Various Artists – A Birth Place Is Not a Grave Site

No Part of It, the Chicago label run by the eloquent and prolific Arvo Zylo, released a new batch of CDRs at the end of October 2018. This isn’t one of them – this is a behemoth of a tape compilation.

A crown jewel. A ruby diadem.

No discussion of A Birth Place Is Not a Grave Site begins without mentioning its physical presence. First, its 6 x C40 nature is imposing – twelve artists each tackle a side, resulting in twelve longform documents of seismic activity, sonic bulldozery in its finest experimental, primeval, guttural form. The cassettes are housed in a black vinyl shell case, like those old books-on-tape ones you see at the library. The whole thing is enclosed by a “handmade OBI strip made out of black damask wallpaper and a wax seal.”

Like a holy artifact or lost secret document, A Birth Place Is Not a Grave Site contains unfathomable riches to discover. There are three b/w 4 x 6 art cards by Arvo himself, stunning, haunting, tactile, visceral pieces to accompany the mood. A b/w photo is also included – mine is a postcard of four adolescent girls on ponies. The contrast in aura is unsettling, although the representation of a time long past is spooky enough to click with the rest of the vibe.

These beauties are hand-numbered too – I have 29 out of 32. (I think Arvo only has a few left at this point. Message him, quick. First come, first served!)

And I know I’ve mentioned it, but there’s even music on this thing! What are the odds, I know. The collection in its entirety is utterly fascinating, and it’s impossible not to find something weird and exotic to sink your teeth into. The artists represented come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but each has such an individual compositional streak that each of the twelve sides sounds distinctly removed from the rest, even as the entire thing adds up to a stunning whole. The collection was also painstakingly home-recorded by Bob Bucko Jr. (BBJr, Sex Funeral, Personal Archives), so you know it sounds aces.

Who’s on this thing? Who isn’t! 156, ILTH, DJPTSD, Mark Shippy, Anastasia Vronski, Morgan Garrett, Boyle, Novasak, Lalemus, Moultrigger, Gnarly Sheen, and Arachnad. (For Arvo’s incredible detail on all these artists, go here.) Almost everything here is previously unreleased. You will be the first, maybe the only ones to hear it, as these babies won’t be streaming on the internet anywhere unless the artists themselves post their contributions. Think about it! You’ll be like 32 Martin Shkrelis with 32 exclusive million-dollar Wu-Tang releases. You probably won’t even have to sell your copy to cover legal fees!

Arvo is always on the lookout for cutting-edge experimental music, and his tireless pursuit of presenting it in unique and artistic formats is unquestioned.

The jewel is pulverized to dust. The diadem is crushed under immense pressure.

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