Playlist: Aaron Turner


Aaron Turner is a musician, visual artist, and record label owner. Perhaps best known for his work with Isis and Hydra Head Records, he also releases his solo recordings as House of Low Culture, and is currently active with Mamiffer, Jodis, and Greymachine. Along with Isis, he has been involved with bands such as Twilight, Lotus Eaters, and Old Man Gloom. He has recently launched another record label, Sige Records, with his wife, Faith Coloccia. For more information, visit http://aaronbturner.blogspot.com.



When I actually sit down to think about what I've been taking in, what I've been in enjoying, either in the short term or over the course of my life, I often feel overwhelmed when it comes to actually choosing what to list or to talk about. Sometimes it's due to the sheer number of things/people/events I come into contact with or experience, other times just because there's so many good things in life it's hard to know what to highlight. Given that's the case I can't ever seem to come up with a comprehensive list, at least not one that satisfies my own criteria. Any list I do compile is by default full of holes, and lots of good stuff falls by the wayside of my intermittently faulty memory. Nevertheless, I'm attempting once again to put together some things/events/people that have been important to me and served as inspiration in many areas of life. This list contains both recent discoveries and stuff that goes back to the early stages in my development as a conscious human...

The End of Manhood by John Stoltenberg is a good book I'm in the midst of reading. For any penised human who wishes to know more about how to live outside the parameters of confining "manhood", and all the confusion, domineering and destructive behavior that goes along with wearing that mask, would be well served by a trip through these pages. Also, Gerda Lerner's Creation of Patriarchy would also be a complimentary reading experience to the Stoltenberg book. It helps to clearly illustrate and explain how our global culture has developed in such an unbalanced way, where men have categorically dominated and destroyed much of our potential as a species.

Metallica's Ride the Lightning has made a recent reappearance in my life and is having just as much impact now as it did 20 or so years ago when I first discovered it. Though there has been much public lamentation about their lengthy fall from grace, this album still rules, utterly and completely.

Daniel Menche and Kevin Drumm are two guys whose work in the realm of noise has become of increasing interest for me over the years. Though there are many who work with harsh textures, constructing walls of impenetrable sound, and producing sonic overload in the inner ear of the listener, few excel at it to the degree that these two gentlemen seem to on a very consistent basis. The recent Kataract by the former, and Necro Acoustic box set by the latter have been really working for me lately. Now that I'm thinking about noise, Lasse Marhaug comes to mind as well. His latest, All Music at Once is excellent as was his album on Utech last year, the name of which now escapes me.

Coffee. Coffee is something that I had a distaste for most of my life until the last 2-3 years. Now, it has become an essential part of daily living. Perhaps my move to the Northwest and being married to a coffee fiend has helped soften me up in terms of being receptive to drinking this magical elixir, but whatever the case, at least now I know what the rest of the world has been raving about. Stumptown Coffee in Seattle is perhaps my favorite.

Getting married to Faith Coloccia has been one of the single most important and influential events in my life, recently or historically. Having a partner who is a true partner on every level - creatively, spiritually, emotionally, physically - is something I had always imagined but never really thought was actually possible. Being with her is a pleasure, a challenge, and always interesting. Being with someone I love who is not only an amazing person, but also an amazing collaborator and companion is the greatest gift in life I could hope to receive.

Alan Moore has made some of my absolute favorites works of graphic fiction ever, perhaps some of my favorite work period. Swamp Thing, Promethea, From Hell, Watchmen - these are all amazing pieces of writing that go into areas of deep fascination for me: spirituality, the nature of consciousness, our relation to the earth, the heavens and the cosmos and to one another...

Fovea Hex is largely unknown, at least as far as I can tell, and why this is so I have NO idea. Their music is some of the most well crafted, deeply emotional and highly imaginative I've come across in the last 10 years. Ambience, contrast, beauty, tension, restraint. I cannot recommend their work enough. The have 3 EPs which may now be out of print, but they also have a new full length due out April 4th - the clips from it sound amazing...


Alice In Chains' second album, Dirt, remains one of the few from my child that can still hold my attention in my adult life. Actually, listening to it now I perceive it in a way that I didn't when I was younger - it's a scarily dark piece of work. I can't get into much straight ahead rock music these days, but this one certainly hits that spot in the best/most depressing way.

Circle are one of the best bands on the planet. Great live, great records in may different styles, great human beings. One of them also has a record label which is also awesome - Ektro Records releases many of their albums, albums of related projects, and mainly other Finnish based entities. Their presentation and curatorial skills for the label are to be envied and admired. If you're looking for a place to start with Circle or Ektro I recommend the Forest or Rautatie albums.

Utech Records have been one of the most consistently interesting labels I've discovered in recent years. The selection of artists and the visual presentation of the label as a whole are amazing and highly consistent. I don't love every single record released by the label, but at the very least I find at least some aspect of each one interesting. Highlights include work by James Plotkin, Daniel Menche, RST, Lasse Marhaug, Locrian, Aluk Todolo, Final, Horseback, and the massive URSK box set.

Learning to cook has been a real event for me - something I thought I'd never be able to do or enjoy doing. Eating and enjoying food are key components of the human experience. Being able to make food that I or people I'm close to are going to eat, is a very satisfying a life affirming experience. Though I am still a complete novice in the realm of cooking, I am very much looking forward to further exploring this area of life.

Ram Narayan is someone that William Fowler Collins (another list contributor here on HSS) turned me on to and I have to send him a shout for that. His Raga Mishra Bhairavi is one of the single most moving pieces of music I've heard in the last year, something I could listen to endlessly... I don't think you have to be an aficionado of indian classical music to be moved by this one - it's a piece that knows no bounds.....

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess his move to the Northwest is the reason why prices for Hydra Head Records are so astoundingly expensive? Import prices for domestic records. Pass.

threehz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anon 5:57 FTW

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:57 and 2:21 - please stop whining.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:13 - thank you.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:13 - stop whining about us whining.

kthxbai!

SOMA said...

Great list!
Amazing, thoughtful man.