Friday, April 27, 2012

phew! relaxing castle of quiet style

Relaxing, eh? I know that our show relaxes me, but I rarely expect others to see it that way. The immersion factor of such strong, sometimes enveloping, sometimes all-surrounding sounds can be a balm to the mind. We've discussed this before; no room for bad thoughts, etc. Unless, of course, if one of these things depicted above is heading straight for your cranium—that's pretty much the situational opposite of a mineral bath or a day at the hot springs. Ha!

The head bleeds, so much, an impossible amount; and to see it shooting out, in heart-pumped surges, from the back of our little flying assassin, well that's just too much for most civilians. Stay out of the all-marble mausoleum; that's just some healthy advice. Make what you will of it.

High honors to our special, LIVE guests the other night, Occultation, who absolutely BROUGHT IT, and kicked it out for all to hear. Quoth the playlist comments, "Occultation sounds fantastic. Haunting & beautiful."; "the talent, the haunting atomosphere, incredible!!!!!! Thank you Occultation!!!!!!"; "...thank you Occultation and Wm., that was a real treat."

Playlist-comment honors also went to Chris Forsyth, that wild, mysterious and creatively packaged (think Corpus Hermeticum) Sump demo tape, and a track from the brand-new Grisâtre full-length on Dusktone.

Occultation's set will post as downloadable, streamable mp3s in an approximate fortnight, on WFMU's Beware of The Blog and Free Music Archive. In the meantime, one can click on the shining ball above to hear the archived audio, and read the playlist and listener comments for this week's horrorcast™. Just please remember to duck. Better yet, hit the deck.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Occultation, LIVE H-h-h-h-haunting on My Castle of Quiet, WFMU, TONIGHT! Certain protection symbols are recommended.

New York's Occultation are a metal band that nearly defy comparison. Baroque, otherworldly guitar and bass dance melodically over shifting time signatures, underpinning dissonant, eerie, male and female vocals; the overall effect evoking a haunted fortress, one hidden somewhere just above the clouds. With one foot in the post-psychedelic 70s, try to imagine Mortuary Drape in a collision with The Art Bears, if you will—if you can!

The band were invited to My Castle of Quiet on the strength of a video shot by Beware of The Blog contributor (((unARTig))), as well as their 3-song CDr demo, Somber Dawn, which received heavy airplay on the show.

Occultation now bring us their live set, in-person and in real time, on MCoQ.
Their debut album, Three & Seven, is out now.

You may want to read this article.

I arise, in an unfamiliar place, with two small, red bite marks on my neck, and begin playing records, @ midnight.
Occultation @ 12:30 a.m. approx.
WFMU 91.1 FM (NY/NJ)
WMFU 90.1 FM (Hudson Valley) live on the Web, with accu-playlist and message board

Friday, April 20, 2012

Epic. Epic. Oops! Times 2 even.

Since I got the balled-fist rant out of my system with yesterday's post, I'm inclined to just rant today about the music, the main reason we're all "here." Deeper and deeper into the long-form compositions I descend, be it metal or noise, I'm wallowing in tape-side or LP-side adventures for the most part, lately anyhow.

Apparently, at least some of you are heavily in concert with that approach, as tracks by house favorites Long Distance Poison and Sewer Election, and a track by Golden Serenades all received hearty praise. We also grooved to Undergang's track from the split with Funebrarum, and I'm reminded here and now that Undergang must surely be investigated in depth by yours truly (hey, I can't be up on everything, but it was in WFMU's new bin, and it knocked me out at first listen.) Favorites Ives, hard-hitting and heart-pounding black metal, the pride of Florida, made waves with a track from their cassette single, new on PVR. And lastly (though aired first), Nyogtha are enjoying a strong run of surging psychdelia through a noise-branded sieve, and coming up with some great material; get it all for free here.

The "trouble" with a long-form-composition approach on radio is that a) I end up smoking a lot more, as I am, except for listening to these works, which I have done many x before, just hanging out; and b) I end up at 3 a.m. with an "awwwww" feeling, because I didn't get to that, that OR that. Tracks by Haare, Abazagorath, Hex Breaker Quintet, Envenomist, Social Drag, and Prowls, will just have to be woven in next week or the week after.

And next week, ahhhhhh next week; LIVE MUSIC from OCCULTATION, right here in WFMU's studio B. Don't miss it.

For now, you may click on those lovely teeth above, surrounded by the softest of skin, teeth that offer naught so much as permanent exit from one's own mortality, and an eternity of bloodlust hunger (not as pleasant as it sounds), to access the playlist, audio archive and comments board for this week's horrorcast™. Thanks for listening.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


People say that I harp on this issue, but the fact is, that I (and, therefore, the collective "we") are surrounded by believers, they dominate the populace, affecting our laws, social morés, behavior (as in what we'll say in mixed company or not) and generally fucking up everything. When people find out that I do not believe in God, they ask, somewhat surprised, even shocked, "you DON'T believe in GOD?", as if it were like thinking puppies aren't cute or something. They look right down their noses when they ask, safely in the majority, surrounded by their co-conspirators in blind acceptance, which they proudly call "faith."

