A Guide For Reason - VII - VIII (fs14)
1) The Indirect Communication - 17.00
2) One Of These Is True. This Is True. - 4:00
160kb SOUNDBITES CAN BE HEARD ON THE SOUNDPAGE
Available in CD format (while supplies last) and Digital Editions
from Heathen Harvest:
A Guide For Reason - I - VI
Two decades ago, the New York-based label Faith Strange came into being in ethereal fashion with the release of Life With The Lions’ debut cassette “…of Dream Days”, a cassette that took two years to follow up on with the eventual CD release of “…These Dream Days”. If any fan of the label at that point in its infancy thought that was a long wait, however, they were in for a real surprise when Faith Strange would not re-emerge until 8 long years later with orchestramaxfieldparrish’s “Tears” and a double-dose of releases from the incredibly talented Jo Gabriel. Of course, Jo Gabriel has since moved on to releasing her own music via her own label in Ephemera while orchestramaxfieldparrish remains with Faith Strange due to its obvious relation to the label; that being the man behind everything, including “A Guide For Reason”, one Mike Fazio. It goes without saying that Mr. Fazio has been busy, but he’s been actively recording and releasing music since the early 80′s — nearly three decades of underground dwelling and experimentation, consistently building on the cultural foundation of New York’s inherent strange nature as one of its most criminally overlooked experimental veterans.
For all intents and purposes, A Guide For Reason is Mike’s second newest moniker to date, right behind, ironically, simply releasing music as “Fazio” for the recent “Élégie” (Faith Strange) and “All At Once The Remote Go Forth My Soul And My Seeking, The Unknowable Becomes Known” (Quiet World) albums, both released this year. orchestramaxfieldparrish obviously goes back a bit further to the mentioned 2002 album, but even this project took a long rest until it re-emerged in 2008-2010 for a slew of releases on the suddenly prolific Faith Strange. He was also a member of “Chill Faction” in the late 80′s and recently in 2006 released a new album. Lastly, again in 2006, he released “Sundiving” — a collaborative effort between he and percussionist Thomas Hamlin (Black 47). So the question remains as the elephant in the room: Where the hell was Fazio during this 6-8 year period? I wish I had the answer — perhaps he simply got fed up or burnt out, but it’s as if he suddenly disappeared completely from the face of underground music only to re-emerge later as a proverbial phoenix, setting fire to the world through an onslaught of new output.
Alright, so perhaps that’s a little melodramatic, but like the mythical bird mentioned, Fazio creates music that is both abstract and yet not completely unfamiliar. There is an ethereal beauty that accompanies so many of his tracks as they climb a fragmented path of performance, weaving through moments of drone, musique concrete, subtle and very sparse trip hop-like beats, and absolute, pure abstract sound structures. Loops range through tracks, orbiting amongst each other but often existing so far out of context and in time that they barely resemble a loop at all without a relative level of concentration. Emotional moments can range from the mostly psychedelic to the all-encompassing disturbance of industrial-tinged ambience. Somehow though, the sound on “I – VI” always seems to retain a warm analog sound, sometimes bordering on an all-out retro electronic style that is fitting of the gold-on-olive drab artwork which accompanies the old school computer latches of the inside image. It’s like a polished relic from the early era of field recording experimentation with heavy processing and a healthy dose of seemingly randomized sound input and the occasional feedback squeal or muffled voice sample. As with any quality music in the Musique Concrete world though, it’s the subtleties in production that make Fazio’s creations masterful. The fluctuation of layers to give them depth, the barely noticeable high-end clicks, the swelling moments of bright yet transparent ambience — they all combine to make something all together unique and impressively complex.
