Archive for the vuzh music news Category

In memory of Ian C Stewart

Monday, 06 June 2023

yesterday i learned that my friend Ian C. Stewart died.

Ian was a music enthusiast with a massive appetite for listening to new music. He was an obsessive fan of two bands, XTC and KISS, and participated in forums and bootleg trading networks for both.

He was also a heavily active musician during the time i knew him, recording solo music as Samarkand, and under his own name, and playing in groups, most notably Devilcake – the Satanic metal band whose lyrics were all about food, which had some notoriety and reknown in the Columbus Ohio area – and the drone collective Drone Forest, which included me among its members.

He wanted to do music and think about music and write about music and boost music to others all the time. He began a zine called AutoReverse for reviewing music by hometapers. this became a very valuable resource for the community, even if it didn’t have the higher profile and readership of Gajoob Magazine which was the only other publication that bothered to treat hometapers as though they were real musicians worth paying attention to. a few years after AutoReverse stopped publishing, he began a music magazine called Mouthy, for which he had higher aspirations for it to be a more professional endeavor, with greater reach. this proved a bigger challenge than he was able to manage, but he did admirably well professionally editing, printing and distributing it himself.

Ian was an enthusiastic and encouraging presence, always pushing people to do, to create – however much of his encouragement tended to push people into projects he was working on. i don’t say that with any regret or anything, i always loved working on Ian’s projects with him and his various teams. he was an energetic force and really brought diverse people together to do things.

we never met in person or actually spoke on the phone or anything, our whole relationship was by mail or over the internet, but it was still a pretty deep connection.

we met by mail in the early 1990s, maybe 91? 92? i had recorded some music on tape, and had discovered the hometaping underground, and was trading tapes with anyone who sent me something. Ian was one of the earliest people who sent me a tape out of the blue, i don’t know how he got my address. he was definitely the first to be very enthusiastic about my tape, he wrote a very flattering response to it, and it was authentic on his part, because he would bring up how much that tape meant to him many years later.

we began a correspondence and wrote each other frequent, long letters until around 2000 when i finally got a computer and could start doing email, then we emailed each other maybe even more frequently than we exchanged letters. in early years of the internet and the filesharing boom, Ian was deep into it. because we lived in the mountains well out of town, the best internet connection we could get was 128 kbps over a very, very noisy, rough phone line, so filesharing was something i couldn’t really do. when Ian found this out, about every two weeks he’d mail me 5 or 6 CDrs with mp3s he had downloaded, i’d listen and we’d write back and forth about whatever weird shit he found online.

i wrote reviews and did a few interviews for both AutoReverse and Mouthy. i also spent four years recording with Drone Forest, that was Ian, Dave Stafford, Mike Bowman and i. we had a shared FTP where we’d upload sound sources and each of us would mangle them and make music with them. it was an inspiring and fruitful collaboration for a while.

Ian would give really amazing, deep feedback on any of my music i sent him, it was so supportive, i always appreciated that and relied on him for that.

if we had one key disagreement (aside from his love of the very shitty band KISS) it was about the effort i would put in to the details of music. i would work very hard to make things sound the way i wanted them to sound, maybe spending hours on a tiny little sound that was mixed low. that was incomprehensible to him, and an utter waste of time in his opinion. Ian’s approach was fast, easy, have fun and it’s done. that was never my way.

it was sometime in the 00s that he started talking about his mother’s failing health. she had a degenerative disease called Huntingtons. if you know what this is, you know it is a horror. if you don’t know, imagine what Parkinsons disease does to the body and then add to that what Alzheimers disease does to the brain. the disease eats away at the person’s body and their personality to the point where they’re almost unrecognizable as the same person. Ian had almost no extended family, and so he ended up as the sole caregiver for his mother as she withered away and finally died. it was really rough on him.

Huntingtons is passed down genetically, when he finally got tested, and was positive it really destroyed him emotionally. he had seen firsthand what it does to a person, and knew in his thirties that basically he had no hope for a fully developed life, no real hope for a future. i tried to be as supportive as i could, but damn, how can you help with something that heavy?

after his diagnosis, if i remember right, he had about five or six years before he started to really show signs of cognitive decline.

we had some disagreements about Drone Forest in the late 00s which i think made us both feel a little burned. it was nothing major, but we wrote less and less often. eventually he had some housing problems and he lost his computer i think, and we fell entirely out of touch after about 2019. he was moved into a care facility in late 2020 after a hospital stay. i only heard news of him in these final years because my partner FaceBook-followed one of the few people who still visited and cared for him in his last years. as i mentioned earlier, he had no extended family and was basically alone for those years. he lived half the country away, so i couldn’t visit.

every person’s end is sad, but Ian really got the absolute shittiest hand dealt to him. no one deserves Huntingtons, it’s a monumentally cruel disease.

i am thankful to have known my friend Ian, aka Icy Stew, i am grateful for my strengths that i owe to his influence.

