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Blood Rhythms’ “Heuristics” Maintains a Mood that Is Both Deep and Imaginative without Overselling

Within underground culture, reliability can vary from venture to venture. No Part of It, Arvo Zylo’s small imprint out of Chicago, is certainly among the more reliable independent organizations, issuing a stream of noisy, interesting, even downright weird music that always gives you every reason to take it seriously. No Part of It’s 2016 CD-R by Blood Rhythms, Heuristics, is another point along that line, even as understated as the disc may be.

Heuristics is a collection of odds and ends from as far back as 2001. There are reissues of tracks from compilations here, along with one-offs for events and hyper-limited releases. (“‘Mope’ was created in 2002 and was originally featured on a CD-R limited to five copies,” say the liner notes.)

As you may imagine, the result is a widely varied album touching on almost as many styles as there are tracks on the disc. Assessing the album as it presents itself—an unassuming roundup of historic moments in the life of this occasional project of Arvo Zylo and friends—allows the abrupt shifts in mood to become opportunities for pleasant surprise rather than annoyance. The versatility of this group is, obviously, a result of a lineup that changes at each iteration, retaining Zylo as the only consistent member. Loose ensembles such as Blood Rhythms have always existed, but they have never been common as keeping them alive requires as much talent for organization and management as it does an ability to recruit worthy musicians.

Arvo Zylo | Credit: Dana Day

Zylo exhibits much all-around talent on this release, as well as wide range. Even as the music changes from track to track, it remains mostly engaging with more than a few really fine moments. As it runs through the expected soundscapes and noise constructions, the album also reaches into the realms of vocal blues (as on “Mention This”) and haunted-house theatricality (“Never Fuck in the Woods”). Aside from, possibly, “In a Vacuum (Alternate Version),” which is mostly tape rumble with some vocals mixed down deep enough to be almost inaudible, everything on this CD ought to be enjoyable to any noise fan.

The deceptively unassuming quality of the entire album is encapsulated also in its cover art. A black-and-white figure, covered in thick-lettered writing, is presented in a few different poses on the front, back and inside of the CD. As images, the art is not especially striking, but the CD’s liner notes reveal that the art extends beyond the retinal. The pictures are “inspired by a dream about a child physically growing up in an instant, and the inherent side effects of such a transformation.” The concept behind the cover art is deep and imaginative, but not oversold, just the same as the sonic work on this disc and Zylo’s plentiful output, overall.

Track List:

01) In a Vacuum (Alternate Version)
02) Mention This
03) Outage
04) Mope
05) Never Fuck in the Woods
06) Maggot’s Drag (Notte Del Casu Marzu)
07) Dismissal
08) Remove All Doubt (Part One)
09) Remove All Doubt (Part Two)
10) The Stifling Air

Written by: Matthew Carey
Label: No Part of It (United States) / None / Pro CD-R, Digital
Noise / Dark Ambient / Experimental