Though Fazio’s track titles are often lengthy if not excessively descriptive — a quality that he has become known for if nothing else — it still becomes difficult to place where his mindset is overall regarding an overall theme to an album. Time here is obviously an incredibly important aspect but there’s more at work than just that. Social messages can be found easily such as in the title of the first track, which is suggestive of the modern habitual process of working our lives away, only to realize in the Winter of our lives that we existed in a blurred state, allowing the world to spin us into oblivion without so much as a whisper. The second track can be seen as an abstract, almost Slavoj Žižek-like commentary on the fragmented state of mankind’s delusions involving ecology — though through a very strict perspective on modern machines. Perhaps I may be reading a little too much into his intentions, but it goes without saying that Fazio seems to have a lot to say without actually expressing it with voice in his music — one more reason to consider him amongst what I consider to be the unsung contemporary masters of the Musique Concrete style of experimentalism alongside more well-known names such as Daniel Menche. - Sage
from Musique Machine:
A Guide For Reason - I - VI
The New York art punk/funk scene of the mid to late eighties first saw Mike Fazio playing guitar alongside a few friends and acquaintances to form a small network of bands including Chill Faction, Black 47 and Life With The Lions. After a seemingly inactive nineties he remerged as orchestramaxfieldparrish, a solo project where he developed his guitar playing into nebulous, ambient waves, adding synthesised layers to form lush, ambient orchestrations. But little of this background is discernible on this new project of Fazio’s recorded in June 2009, which blends an array of field recordings with idiosyncratic electronics to form six compelling collages.
‘A Guide for Reason’ was how Ptolemais of Cyrene, a musicologist from over 2,000 years ago no less, saw the role of perception or sensory experience in sparking a more theoretical compositional process, perhaps suggesting that the work presented here is primarily sensual, designed to inspire the listener to form their own narratives. Meanwhile the often lengthy track titles all seem to be aphorisms optimistically guiding the listener on how to perceive.
But the sound of ‘A Guide For Reason’ is a loose and strange one that feels more like a single, hour long work than six distinct pieces. The first half is like a slide show of alien anecdotes, from the opener’s series of textured shifting electronic shards that disappear no sooner than they arrive framed by a deep silence or undercut by the odd percussive pop, to other glitchy fragments that get slowed, reversed, scratched and sprayed with static that overlap tracks 3 and 4. Despite the uneven panoply, the disk feels like it is heading somewhere and that place is ‘Out From Which Comes The Beginning’, the final 13 minutes of the disk that orchestrates a series of whirring metallic tones possessing the ‘ribbed’ qualities of a plastic card strumming the spokes of a spinning bicycle wheel. Like a cabaret plate-spinner the tones eventually falter and require regular recharging while deep, resonant liquid notes and hi-pitched whistles subtly form a shifting backdrop. Surprisingly, the striking irregularities are smoothed out across the last three minutes by a regular Autechre-lite beat that skips and shuffles the disk to an uncharacteristic close.
Most unusual, though, for a largely abstract electronic work is the optimistic feel that Fazio works into the mix. This is not your typical so-called ‘dark ambient’ work that tends to describe a post-apocalyptic misery, but feels more like a Life magazine article from the 50s that optimistically welcomes future feats of engineering. In this way, ‘A Guide for Reason I – VI’ comes on like a literal form of industrial music by celebrating engineered processes and patterns through sound. And while the sleevenotes indicate electrical generators and diesel locomotive engines as some of the sound sources, Fazio has processed the results with such clean and microscopic detail that the sounds easily transcend their significance, creating a charming and mysterious montage - Russell Cuzner
You might be familiar with Mike Fazio under his orchestramaxfieldparrish nom de plume, an arty ambient electronic soundscape project I reviewed a while back. As I recalled with OMP, my impressions were mixed on that double-CD ('To The Last Man / Index Of Dreaming'), liking some of it a whole lot, and the rest of it very much. Fazio's A Guide For Reason project may be similar in overall concept but quite different in execution. The majority of it is extremely subtle; so subtle at time that unless you have the volume up you may not realize (at times) that you are listening to anything. That's not to say that there isn't anything there (there most certainly is) but 'A Guide For Reason' has a propensity to often be so under the radar that when more prominent incidents such as a repeated scratching sound, or a chordal swell, or wispy electronics make there way into the ambience, it's nearly surprising.
