Monday, 11 April 2011

An introduction to the world of ʄ≜uxmuℭica

I started ʄ≜uxmuℭica around 2005 after seeing Bradford Cox with two friends perform as Deerhunter in a small club in Atlanta called MJQ. The concept was and still is "real music is not popular, so lets just drown it in noise". I had this concept before I ever met Bradford or before I ever saw him perform but it wasn't until I saw them play live that I realized how I was going to do what I wanted to do. Watching Bradford play definitely helped me realize how to add the post punk flair to ʄ≜uxmuℭica. As far as the reflection of ʄ≜uxmuℭica in terms of real music, in the notation of a musical language, is not popular so and thus has lost it's face value-- to me it has sort of added an extremely fake element to our culture and society. Hence, ʄ≜uxmuℭica; I decided to take pop music structure, which I have studied, extensively used, and broken down into a few completely new terms that have become bastardized genres, and fuse it with classical structure in the most minimalistic sense; most of my recordings never have more than 4 instruments- usually 2 analogue synth lines, a sampler, and a drum machine”   -  Yorba Zergot, ʄ≜uxmuℭica

This week I am going to present to you the hitherto unseen dark side of Witch House, an artist that has been kept out of the black light of the scene right from its inception for a multitude of reasons depending on who you talk to, or who will talk about it - silence often revealing as much as any answer, if not more. Producing some of the most cryptic, challenging and futuristic music in recent memory, the Californian based Yorba Zergot, the sole artist behind ʄ≜uxmuℭica , and leader of the multimedia collective Escape Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, should be right at the tip of any mention of occult electronica.

This is not going to be easy for you. I have been listening to this music, and talking with Yorba for months and I'm still trying to find my way in to everything. Both my understanding and appreciation for this music, along with the number of releases there are have all reached critical mass, so I am giving you a whole week of ʄ≜uxmuℭica to download, listen to and viddy yourself senseless with - or more senseful, depending on how well you connect. In a recent post on Mishka, Nattymari very succinctly nails an entire ouvre in one short article,  so go there to read that before I start stumbling around any further in reach of some profundity.

Yorba's is a wandering soul, and as much as his music wriggles free of any genre you might try and leash it to, so too does his sense of place, a physical manifestation of his art's cultural collagist qualities to stay broad and fluid. What he tells me about his movements over the last few years also echoes the confrontational aspect of his music: “I kind of got burnt out on the scene in Atlanta after getting fired from every good job I ever had in that city and kind of becoming a gypsy stealing gas and making cigarette money with tarot cards. then I left North America for three and a half years. I've lived in like four or five major metropolitan areas at this point; Atlanta, San Francisco, Portland, Bangkok

He has made a name for himself within the inner circles of the Witch House scene by being a bit of a firebrand, making few concessions to the person on the other end of any messages he writes them. The first contact I had with him was off the back of a White Ring remix & video of his that I posted - his follow up thanks email was more like a hazing technique to see if I had what it took to keep him interested in me. It's easy to see how his approach could rub people up the wrong way. There's a harshness tinged with a slight bitterness at how the cards have played out for him. His tarot deck offering a glimpse of a future when he was signed up to Warp Records at the age of 17 in 2002, only to be dropped months later due to his inability to tour the US. “At the time I was making some fusion of downtempo, dark ambient and idm. After being dropped my initial reaction was to make dark electronic dance music rather than ambient or droney gazey music and to fuse it with pop and post punk elements into some sort of occult "anti-pop"

As well as sniping off at a scene he saw the dawning of “I tagged myself with "witch house" and "anti-pop" in 2007 as kind of a personal joke, I think we all see what it has grown into” he can also wax extremely generously in lucid and informative fashion, as with his post about the genesis of the Witch House genre on his page.

Even the dirgiest music amongst the horror-drone and darkwave-glitch has nothing on the level of psychological challenge Yorba's music levels at the listener. As with all insularly functioning artists, the concept of listener doesn't occur until after the event: “I don't make music for mass appeal in any sense other than I have a mass appeal to good music - this to me in most cases is classical, experimental, or avant garde music - I am a huge junkie for innovation and novelty.” Despite such a credo, one of the insatiable, indestructible elements in his music is the innate sense of pop that doesn't ever allow a traditional song-form to fall apart completely. It isn't abstract or untethered music, each track is locked into it's own unique sense of rhythm, meter, verse chorus and bridge, illustrated by the arcane glyphs and sigils that form the song titles. They may not function within the same laws of musicology that the regular listener is familiar with, but give yourself enough time in the company of ʄ≜uxmuℭica's logic and your mind will fall in with it: “All of the albums are supposed to sum up some sort of urban gothic mythological motive for market placement of inferior music (666) so I sort of transmuted that into the key of the godhead (777) by adding some scifi noir and dead wood pop melodies. I always try to communicate a deep resonance of my music with, archetypes.”

Prepare yourselves, for the next few days are going to provide you with some of the most cerebrally and aurally challenging music you will have heard for some time.


  1. Let me just start by saying that I believe almost nothing Yorba tells me, although I would not doubt that any of it was true either. In the few months I've known him I've gone from suspicion to hatred to what I believe is an actual affection, kinship and dare I say friendship. He is a liar, a trickster and an enigma.. but he is also one of the realest and most honest people I have ever met. I am proud to call him a brother in arms.

  2. This is a lovely interview. I can't add much more that nattymari has stated, it's pretty much bang on. Talk to Yorba on Skype for 5 hours and you become a new person. He's evasive yet in your face; pandering yet confronting. A true engima. His persona carries through to his music to create something truly unique, whose success is perhaps so greatly highlighted for me by the fact that: I still don't know if I love it or hate it!

    Listen, in the dark
    -Angus (The Peach Tree)

  3. Just deleted a few comments. If you're both still reading, know that this isn't the place for that kind of thing.