Arvo Zylo is one of those schizophrenic artists that literally shape shift with each release, you never know if it’s harsh noise, power electronics, low end explosive blasts of frequencies, shrill and torturous screeching, or anything else for that matter. It’s one of those things that you just have to approach with eyes closed and teeth clenched, and sure they might get knocked out or chipped but you might also wind up opening your eyes and mind to something horrid and amazing depending on what your annoyance thresholds are. Wm. Berger, the glorious overlord of Prison Tatt Records and the Passion and Torment Series sublabel, alongside being a sort of U.S. equivalent to John Peel for really fucked up underground tunes had sent me this courtesy of AZ and I was ecstatic even before listening to it. Simply put, Velcro Bismol reminds me of what would happen if noise, power electronics, and the early decent work of Aphex Twin suddenly collided via some sort of musical analogue to nuclear fusion and then decayed out various frequencies of destructive radioactive sound waves.
I was not just sold on this albums pedigree alone, although being the creative pupa spawned forth from the larval mind of Arvo Zylo does carry a lot of weight but it’s nicely backed up by the superficial strength of the album title, Velcro Bismol, and song titles such as: “The Hall of [Coke] Mirrors”, “Dental Unemployment”; but upon listening I was instantly engaged in the lunacy contained within and hooked like a trailer park whore to meth. Even with all of the shit that I’ve heard it’s STILL hard not to be amazed with the amount of random ass electronic samples and gadgety sound clips that can be combined into a sort of assemblage or Jackson Pollack piece done in sound. While you’re brain is amused and entwined in the picking out of what sounds like: sheep, goats, R2D2, cartoon footage, and weird cheesy sci-fi whirs and squiggles; all embedded in a pool of blasting fuzz and rumble tones that are whipping around like a psychotic carnival merry-go-round spinning at a rate of a typhoon wind it’s hard to giggle like a sugared up toddler and feel nauseous at the same time because it’s still a bit uneasy to experience.
For myself it’s basically a really crazy acid trip with an overload of carnival and Saturday morning cartoon memories and imagery now warped into a neurotic nightmare of cannibal clowns and a whole messload of stuff that you will never remember in a nostalgic light again without subconsciously shivering and peeing your pants and being uncomfortable seeing childrens toys, and my lengthy flatus of writing just described the cleverly witty and perverted song, “Dental Unemployment”. When listening to this one you honestly can’t figure out whether you should laugh or cry, it’s hilarious and crafty, but it’s still a bit disturbing, sort of like the off colored pedophile,racist, or questionable sex jokes we all crack here and there. We know it’s very socially wrong and maybe even feel the knot in our stomach when belting one out because we know we are not serious and that it’s harmless but it’s still a bit uncomfortable at certain times and places. This is sort of where the Aphex Twin reference came into thought( all the weird creepy nostalgic kids shit compiled) but was mostly brought into full being on “The Hall of [Coke] Mirrors”, another disturbing and twisted portrayal of jubileous imagery cracked out and whacked out.
And so Okay, I can’t get over the amusing song title, “The Hall of [Coke] Mirrors”, but you gota agree with me that it’s tantalizing you right now just form the name alone right? But aside from the provocative name there’s really a lot more to this song that makes it worthy of the hype. For starters, there’s a steady percussive beat and bizarre pervertedly slooooooowed down record effect like taking a 33-45 RPM down to 3RPM generating weird sort of Timothy Leary designed childrens party for adults packed full of costumes, drugs, orgies, and a Fun House with a slight touch of Mouse on Mars’ glitchy disco electronic grooves blown out into the residual static hiss playing in the background. Ironically that’s probably not helping my argument for this, but if you do want a cataclysmic wall of noise with creepy “happy” tones all drugged out and junked up then this is your song. All that you need to do is think of being high on something you can’t handle, to the point of being all rubbery and Gumbi-like slumped against the doorway at one end of a long hallway covered in mirrors, and in your hazy narcotic numb state you see all these other crazy junkies looking like life-like marionettes as their reflections in the mirrors seem to multiply their population from a mere handful to hundreds,and then there are about as many random conversations taking place around you as random records playing in the distance clash with the chatter and can’t make out anything through your state of absolute blur.
Keep in mind that this is also coming from someone whose viewpoint is scewed by their lack of habitual or recent usage of mind-altering substances, but what I DO remember from years past combined with my general deranged and overactive mindset is what you got back there. You really don’t need drugs to have your brain molested and scarred just a bit, simply put on some Velcro Bismol and prepare to have some braincells scorched beyond repair. Velcro Bismol like a cyborg mutant junkyard version of what our grandparents (or even parents) would hear and exclaim, “…you can’t tell me that (he/she/they) are not on drugs…”.
Check out some Arvo Zylo stuff here: http://arvozylo.bandcamp.com/
You can also search for AZ stuff on Youtube and come across some killer live stuff and some of his many aliases with even more decibel debauchery.