Today, the road comes to an end. We are saying goodbye.
Altered Zones was launched in July 2010 with the mission of highlighting small-scale DIY music from all over the world, and we couldn't be more proud of the work we've done together during this past year and a half. We've helped new artists on the fringes of experimental music find likeminded fans, we've thrown a series of amazing events, and most importantly, we've built a community of devoted listeners seeking new and relatable voices outside the sphere of popular independent music.
This site began as a tight-knit collective of 14 music blogs with a common goal, but as many of our original contributors moved on from their blogs to start labels, run venues, create zines, and make music of their own, that original group has become increasingly splintered. We love what we've built, and the idea of it remaining as a sort of time capsule of this particular era of music feels right.
We don't view Altered Zones closing as an end in itself, but rather the end of one chapter and the opening of another. AZ editors Ric Leichtung and Emilie Friedlander will contribute to Pitchfork, and will launch a new project together called Ad Hoc in 2012. In the meantime, Altered Zones will be signing off tomorrow and Friday with our favorite quotes, songs you might've missed, and albums of 2011.
Thanks to everyone who counted themselves as a loyal reader of this site-- you are who we built this for. Thanks to everyone who contributed-- it could not have existed without you! And thanks to Pitchfork for creating and supporting this site since its inception, and for making it all possible in the first place. Happy 2012. We'll see you all again very soon…
Joe Yamanaka, vocalist of the psych-rock group Flower Travellin' Band, died of lung cancer Sunday morning at a hospital in Yokosuka, Japan. He was 64 years old.
Yamanaka was a prolific artist and released numerous solo albums in addition to acting in multiple films; for a while, he even replaced Bob Marley as the lead singer of The Wailers. He was also featured in Japrocksampler, a book by British music critic Julian Cope, who was largely responsible for bringing the Flower Travellin' Band to the attention of the western world. --Jasmine Zhu, Altered Zones
(Conrad Schnitzler at Siegessäule, Berlin July 23rd, 2011)
On August 4th, Conrad Schnitzler passed away from stomach cancer. Member of Kluster and Tangerine Dream, Schnitzler played an invaluable role in the shaping of kraut and electronic music. Having studied under Stockhausen, Conrad composed more than 90 albums of solo material, and completed his final work, "00/830," just four days before his death. In preparation for his departure, Schnitzler sent strands of his hair to be buried around the world and created the Global Living Project. In his words:
Since some time, I globalize me.
Why just living in one country,
why just sleeping in one country,
why just being buried only in one country,
now that we think and live globally.
I would like to be at beautiful places in the world,
without to move me from my place here.
I send my DNA (my hair) to different places in the world.
This means I'm all over the world.
I'm everywhere, even when I'll be dead.
Nobody must come to my grave in Berlin.
My friends can visit me in the whole world now.
So if friends want to give me a place...., welcome.
I'll send a DNA sample to bury me.
I am in the whole world at home now. I love this feeling.
Friends, family, and fans can pay their respects to Conrad at 9 different sites, including the Green Lagoon in Spain, Norway's Lysefjord, and Mt. Fuji. --Ric Leichtung, Altered Zones
We're sad to report that punk siren Poly Styrene passed away yesterday, April 25th, due to cancer. A final twitter update from Styrene's team reads: "We can confirm that the beautiful Poly Styrene, who has been a true fighter, won her battle on Monday evening to go to higher places."
Born as Marianne Elliot-Said, she formed the seminal X-Ray Spex 1976, and was responsible for the punk-feminist anthem "Oh Bondage Up Yours!," influencing generations of punk to come. --Ric Leichtung, Altered Zones
We've just received word that computer music pioneer Max Matthews passed away this morning due to complications from pneumonia. As an engineer at Bell Labs in the '50s, Matthews developed MUSIC-N, the first widely used computer music program to generate audio waveforms via direct synthesis. He had a hand in developing various instruments, most known for his work on the Yamaha DX7 and the Radio Batons (pictured above). The namesake of the current industry standard in music programming, Max, Matthews will be missed. --Ric Leichtung, Altered Zones
After nearly 10 years of content, Arthur Magazine is ceasing publication. Their website reads:
After years of service, Arthur departed the material plane today. He died as he lived—free, high and a-dreaming of love, ‘neath vultures’ terrible gaze. Thank you, and love to all.
Though Arthur went on "indefinite hiatus" in 2007, it began publishing again shortly thereafter. While we're hoping they'll just take it all back like last last time, we'll definitely be on the lookout for those juicy archives to be posted. --Ric Leichtung, Altered Zones
Altered Zones is deeply saddened to announce that Excepter's Clare Amory passed away yesterday at the age of 35, following a long and brave fight with Stage IV cancer. Our thoughts go out to her relatives, her life partner and bandmate Nathan Corbin, and the extended Excepter Family. Bandmember Jon Nicholson posted the following statement today on his website for solo project SSPS:
"Yesterday, the Space Shuttle Discovery departed Earth on it's final mission. Among the cargo aboard, was one astronaut who's name was not publicly announced. My beautiful friend, and band mate Clare Armory has left our Planet Earth. Her soul has been set free to bless this mad universe that we all live in. I know how difficult that it is to lose a loved one to cancer. I lost my mother nine years ago to the same ravaging disease. It was the hardest thing that I have ever had to deal with in my life. My mother was 57 when she lost her 29 year battle with cancer. Clare was 35. Any age is too young to be taken from us. It hurts so much."
Italian dance music site Electronique is reporting today that DJ/producer and Italo-disco pioneer Salvatore Cusato passed away yesterday. Recording under the name Casco, Cusato leaves behind a string of dance floor classics that still sound as smart today as ever. The 1983 cut "Cybernetic Love" marked his studio debut and easily ranks among the most legendary (and best!) Italo jams ever.
"To hear that this track is still appreciated today is a big honor," Cusato told Italo Deviance in 2008, revealing Steven Spielberg's E.T. as its primary source of inspiration: "It is an impossible love story, between a little girl and an extra terrestrial. They cannot communicate because the cyber love didn't exist yet... but the story has a happy end!" (Weird!)
Also check this awesome 2009 interview from Magic Waves, which includes links to vintage Cusato DJ sets from 1976 and 1981.
Country legend Charlie Louvin passed away last night in Nashville after a long fight with pancreatic cancer at 83 years old. Inducted into the Country Hall of Fame, The Louvin Brothers, his musical partnership with his brother Ira, was a '50s household name. The group was responsible for 1960's Satan Is Real, "the Rosetta stone of fire and brimstone country gospel". In a rare interview, Aquarium Drunkard asked the star how he'd like to be remembered:
"I hope that my legacy will be as a believable person. I’m a strong believer that you are not a better person than your word. If people can’t believe what you say, then you’re not much of a person. And so I’ve always strived to do that. If I tell you I’ll do something, you don’t need a contract. In today’s world, people want to go strictly on a contract. My brother and I worked for 25 years together and most of the time there was no contract. You wrote the information down, where you were supposed to be, and you were there. Most of the time we got paid. There were a few people who gave you that bad check, but that wasn’t a problem really in our career. We worked for pretty honest people. The world’s changed a lot now. You probably do need a contract, otherwise you’re walking on thin ice."
"It is with great sadness we announce that Trish Keenan from Broadcast passed away at 9am this morning in hospital. She died from complications with pneumonia after battling the illness for two weeks in intensive care. Our thoughts go out to James, Martin, her friends and her family and we request that the public respect their wishes for privacy at this time. This is an untimely tragic loss and we will miss Trish dearly - a unique voice, an extraordinary talent and a beautiful human being. Rest in Peace."