One could approach 'A Guide For Reason' in two ways; one is the analytical approach- to listen to it looking for things that gel and enhance the ambiance all the while trying to discern why the artist used this sound or that, and how these sounds were achieved, OR, the intuitive approach- simply feeling what is conveyed sonically in each piece and how it affects you. I favor the latter here as describing the components of the compositions does not really do them justice.
This work is two discs (or actually a disc-and-a-half, the second being a 3" mini disc (or Parts VII and VIII) and is only a little over what a single CD is terms of time, I'm sure the artist had his reasons for doing it this way. The environments on the first disc take you to some unusual places'¦hallucinatory terrains where space and time have been altered, perhaps distorted into other dimensions. The last track on the first disc, #6 ' 'Out From Which Comes The Beginning,' is the anomaly. It is as if the film is rewinding and you get a peek at the inner-workings of the cosmic device. A gentle rhythm emerges like some type of electro-mechanical dance of creation and carries you across the border'¦to the other side.
Disc 2 (the 3 inch) ' 'The Indirect Communication' ' here is where the other-worldly entities dwell. You watch in fascination as they interact in their natural habitat. 17 minutes goes by but all concept of time is lost here. 'One of These Is True. This Is True' is a bit more difficult to fathom. In fact, I can't, even after listing to it three times.
The main CD comes in a limited numbered edition of 100 professionally pressed silk-screened discs in a 4 panel digipak. The 3" is a limited numbered hand made micro edition of 50 copies presented within a handmade vellum folio of 4 prints with the disc mounted on artist's black archival board. Sure to become a collector's item. - Steve Mecca - November 2011
from Musique Machine:
A Guide For Reason - VII - VIII
Mike Fazio's (of orchestramaxfieldparrish, Gods Of Electricity & solo work) latest project, A Guide For Reason, debuted this very year with a full length CDr titled "I - VI", and now continues with this fascinating 3" disk, "VII - VIII". I was hitherto acquainted with his colorful, dramatic forays into synthscaping as Aera, but the sophisticated exactitude and uniqueness of this disk caught me by surprise. One could say the two projects share a meditative, existential approach to music-making, but in the case of A Guide for Reason, the sound sources utilized by Fazio are completely indiscernable to me, and the music itself several steps closer to 'unclassifiable'.
"The Indirect Communication", a 17minute track which is the majority of this short disk, is a masterfully captured document of some fantastic (likely imaginary!) object vibrating in the soft wind, in the currents (over silence). The gentle activity continues uneventfully, abating for longer intervals at times, stirring back to life on a whim. The most sudden movements bring crystalline feedback harmonics which quickly bleed away, and swells of motor-like whirrings. The harmonic wake created by the restless object covers a vibrantly consonant tonal spectrum, sketching out glassy apparitions of sublime chords, and the granular, synthetic nature of the textures become apparent. There is a metallic element to the timbre, but no harsh high frequency resonance as is typical of metallic sounds. Rather, these percolated sounds are closer to the round, bassy tones achieved when metal meets water.
I was left with a thoughtful, solemn feeling not unlike sitting at home on a quiet rainy day. This is a somewhat subjective impression, but I do believe this music is intended to examine solitude and moments of calm.
The other track, which is essentially a 4 minute epilogue, is called "One Of These Is True. This Is True." It enters with a brooding synth drone straight out of an Aera album, revealing the chordal framework behind Fazio's ideas. Trebley crackles of digital distortion mount as the chord swells, until it gives way to droning major key arpeggios which, though obviously created by a synth, retain some of the essence of the first track's organic timbres. Ending this perplexing disk on this more obvious emotional note was, in my opinion, a marvellous idea.
What Fazio has achieved here introduces human expression and intentional beauty into the skittering entropy of the sounds of nature... or is it the other way around? Are these processed field recordings or just incredibly organic electronics? It's like hearing a drop of water beat out its irregular, unpredictable patterns, and yet feeling sure that there is a clear, almost poetic message to be understood. Any fan of experimental music possessed of a little patience would do well to check this out.