Now approaching 50, I have never experienced a miracle. Imagine that! The birth of my son was wonderful, one of the best days of my life, but I do not attribute his existence to the work of a higher power or being. My (now ex) wife and I had sex, and voila! Our relative health and heath-care saw to it that our son was born and still thrives. WE did it, not "da Lawd."

My "proof," at least as incontrovertible or more so than the misty essence of human "faith," is that, in all those long nights, nights that I thought would never end, where emotional pain and suffering tore me apart, He never came. There have been many openings in my life, where I would have been susceptible to belief in a lord, a grand creator, but He never bothered with little old me. No one came. The dawn arrived, and I woke my own damn self up, and re-entered my life for another day. Bad luck, sadness, physical and emotional suffering plagued my nights, yet the opening to save me, to show me the "light," was never taken. And I suppose, if the suffering of the people of Darfur, and the many other troubled nations of the world, are not worthy of divine intervention, why would my petty suffering be? This all does not point to His "plan," there is no plan, because "He" does not exist.

Until we all live a secular existence, free from organized religion and its impositions, social constrictions and demands, we will never be safe, but always in a world of dangerous fanatics, down to the judgmental fools, who extend us their hatred, or their unrequested and unrequired pity, for our supposed "hellish" fate.

What I do believe in is the great potential of the individual, to achieve, to master and mold his or her own world, inscribed with a moral code from birth, written and mapped right there within us, at or near our solar plexus. This is all there is, and prayer may make you feel better, the essence of collective prayer may even carry some transformative power, but not because God hears, but rather because it encompasses the collective will of many individuals, who believe sincerely that their actions will have an effect. Still, no higher being is involved or even necessary.

Why does God speak to the poor, the rich, and so many in between, and not me? It's a question of those who desperately need to belong and in that, allow themselves to be duped, for the greater good of belonging, to popular opinion, and to mass acceptance. With God, as with art, as with all things, simply because so many believe, this does not point to an indisputable truth of any kind, it only means that many people are simply desperate to belong, to join a club, to like and be liked. It speaks not to quality, greatness, social or creative or artistic importance, simply because "a lot of people like it." They could be wrong, and moreover, for the most part, they ARE WRONG. I am an elitist, not because I want to be, but because my intelligence demands it, in a world of bandwagon-jumpers who desperately fear change of any kind.

God has had many chances to speak to me, to sooth my pain, to even give me the strength to sooth my own pain, yet all were passed upon. The more dire needs of a great many others are passed upon, on a daily basis, by this misty "creator" who allegedly helps so many. So don't look down your nose at me when you find out I don't believe, as we'll both suck the same dirt when we die. Your "ascension" will prove to be undelivered, lost in the mail. We are all on our own, and should not be looking for The Lord in the fractals.

As to my motivations, why this, why now—when you're expected on a weekly basis to recite the so-called "Serenity Prayer," one realizes truly how many believers there are, how deeply dangerous the potential is (as with any mob mentality), and one tends to want to scream their non-belief, rather than simply state it, because very few are listening. Simply put, this is a wiser alternative to punching my N/A meeting-leader in the face, and trashing her beliefs in a room full of those basically in agreement with her. I'm not a fool, after all, hence the not believing in God bit.

Friday, April 13, 2012

this show makes me cry

I think I know what you mean, listener Dilon in Portland—so moving, as to inspire tears of joy, and other strong emotions. Certainly, that qualification applies to last night's special radio event, exclusive music from Philippe Petit, "Electric Psalterion processed through electronics," a piece so good, so deep, that I'm still getting to know it, the morning after its worldwide debut. Philippe is an artist so generous and kind, that over three years' of correspondence between us, and at least two attempts at a live appearance, he finally just up and whipped out an amazing, multi-mood, layered piece of exclusive music for our show and WFMU. Thanks, Philippe! Damn fine. DAMN FINE, as good as any of our live, in-person performances, to be sure. Hooray! Petit saves the day, a musical superhero. As listener Adam in Portland and Lynnwood put it, and I'm grateful for the notice, "What a powerful exclusive for your fine program, Wm. Berger!"

And as was noted on the playlist, yes we are both men, Philippe and I, men and all that entails, the good and one supposes, the bad (though as to the latter, I can only speak for myself.) And as men, we are expected to be fearless, sometimes brash, but always ultimately to get the job done. And that he did.

And as to my own getting the job done, I was deeply honored and proud to be singled out in The Wire magazine's April-issue review of WFMU's Interplanetary Remixes: WFMU Interprets the Music of Sun Ra (buy here.) And shit, I better get a copy of the issue, as the May issue is already out. My reinterpretation of "Dancing Shadows" from Nothing Is..., one of my favorite Sun Ra albums, was singled out as "the most extreme," an honor I'll take with pride. There's a lot of good material on the disc, my colleagues did well, and I'm pleased to be part of a collection that is getting some well-deserved international recognition.