Ian has two bandcamps of his solo work, I don’t know where payment goes now, but here they are:

I have always been specifically fond of Pitch Wheel on the SamarkandOhio page.

Drone Forest has a bandcamp where you can hear our work together, several albums were made by him using sound sources from the rest of the group, notably the first one (Drone Forest I) the 10 hour dronefest Meta:Drone and the 28 hour Pieces of MEGA (which all i was able to recover of his 100 hour drone project). Honey is also one of his i think came out beautifully.

The Satanic / food themed metal band Devilcake has a bandcamp as well:

the following WordPress site contains later reviews and interviews as a continuation of AutoReverse, done from 2011 to 2016. I am saving it at the Wayback Machine, because I don’t know what the details are of it being online, or how long it will last there:

Wayback Machine saved version of the AutoReverse wordpress site:

Some of the contents of the original AutoReverse zines were archived on this old Tripod site, similarly i am saving to Wayback Machine, despite this being patchy

Wayback Machine saved version of the Autoreverse archive:

2018 Releases

Saturday, 12 December 2018

So, I wasn’t very good about updating this blog when I had an album release this year. Sorry about that, heh heh.

Here is a catch-all post to announce each of my releases for 2018.

In January, Dubbed Tapes put out a split release with myself and Kirsty Porter. At the time of this writing there are still 4 copies available. I really like the piece I did for the tape, it’s titled “The Science of Inattention”, it features some experiments with sine waves and some field recordings all collaged together.

Next up, in April, there was a release called Pairs of Opposites Imply Unity containing recordings of two live performances from 2017. It’s some very intense electronic drone music. There was also a tape release of this one on Illuminated Paths.

In May, I released a compilation of some early, mostly unreleased music, mostly from my 4-track days. It was the second volume of early music, titled Young Music, vol 2.

In July, I released an album of lo-fi psychedelic minimalism called Sun Kinks that I had finished several years earlier and submitted to several different labels for release, unsuccessfully. People seemed to like it, though, which made me happy.

Finally, in October, I released Disappointment Engine, a collection of new work from late 2017 & early 2018 that’s insistent, minimalist, psychedelic synth music.

Thanks to anyone who listened to what I did this year!

Listening After the End

Monday, 08 August 2017

I have a new release to announce. It is the result of a major project undertaken this past Winter / Spring.

In Summer 2016, my friend Denver-based writer and musician Cody Yantis prompted me to do an album of all acoustic sources. Over the next many months I recorded many hours worth of improvisations with non-electric musical instruments and oddsorts, and collected field recordings. These were arranged, and multi-tracked with no processing other than EQ and compression.

I’m quite proud of how this came out, it really feels like a marker of that time in my life.

This new pro-dubbed cassette, dubbed in an edition of 50 on chrome tapes is available to purchase on Reno Park Press:

The label describes it like this:

“Listening After the End is a study of one’s immediate environment, of the resonant potential of what surrounds us. A frozen stream. A passing train. A ceiling fan. The wind. A cat plays; someone sneezes; an autoharp lets out a long hum. These vignettes–textural, spacious, and sonorous–are wonderfully evocative pieces that, when taken as a whole, form a vibrant sonic life, one that revels in the animus to be found in even the subtlest of things.”

If you are unable to purchase the new cassette due to lack of funds, or perhaps you don’t have the means to play tapes, well worry not. There is also a free-to-download version that you can find right here:

Each comes with a diary-like text describing what it was like to record each section of sound that you can hear on the album.

Thank you for your attention.

Upcoming show, August 12, Denver

Monday, 08 August 2017

I’m pleased to be performing on a fantastic bill of music by several of my friends & respected colleagues this coming Saturday. I’ll be playing alongside Offthesky + Radere, Stephen Karnes + Cody Yantis and the touring folk-dronester Andrew Weathers. Pretty unmissable lineup, if you ask me.

The show will also be an informal release party for my brand new cassette release “Listening After the End”, out on Cody Yantis’ superb Reno Park Press.

