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The Beast Is Dead [2012-08-24]

Griz+zlor is one of the longer running HNW projects around. The project started in 2006, and since then it has released a steady stream of deeply dark ‘n’ bleak walled noise. Sadly early on this year it was announced the project was to finish. Behind Griz+zlor is Philadelphia based Paul Dever, and Paul kindly agreed to do an email interview with M[m] discussing the end of the project, it’s last release “Black summer”, and future projects.

m[m]:First off tell us a bit about why you decided to end the Griz+zlor  project?
Paul When Black Summer was being realized and worked on, I just knew it was entirely about depression.   Not just depression, but also the spiralling out of control road into suicide specifically. From there it was just conviction, a suicide happened, that is a finite act, so I really felt it was time for the GRIZ+ZLOR name to die

m[m]:You’ve just put out “Black Summer”- a double sixty two minute tape set, which is to be your last release under the Griz+zlor  name. Tell us a little bit about how long it took to put this release together & when do the tracks date from?
Paul It has been a little over a year and a half since Sam (phage tapes) asked me if I wanted to do a double cassette for phage, and the actual release, and to be clear that was mostly all on my end. I work real slow, and I generally don't like to rush releases out.

Paul The audio was originally recorded at the end of 2010, late November or early December, not sure which. I took about six months to let the audio seep in and then I checked back with Sam to make sure he still wanted to do it. In Sam's original e-mail to me, he mentioned wanting to go crazy with the art, since a lot of my recent art work was so heavily layer based. I've mentioned this to quite a few people, but the work that went into that j-card is insane, and Sam REALLY went above and beyond for it. I really can't thank him enough for his hard work on that. I didn't even tell Sam that this was the last GRIZ+ZLOR release until he gave me a heads up that my copies were on the way. I really wanted to keep it a secret from everybody and i had to turn down a few offers because of it sadly

m[m]:Still on the subject of “Black Summer”- the four lengthy tracks on offer here seem to be the darkest most unforgiving work you’ve produced thus far. Was this deliberate or did they just develop this way?
Paul It was really a natural progression, as I mentioned earlier, I knew when recording them from how they turned out, that this release was gonna be about depression. I have no doubts that even if I left the tracks unnamed, it'd be clear as day that this was "the end".

m[m]:What source material did you use to create the tracks on the “Black Summer” set?
Paul My recording journal is buried in storage right now, so I'm not 100 percent sure, but I think I used a cassette with some captured source audio. Nothing super overpowering like loud machinery,  but mostly ambient sounds I think. I'm always recording things for no specific reason, a lot of it gets junked though. From there it went through the usual barrage of pedals

m[m]:I believe your planning to do a book/ booklet to link in with the “Black Summer” release. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
Paul Well it's just another art booklet to offer with my copies, it's about 60 pages in length, that will very likely change between now and when I actually have the funds to print it. originally it was just a way to differentiate between my artist copies and the normal Phage release, but because I'm taking much longer than I really care to in getting it out, I  had decided to offer it to whomever may want the additional art. It's not by any necessary to understand the release, just to enhance it a bit.

m[m]:You started the Griz+zlor  in 2006- how do you feel the HNW scene has changed since your started?
Paul well, obviously it's come such a long way since there really wasn't a scene in 2006. Every year there is a few new faces on the scene doing new things, or there is a seasoned wall veteran pushing some unseen/unrealized boundary. So to me every new year is the very best year of HNW, and there is always something new to see/hear.

m[m]:What have been some of your favourite HNW releases over the last year or so?
Paul It's been a tough year financially for me,  and I haven't had internet for most of the year so I not really picked up much of anything. I have been in the HNW tape trade for this past year, so i've haven't been missing walls. I've been getting a monthly dose of new walls to listen to from the likes of dead body collection, A, ritual stance, Lungwash, Unearthed, Nervous Corps, and a few others. I did pick up the Gender Sabotage/ Ritual Stance split cdr along with the void sacrifice zine and both of them were really good. I really like Void Seance's aesthetic, if I could I'd definitely pick up anything he put out.