Josh Landry - September 2011
from Cyclic Defrost:
I was first made aware of the joyful (mostly subdued) noise that New Yorker Mike Fazio produces whilst reviewing orchestramaxfieldparrish’s Crossing Of Shadows, a journey through the seamy underbelly of guitar tones and ambient rumble, that hinted at both industrial/isolationist bleakness and the tie-dyed variety of entopic drift currently doing the rounds on limited cassette releases. Fazio’s unleashed a new moniker for these new soundscapes, A Guide For Reason — apart from eschewing the odd orchestral element and delving deeper into experimental tangents, these two limited release CDs (100 of the full-length and 50 of the 3” CD) could have been quite suitably released under the orchestramaxfieldparrish moniker. Actually,saying that, I’m a big fan of artists who obfuscate their sonic footprint with a panoply of monikers, just check out the work of Wolfgang Voigt or Uwe Schmidt if your want a primer on limitless non-de plumes.
A Guide For Reason sees Fazio descend further underground where hums, splutters and mysterious industrial relics moulder, and entropy reclaims what is not guarded against. Indeed, certain elements of these explorations were recorded 50 feet under the bustling terminus of Grand Central Station. ‘A Handful Of Hours In A Split Second (The Events Of An Ordinary Day Pass Like Strangers On The Street As We Are Busy At Work Engineering Tomorrowland)’ bursts into existence with wow & flutter, space echo, static and menace, linked together in the manner of Nurse With Wound’s mid-80s opus Spiral Insana. As this opening piece progresses a more linear narrative is suggested by the emergence of sonorous tones and space-bound pings. ‘The Radiant Life’ satisfies fully, as uneasy chorale frequencies and muffled accents unfold a lopsided collision between Popol Vuh and Coil (the sadly missed Peter Christopherson is thanked in the liner notes). ‘The Important Thing Is To Never Stop Questioning’ sounds like a passable representation of tectonic plates shifting and groaning, as an avalanche of barely audible bass pricks the ears. Most striking is Fazio’s closing gambit ‘Out From Which Comes The Beginning’ where rich guitar textures and manipulations are turned inwards into curious percussive simulacra, as a handheld electric fan (possibly) ricochets off the strings, like a troglodytic, sweaty Keith Rowe impersonator. Curious insects scuttle and chirrup as frenetic tinsel-tones and deep feedback resonate in synch, reminding me of the visceral impact of Oren Ambarchi’s extended techniques. The track finishes with a memorable three-minute cascade of syncopated drums slowly tweaked and layered beneath the fan-like guitar sonics.
On the three-inch CD, the shimmery textures from the initial recording session are reprised, and slowly groan and throb their way into something akin to listening to Chris Abrahams’ magnificent Play Scar from the bottom of a stormwater drain. Sine waves and crashing stochastic pulses aim for the heart of the sun, only to fall Icarus-like into an abrupt silence, followed by further sonic sorcery resonating through the hidden tunnels of Grand Central Station. For A Guide For Reason, Fazio’s Raison D’être for this project is that “This music has no purpose other than it is”, which echoes both Everest pioneer George Mallory and the sound-for-sounds-sake ethos of generations of improvising musicians. - Oliver Laing
from Wonderful Wooden Reasons :
A Guide For Reason - VII-VIII
A Guide For Reason is one of the newer nom de guerres of orchestrmaxfieldparrish's Mike Fazio. Under this guise, Mike assumes a more psychedelicised mode interlacing beautiful almost-minimalist glitters into a latticework of sound. His sounds (mostly sourced, I suspect, from his guitar) have a decidedly alien flavour to them. but alien of the Forbidden Planet's Krell variety rather than that whole messy and decidedly uncouth chest bursting, acid bleeding type. Mike's got other vistas in mind and he takes the time to explore them fully. We are lucky enough to be allowed along for the ride.