CELE pt. ZONE Full Spectrum Showcase
Saturday, August 12th @ 8pm
Bar Max
2412 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206
For more info, ticketing and/or to RSVP click the link:

Young Music, Vol. 1

Sunday, 07 July 2017

Beginnings are a bit arbitrary, for some reason I set my year one of music making as 1991, even though I have recordings going back well into the 1980s.
Thinking back that 2016 was the 25th anniversary of that arbitrary date, it occurred to me to package up some of my early work that was currently unavailable. There are three volumes of this now planned.

Here is the first volume:

Young Music, Vol. 1

This first volume of collected early works spans the years 1988 to 1997, from when I was sixteen to twenty-six years old. It spans a period of time when I used many different ways to record music: first by borrowing equipment from friends, or by layering sounds by bouncing from one tape player to another – to a Fostex 4-track recorder – to an early hard-disk recorder, the Roland VS-880 – before I finally started doing work on computer (none of which you’ll hear on volume I, but there’s a smidge of it on volume II). Herein I explore a lot of areas of interest that I no longer find interesting, so there may be some novelty at that material, but there’s a surprisingly cogent expression of ideas I still use today on some material. This was a time when I had very little clarity on what I actually wanted to explore in music, and correspondingly, a lot of the stuff now is a little embarrassing to one degree or another. I can look past it because I know that I was really into what I was doing then, and I can hear myself fumbling awkwardly toward some of the things I’m doing now. Maybe in another twenty years I’ll look back on my current stuff with some embarrassment, who knows? Most of the tracks on Young Music vol. 1 feature the guitar, an instrument I relied on during my early years, but have since all but abandoned. All of this is lo-fi as fuck, much of it goes on for too long, and some of it may annoy. I fought the urge to completely remix and edit this material. Instead, all tracks are derived directly from mixes I made (either to tape or DAT) at or near the time I originally recorded the stuff.


Sunday, 07 July 2017

An album of field recordings and “acoustic noise”

Free to download:

Upcoming Performance

Tuesday, 07 July 2017

I’m playing a show on this upcoming Friday, July 7 in Boulder.

If you’re nearby, and you’re into drone / noise you’re welcome to come.

Here’s the event link on … (eughhh) Facebook (shudder) …

And here’s a cool poster:

Chew Cinders

Saturday, 02 February 2017

I’m very pleased to announce a new release on the excellent Midnight Circles tape label!

Chew Cinders is out now, available in free download or limited casssette C-26!

This music was recorded in Summer 2016, and I’m particularly happy with it. It’s the first music released that I made after my near-fatal illness in late 2015.

The Midnight Circles label describes the work very well:

C. Reider – “Chew Cinders” C-26. 2 part sound-collage by C. Reider (USA). Great and dense combination of droning electronics, pitched voices and field-recordings. “Chew Cinders” possesses a resonating rhythm, sometimes flowing, sometimes cut-up in nature and blends generated and found sounds to an intriguing unity.

Both parts of ‘Chew Cinders’ focus strongly on the manipulation of time and pitch. Throughout the record chunks of voice & field-recordings are slowed down and mixed into a sweeping array of synthesizers and noisier drones that evolve into long and dense passages from time to time. The cut-up character of the album blends electronics, effect-manipulations and field-recordings into a varied sound collage with parts that change abruptly in tone while other passages fade slowly into one another. ‘Chew Cinders’ combination of sounds spans from generated, synthetic tones to recordings of metals and bells, anonymous rooms as well as anonymous voices.

I strongly encourage you to look into the other releases on the label as well. Midnight Circles releases some really high quality stuff.

New tapes!

Sunday, 08 August 2016

I’ve just released two DIY cassettes. They’re both limited editions too, small run, so get yours!

Sophist I


Sophist II


From the description:

This is a series of very rough tracks, mostly improvised, experimenting with the integration of drum machines into my noise setup. These tracks are not very composed & polished.

Digital version will not be released until a later date. Buyers of the cassette do get a pile of download codes to giveaway if they want to.

Azure Bell, Midnight Well

Thursday, 06 June 2016

Thirteen years after our previous collaborative effort, I’m happy to announce the release of “Azure Bell, Midnight Well” by C. Reider and Tarkatak. The new release expands on the industrial ambient of the first album “The Druser Pricid“, with a more atmospheric, place-evoking release of edgy ambient music.

Frans de Waard said of our original collab: “Both guys really know how to create a psychedelic atmosphere in sound, with dark soundscapes and hallucinating loops, analogue synths and processed guitar sounds. Like said, the music here is very much related to Troum, but has a particulary strong voice of its own.”

I hope you will take the time to download & listen to this new work.

Link to Azure Bell, Midnight Well

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