the idea of the Western film and, by extension, America itself.

Harrius' 'Proud Flesh' reviewed in City Paper / Jan 09

City Paper review of Harrius' 'Proud Flesh' Soundtrack

Knowing that the score's creator, Harrius (Jenny Graf Sheppard and Chiara Giovando), is the main duo behind the movie helps explain why this record makes so much sense, why it feels so, well, cinematic, functioning as its own taut, affecting narrative. It starts in quick successions of beeps/squeaks, like a computer rendered chew toy. It gives way to a brief, lovely verse of traditional vocal folk , which is abruptly cut off by a percussive blast (gunshot, perhaps). Those vocals return throughout the 35 minute composition, breaking up discrete passages that vary between ominous guitar drone, suggesting rumbling thunder, drizzled with piano melody; solemn monastic chant; cryptic tape manipulation; and H0 scale clatter. This is just in the record's first 10 minutes.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Harrius: 'Proud Flesh' -- New LP Release on Ehse Records

Harrius -- the musical duo comprised of artists Jenny Gräf Sheppard (of Metalux) and Chiara Giovando -- has recorded a sound program for the film 'Proud Flesh', also directed and produced by the pair. It will be released on February 24, 2009 by Baltimore’s Ehse Records (www.ehserecords.com ).

“'Proud Flesh' is the sound program to a movie of the same name by Chiara Giovando and Jenny Graf Sheppard. The film was shot largely in the South Dakota Badlands and stars the artists' mothers. An introspective study of the balance between wilderness and civilization within individuals and groups, it is comprised of a set of personal symbols, textural, behavioral, topographic, and through the casting of friends and family members who make up the cast, both archetypal in a way that is drawn from direct human relationships. Like the film, the sound that adjoins it is a gauzy world of private experiences interwoven into a taut narrative, something far more alien and beautiful than you're used to hearing on a record. There are references to American-ness; there are unexpected and intuitive structural leaps; there is the strong sense of something awry and rebalanced by the anxiety which results from it; there is a sense of vast and difficult terrain, through the sheer variety of sounds of styles of ordering them. But it's all finely wrought with lacemakers’ hands, and the result is something stunning that I don't quite have a handle on, and for the sake of a respect for wonder, I'll keep it that way.”
-Ian Nagoski, Baltimore

“Consider it 'Persona' by way of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Sergio Corbucci, scored to hybridized folk music that bleeds into disorienting drones.” - City Paper