from Vital Weekly:
Mike Fazio is one half of Gods Of Electricity of whom a CD was reviewed in Vital Weekly 527 and of whom I totally forgot, I must say, but here he is again, this time as 'A Guide For Reason', with a CDR already recorded in 2009 and a 3"CDR sort of companion release recorded this year. I have no idea why this took so long to release, but the digipack looks nice, and so is all of the design here, very stylish. 'This music has no other reason than it exists', says Fazio, and why not. Why should there another reason indeed. On 'I-VI' there are six long tracks of electronic music; the cover mentions a recording of diesel locomotive engines, and thank you's for Ferial Confine, Mark Schomburg and Peter Christopherson. The music is experimental, and despite the diesel engines not very noise like. Lots of computer treatments it seems. One of those things I noted before, with Gods Of Electricity, is that then as well as now, these pieces are a bit long, although the music here is of an entirely different nature. Things work not as much as a composition, but more like a stream of sounds, vaguely nodding to ambient at times, to microsound/glitch music, and a bit towards gentle noise. Spooky at times, and I thought of this as quite nice. Not spectacular innovative or any such thing, but very nice altogether. A leap forward from the old Gods Of Electricity release. (FdW)
from Wonderful Wooden Reasons:
A Guide For Reason - I-VI
A Guide For Reason is a pseudonym for New York Composer Mike Fazio who is better known around these here parts as Orchestramaxfieldparrish. Under both guises Mike's music has an inherent ambient quality. His music is always richly textured and beautifully composed (in both senses of the word).
With A Guide For Reason he has taken this quality and re-imagined it in a vaguely surrealist context. There is an ominous nocturnal psychedelia entwined within the ambience that gives the music a deliciously alien character and there's a lot more mobility both within and between tracks here than is often the case. Fluid changes in texture, colour and shape create a constant but not insistent pull on the listener compelling you to follow it's lead.
I'm always impressed by Mike's music but never more so than here.
from Bad Alchemy:
OUT FROM WHICH COMES THE BEGINNING heißt auch das letzte Statement auf I - VI (fs13), einem 'ongoing abstract, exploratory & left-field musical endeavor', das Fazio A GUIDE FOR REASON taufte. Der gedankliche Hintergrund ließ ihn Titel aus suchen, die man in Marmor meiseln könnte: A HANDFUL OF HOURS IN A SPLIT SECOND (THE EVENTS OF AN ORDINARY DAY PASS LIKE STRANGERS ON THE STREET AS WE ARE BUSY AT WORK ENGINEERING TOMORROWLAND). Oder: BEAUTY IN THE TOOLS OF TODAY (WITH WHICH THE COMMON MAN HAMMERS THE WORLD INTO STRANGENESS, THE QUALITY IN SUCH THAT DOES SHAKE US). Und: THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO NEVER STOP QUESTIONING. Die Klangbilder dazu sind loop- und delay-generiert, vom Hämmern und Kreisen und der Betriebsamkeit des Industriezeitalters bestimmt. Der Sound von Generatoren und Lokomotiven sind als Ingredienzen eingebacken in Klingeln, grummeliges Brum men, Heulen, Klopfen, flatterndes Rauschen. Dem Fazio den Effekt andichtet, das Gewöhnliche strange, fremd und fragwürdig erscheinen, ja eigentlich sogar fremd werden zu lassen. Als Poesie, als Schönheit in langwelligen oder auch pumpenden, immer aber harmonisch schimmernden Drones. Der Synthie als Orgel für Tomorrowland. TIME: THE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF THERE BEING NO SOLUTIONS ist dagegen abstrakt geräuschhaft - Gebläse, Rotationen, extrem verlangsamte Deto nationen. Der letzte Track forciert noch das Bruitistische und Motorische, wummernd und mit dem Geflatter eines Ventilators an Gitarrensaiten. Echos versetzen einen in einen containerartigen, von Surren erfüllten Hohlraum, den zuletzt ein Drum'n'Bass-Groove in Wallung versetzt.