m[m]:Over the last year or so there have been a few acts appearing on the HNW scene that utilize lighter or pop culture themes for their releases. As Griz+zlor ‘s work is some of the darkest & grimiest walled noise your likely to come across, what are your thoughts on this recent development in lighter themes & would you ever do anything like this yourself?
Paul I think it's great that this stuff has popped up personally. It puts the a huge hole in the perceived "tough guy" mentality that mainstream noise thinks HNW is. I certainly don't see me taking this approach, just not my cup of tea.

m[m]:In September 2011 you released  the Dhusk C20-  the first work of your new project Dhusk, which has some HNW tendencies but is mainly  a mixture of dense ‘n’ dark textural ambience, brooding ‘n’ black noise drone, and sludge noise/industrial matter. Tell us a little bit about how this project came about & what you’d like to with it in the future?
Paul The idea for the label imperial.noir came first, I'd been trying to start a blackened doom/metal/noise label since I put out that wrath of the weak tape on noise back in 2007. I'd had a few false starts, but between personal issues and lack of overall interest from projects it kinda died in the water until 2011. So when I got the basic ideas down for the label, it became a no-brainer and a bit of a good platform to do something new, hence Dhusk was born. I really wanted to do something different with Dhusk, starting from a lo-fi ambient (as I liked to refer to it) direction and move ever so slowly to a more musical approach.

m[m]:What have been some of your favourite Griz+zlor  releases, and explain why they are?
Paul Nocturnal Beasts: I really feel that this (especially the 2 tape edition) was my first HNW masterpiece, not that the stuff I did before was bad, it just wasn't as incredible as this release.

Cursed Tape (and Twice Cursed for that matter): the idea behind these release has been probably my best ever. The idea that the audio ONLY survives by being copied and sold/traded away. I really wish it would have taken off more than it has, but I know there was at least 30 of the original. I know for sure I'll probably re-try something like this again at some point.

Glaciating: was my last major release before Black Summer, but I really thought I pushed the envelope with textures and process on that one.

Black Summer: besides it being my "swan song" as GRIZ+ZLOR, it's the most "emotional" release I've had in years, it's super evocative, and one of the most attractive of my releases.... EVER.

m[m]:Are there any Griz+zlor release you’d like to see reissued? And have you consider doing a box set of rare/unreleased Griz+zlor releases?
Paul  There was talk of a box set with a pretty decent label covering my early stuff, with a few new tracks. sometime during one of my personal crisis' though, I fell out of touch with said label. Almost all of it was on my GRIZ+ZLOR bandcamp at one time, a good chunk of it is still there now, so I don't really see the point of re-issues. of course, if a label was interested though I'd try to work something out, but still don't see that happening at any point.

m[m]:You’ve said you still want to carry on making HNW/ noise- can you tell us about your future project plans?
Paul I've been pretty silent this year so far, and have a few other releases on imperial.noir to get out before I do anything else, then the booklet for Black Summer but after that happens, not much. I have a few new ideas I want to implement to push the artistic boundaries of hnw/noise. I have some dhusk material that is currently sitting half done as it were, beyond that no plans right now. You know inspiration is just around the corner so that could change very quickly.

m[m]:Can you tell us a bit more about the dhusk material your working on? And does it follow a similar pattern to the self titled tape release?
Paul Right now what’s recorded is very similar, but I wanted to give it a bit more rhythm using a drum machine, but by the time I  get around to it, I may have an entirely different idea for how I finish it up. Overall I doubt you'd recognize the drums as drums though honestly.

Thanks to Paul for his time & efforts with the review. “Black Summer” is out now on Phage tapes, and can be orded direct here. Griz+zlor / related projects site is here  , and Griz+zlor’s band camp can be found  here , which features most of the projects back catalogue.

Roger Batty
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