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Auris Apothecary's 100th Release, New Video for Tyler Damon's "Softened Skull"
Posted January 06, 2015 by Taylor Peters

 

 

Yesterday I was complaining via the internet to a very patient friend about how the world seems like it's made pretty much 100% of inky blackness. Much to my surprise, in the adjacent tab, some very real humans were making short work of at least 10-15% of that inky darkness, puncturing it like so many rays of lazy metaphorical sun. This is all a very stupid way of saying that I love Bloomington's Auris Apothecary pretty much unreservedly and that the label just yesterday announced its one hundredth release putting a firm end--for at least a month or two--to my internet-based expressions of malaise. 

 

The release, which is called Centum, is out January 31, and if you're not yet familiar with the label and you want to dive headlong in to its massively varied and often thoroughly outre discography, it's an appropriately intense place to start. If you're inclined, you can also graze the playlist up top which contains a few artists who've released music on the label over the years, including John Flannelly, Oreo Jones, th'EMPIRES, and Thee Open Sex. There's a longer tour laying in wait over on BandcampCentum gathers each of the format-obsessed label's preceding 99 releases (including videos, executable files, and zines) onto a single eight gigabyte MicroSD card, something the label points out is "smaller than the size of a postage stamp."

 

Accompanying this "olive branch to dissenters of obsolete media" is a 300ml glass bottle, sealed with a cork, containing "broken glass, magnetic tape, pieces of tile, sunflower leaves, cassette shards, scouring pads, sandpaper, wax seals, elk antlers, vinyl chunks, and more"--the literal broken remains of the label's body of work up until now. It's a microcosm of the tension that the Auris has been driving at this whole time with its often difficult or even impossible to hear releases (or "anti-releases" as some of them are known, such as a 17" late cut, or a 10" made from glue). It is, as well, a dramatic signal of a new chapter for Auris Apothecary, who I imagine flung along like Walter Benjamin's description of the Angelus Novus (apparently everything Auris Apothecary-related sends me off into a swirl of hoity-toity referencing, #sorrynotsorry). You can (and should) order the thing here

 

 

Is this enough for you? Of course it isn't. I assumed as much and have accordingly brought with me another piece of Auris Apothecary media: the recently-released video for the title track off Tyler Damon's Softened Skull (a record so great even noted curmudgeon Byron Coley gave it a shout out in print in The Wire). For all it's black and white and close-up visual simplicity, it's a rush to watch, with tight, sharp editing and direction from Auris' Dante Augustus Scarlatti. And that final shot, when Damon stares you down, the whole stuttering thing shoots off shivers--up until then we hadn't even seen his face. 

 

Softened Skull came out earlier this year on cassette via Auris Apothecary, and Damon's got a CDr version planned on the horizon via his own Yoke imprint. 

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