TOTAL was released as a CDr on October 31, 2001 to on the Total Zero label (TZCD05/06) in an edition of 50 copies. This was Phÿcus’ final release, given to Phÿcus members and friends as a way to say thanks and goodbye. It was Phÿcus’ 3nd release on CDr, and 20th release overall. The original liner notes follow:
Following thirteen years of sonic terror, the collective energy that was Phÿcus' lifeblood bas dissipated.
Members of the band, myself included, are busy working on personal projects, leaving little energy for a
mammoth undertaking like Phÿcus. I don't think anybody expected this band to ever end, but as the Neoists
say, "Nothing lasts forever”. This band is finished.
I have always viewed Phÿcus' output to be part of one gigantic artistic work, a thirteen year long performance
piece of sonic mayhem-making, performance fukking, cultural vandalism, visual art eye-stabbing, sculptural
destruction and poetic annihilation. We have already seen artists create year-long performance pieces and
installations that can be seen from space, and I believe the future trend will be multi-year-long and even lifelong
performance pieces. Art is not the picture hanging over your couch. Art is how you live your life. So it is
with Neoism, which is why I have found Neoist ideals appealing and inspiring to me. Phÿcus' re-use of certain
images, sounds and terms, such as Total, Blood, Zero and X are part of the unifying theme that runs
throughout all of our work. This 2 CD set runs parallel to our 3 LP set X released In 1998. The CDs Included
here Total: Blood and Total: Zero represent the work of two different Phÿcus trios, one with myself and two
Toronto members of the band and one with myself and two Montreal members of the band, demonstrating both
the difference between their approaches and cohesion of the overall direction. As an aside, I did plan at one
point to make this a 3 CD set, including a Total: Gold" CD featuring the Ottawa trio, but that would have been
just too costly to produce and this trio is already represented on the Japanese release "Yelling And Screaming
And Jumping Up And Down" as well as the Québec Bruit compilation. (Note: The Québec Bruit compliation
never was released. Total: Gold is included here as bonus cuts.)
Recorded March 15, 2000 by Steve Markowsky, Chloe Lum and Brian Damage at Unireversal Studios,
Montreal, mixed by Brian Damage. This was the first Phÿcus session based on processed turntable loops, an
excellent and underutilized noise-making technique introduced to Phÿcus by Steve Markowsky. In the first
section, the main loop is taken from a steel drum album, with some Moog bass rumbling, loops from spoken
word albums, a whale sounds flexi-disc and bits of Quiet Riot’s "Cum On Feel Da Noize". The middle section is
mostly Steve's loops - l'm not sure what they're from; a lot of vinyl was flying around the studio at that point -
plus some loops from our "X" LP and a Scottish jig EP. The final section is based on a loop taken from a military
Sound effects LP, more Moog, more loops from Steve and Chloe's hyper-kinetic Theremin playing, pushing it
beyond any manufacturers specifications. We intentionally left the Theremin virtually unprocessed to retain as
much of the raw sound as possible. We also tried to use the sound of the vinyl popping and crackling as much
as we tried to use the sounds recorded on It. We aIso sought to make sure that the loops were all going at
different tempos to create Steve Reich style phasing and rhythmic dissonance - another underutilized noisemaking
technique that l'm sure is gonna explode as soon as the dnb crowd figures it out!
In addition to the noise produced during the recording process, two other sources of noise emerged during the
mixing and mastering process. About ten minutes into the piece, there is a few seconds of drop out on the tape
I considered cutting this out of the mix, but finally decided to leave It In since this is a noise recording and I liked
the evilness of having the drop out Interrupt the hypnotic flow of the steel drum loop.
(Note: Many years later, this seemed like not such a good idea, so the drop-out has been removed.)
I aIso discovered that byopening and closing programs on my computer during the mastering process,
I could randomly introduceadditional "skips" In the music. The first instance of this appears about 12
minutes into the piece and is used sparingly throughout. Props to Severed Heads' classic "Gashing
The Old Mae West (Marathon MIx)" for providing Inspiration for the mix.
Recorded January 1,2000 by Bill Satan, Virginia Blood and Brian Damage at the International Bureau of
Recordist Investigations, Toronto, mixed by Bill Satan. The first Phÿcus recording of the new millennium! In the
first section, we have Virginia playing the Rinklebaum, one of the few historical noise-making instruments
whose roots dates back to the middIe ages, which made a previous appearance on our CD "Only Fire And
Death' during the title track. The Rinklebaum looks like a one-stringed washtub bass, except with a metal box
instead of a washtub, with various small pieces of metal attached to it. To play it, one can bow or pluck the
string, bang on the metal box, and rattle the pieces of metal. A really versatile unit! Here, the Rinklebaum is
being bowed, producing the whale sound like high frequencies. AIso appearing in the first section we've got Bill
on a vintage Yamaha analog keyboard and myself producing low notes on the Theremin. The second section
has Bill droning on the Yamaha, myself doing some radio-tuning type sound on the Moog, and Virginia adding
some home made sound-producing devices to the mix. The final section sees Bill setting up a rhythm on the
Yamaha and adding some Casio SK sounds, Virginia on Theremin and myself on the Moog. Our fascination
with "old skool” sounds comes not from nostalgia, but from a genuine interest In the sounds themselves.
Brian Damage October 31,2000.
released October 31, 2000
Brian Damage – Turntable, Moog MG-1, Theremin, Mixing
Steve Markowsky – Turntable, Metal
Cloe Lum - Turntable, Theremin
Brian Damage –Moog MG-1, Theremin
William “Bill Satan” Davison - Yamaha keyboard, Casio SK-1, Mixing
Sherri “Virginia Blood” Higgins – Rinklebaum, Theremin
Brian Damage –Casio CZ-1, Moog MG-1, Mixing
Jester Sven (Dave Brown) – Roland Juno 60 (low frequency specialist), Feedback Devices
Otis Wound (Jason Chambers) – Roland Jupiter-8 (high frequency specialist), Electric Hammers
Cover Design By WA Davison and S. Higgins.
Booklet photos by Otis Wound.
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