'Twas a lively playlist, and it was a special treat to have pals Nathan and Erica from Long Distance Poison at home listening, commenting on the board and texting me in excitement, that which comes from having a day off, and being able to stay up late and tune in, in real time.

So, which tracks superlatively dazzled the faithful? Certainly, Philippe Petit's musical magic grabbed the high honors last night. Also, he who never fails to elicit a charge—Moonknight, aka James Brown III, the hardest-working man in black metal, or one of them, recording solo as Moonknight, playing also in DARGAR and Harassor. You can acquire downloads and hard copy of the new Moonknight CD, Ligeia, and the s/t DARGAR tape via Rising Beast Recordings' bandcamp page, right here. Moonknight's Toplov also comes highly recommended. Along with the Crepusculo Negro crowd, Rhinocervs, Legion Blotan, CW Productions, Seed Stock, and a few others, this is some of the most challenging, highly original black metal being crafted today.

I'm also deeply excited for our live guest in two weeks, NY's Occultation, metal of a very different, though highly "Castle appropriate" stripe. Original, otherwordly songs, with one foot in the 70s, and gloomy, dark fortresses. Lucky me~!

Until then, here's to "man power," for all its fairs and foibles. Some of us will even polish the nails of our dead girlfriends! Click on the image above from Living Doll, to see the playlist, and peruse the audio archives, of last night's horrorcast™.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wm. Berger got me from point a to point b, and beyond.

...and that there's the testimony of just ONE satisfied MCoQ listener. MCoQ lifts, separates, scratches that itch, quiets the neighbor's dog down, and will help the end user hop from era to era, decade to decade, with only minor technology loss (ya gotta expect some.) This here's the music that gets played at your home, and sometimes on the radio, but not nearly enough, and in some cases never, but you can count on My Castle of Quiet to be "another person like you" in the world. Those who are unafraid to admit that they like a bit of that once in a while.

Music, music. Without a proper foil, a rubbery co-host to bounce off of, I'd just assume lay in deep with the endless piles of music I have to play. Some of this material has been following me to the station every week for close to a year, so it's cool to just kick back and actually play some of it. There's and endless river, starts at the top and ends at the bottom, full of great black metal, noise, grind, sludge, doom, horror soundtracks, and trailer audio to last several eonic lifetimes. The world weariness of an old vampire sets in just thinking about it.


The 22-min. Ashdautas song that fills their side of the new split with Bone Awl, on Crepusculo Negro. It's thoroughly incredible, and the BA side is especially ferocious, too.

Wretched Worst, from the Sisters' Piss II cassette. If you follow this radio show at all, WW should be known to thee like the magazines in the john. What a great band!

The Kevin Drumm & Tom Smith collaboration CDr, Mud Keeps Lifting Me Higher, on Karl Schmidt Verlag.

Hell Mary's "Hour of the Witch." Punchy.

Tracks from the new collection, The B-Music of Jean Rollin, on Finders Keepers.

Epic, French depressive from Grisâtre.

I thought it would be interesting to do this post after seeing the Bone Awl / Negative Plane / Villains show last night, as I'd likely be riding high, and a little hard of hearing. It was cool to hear Brandon from BA talk about the importance of radio, radio that "cares about this [type of] music, 'cause there aren't many." I need to hear that, and often, especially from someone like Brandon, who has worked incredibly hard for the last decade to put things out there, and help build this incredible network of do-it-yourself black metal people, labels, bands and fans, the true believers, those who will remain when the ashes of trendiness have blown away.

It helped me to remember that I'm not in this for fame and excessive notoriety, either, but for the love of the music, music whose fans do not number in the great many, nor are they the most monied, but they are the true believers, ardent and full of strong opinions and support for the sounds that provoke the most genuine emotional reaction in them. I speak of whomever it was that body-slammed me last night, the kids who crowd the merch table, and I speak of thee, Castleheads, and beyond, as our numbers grow by the week.

As far as last night goes, Bone Awl were in top form, and did a set that mixed new material from the split with some "hits" from their other full-length releases. Duly impressed and sore I am. Also amazing were Negative Plane, a band that's hard to describe, very powerful, very intricate, as Brandon put it, "black metal that is as if the Norwegian scene had never happened...purely American." Long songs, and a front-person in common (purely by coincidence) with Occultation, who will be our live guests on the April 26th/27th broadcast.

Sooner, next week, exclusive, pre-recorded sounds from Philippe Petit, who also tours our area around the same time; watch this space soon for more detailed info on Philippe's recording (donated to WFMU and MCoQ) and his upcoming shows. Facebook event listing.

For now, you may click on Roberta Findlay, in better times, from the film Take Me Naked, to access the playlist, comments, and audio archive of this week's horrorcast™. Also up top- one of my lousy photos of Bone Awl from last night's show. In my defense, I was in my defense as the picture was taken.