VII - VIII (fs14, 3" mCD) reißt ein Loch in den Container - Ausblick auf grüne Hügel. Klanglich jedoch suggeriert THE INDIRECT COMMUNI CATION zuerst in nahtloser Fortsetzung von 'VI', glucksend, sirrend, aufgewühlt, etwas Hohles und Wässriges. Auch 'VIII' ist in diesem gedämpften 'Innen' befangen, ver schluckt sich sogar selbst. Bis eine große Dröhnwelle über die Szenerie wegbraust, gefolgt von kleinen Orgelwellen, die auf einen wieder offenen Horizont zu schwingen. Vielleicht höre ich nur, was ich hören will. Aber was wären Suggestionen ohne Spekulation? [BA 70 rbd] - August 2011
A Guide For Reason presents Mike Fazio operating under a guise other than his customary orchestramaxfieldparrish alias. Though the new material—by his own reckoning, “electronic aural sculpture” that's “abstract, exploratory & left-field”—hews more to the noise-&-post-industrial part of the sonic spectrum (think Coil, The Hafler Trio, et al.), it conceivably could have been issued under the orchestramaxfieldparrish moniker, simply because the recordings he's issued under the name are already so wide-ranging that it could have accommodated the A Guide For Reason tracks too, had he been so inclined to present them as such. No matter—the eight tracks presented on the limited-edition full-length (100 copies) and three-inch EP (50 copies) are an engrossing lot no matter the name under which they're issued, and it appears that the shift in focus to what for Fazio amounts to an even more personalized form of abstract expressionism has proven both cathartic and liberating for this always adventurous explorer. The full-length's content was shared initially with friends and like-minded artists only, but the decision was subsequently reached to make it available in a wider form, though not for reasons of commercial or personal gain but more to grant it a life of its own. No gear-related info is included, but the sounds on offer appear to include samples of varying kinds, field recordings, electronics, and a heavy dose of synthesizers, though for all we know Fazio might have used guitar to generate much of it and used treatments of one kind or another to effect the synthetic simulations.
While the opening track, “A Handful of Hours in a Split Second (The Events of an Ordinary Day Pass Like Strangers on The Street as We Are Busy at Work Engineering Tomorrowland),” careens into view with a daunting noise flourish, it immediately thereafter settles into a more even-tempered space. As a whole, the piece assumes the form of a constantly mutating travelogue that segues rapidly from one industrial-tinged episode to another until coming to rest in an extended intergalaxial rumination. The mood of “The Radiant Life” is anything but sunny, as the piece trudges along, dragging dungeon-styled clanks and muffled voices along with it as it does so. The album gravitates towards more overtly experimental territory during its second half. The focus on the connecting tracks “The Important Thing is to Never Stop Questioning” and “Time: The Solution to the Problem of There Being No Solutions” is on field recordings-based soundscaping that appears to draw upon natural elements (wind, rumble) and present them in heavily distorted form. By turns and sometimes simultaneously, “Out From Which Comes the Beginning” unspools as a whirring-and-clattering dronescape and ghostly hall-of-mirrors (until, that is, a breakbeats episode surfaces during its final innings, shifting the piece into another direction altogether).
Why issue the eight tracks on two separate discs? One reason may be that the full-length's tracks were recorded in June, 2009 whereas the EP's were laid down two years later ( the next installment is currently scheduled for fall 2011 release). The latter's opener, “The Indirect Communication,” initially suggests that the EP may be a bit more sedate than the full-length, but the electrically spiked track gradually grows noisier and hotter to the touch as its seventeen minutes unfolds. It's as much of a shape-shifter as the opening piece on the full-length, with “The Indirect Communication” touching down in multiple zones of ethereal abstraction before “One of These is True. This is True” completes the journey with a shimmering soundscape of beatific character. Fazio has stated in reference to the A Guide For Reason project, “This music has no purpose other than it exists,” but even if that were to be its sole purpose it would be more than enough, given that it affords us another opportunity to partake of his singular artistry.