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Abstinence

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Abstinence

Archived information from 1997.

Abstinence ["abstaining from what people think is music"] was formed in 1985 by Darryl Hell in the heart of the "alternative rock " ridden New Jersey Shore. The original structure of the project was Darryl Hell [voc, bass, tape loops, radio squelch, rhythm programming] & Steve Herring [bass, tape loops, voc]. They began their first performance with a 5 minute wall of deafening feedback. They said it would, "weed out" the crowd. Barricaded behind teetering mountains of tape machines and a Roland Echoplex, with only their bass necks protruding, the area was about to see it's first experimental/industrial performance. This roster would last for three years with the later addition of Bill [guitar] and J.Burns [guitar, tape loops, programming, voc]. In 1988 Darryl Hell took full control over the project, which brought about the Fear Faktor 1 performance. He had gone through many personal struggles that had originally guided him in a direction of depression based lyrics and themes. After moving through the deeper throws of emotions over his mother's [at age 13] and father's [at age 24] death, Hell wanted to focus on the things in society that effected many more people, besides just himself. This would be the first solo production by Hell. Recorded on Ross 4x4 Series 2 4-track, these tapes were raw and abrasive, though they embraced a rather high sound quality. Abstinence although originally created as more of a gothic industrial project had turned their anger outward. Powertools, chains, oil drums, scrap metal and a strong arsenal of sociopolitical analysis were used to achieve their accent to Hell's vision of the next level. Television monitors had been an integral part in their performances in reference to the video. Now they had a prominent position within the audio sphere of the project as well. The "Fear Faktor 1" performance would be a far departure from their previous performances. Transformed into a kind of "industrial orchestra" composer, he utilized a myriad of the top talent in the area from many different backgrounds. Jerry Franklin [progressive metal], Bill & Tommy Latshaw [metal-punk / hardcore-thrash], Tommy Walling [progressive metal-punk / hardcore-jazz], Mark Yard [zappa-jazz-progressive metal], Mike Scrivani [punk/hardcore-metal-progressive metal]. The performances that followed would incorporate different musicians for different songs in various combinations.

Now structurally sound within the mind of Hell, Abstinence was able to grow and mature. In 1991, Abstinence took on Mike Roberts [powertools, instrument fabrication, stage design] and Eloise Mourning [dancer]. Mr. Roberts was exactly what Hell was looking for in a permanent member. He had very little formal knowledge of musical composition, although he had an extremely strong grasp of musical emotion and rhythm. Hell wanted this in a member because he hated the contrictions that intrinsically abound in people with more traditional musical training. M.G.R. would take a path most musical artists only dream about. His second live performance ever would be headlining at the legendary Palladium Ballroom, New York City. While performing with bands such as Killing Joke, Pigface, Emergency Broadcast Network and KMFDM, they completed the "Multiple Cross Wounds" performance and video. Immense layering, dissonant polyrhythms and strong sociopolitical themes would now become their trademark. In 1992 they came in contact with Silent Records, San Francisco, CA. The owner Kim Cascone and Darryl Hell had many things in common. Having both revolved in the New York subculture of the 70's-early 80's, they had a perspective that was not generally seen by people that shared a later generational experience. The Furnace imprint on the Silent label had just been formed and was seeking a roster. The video "Multiple Cross Wounds" and soundtrack were sent. A board meeting would decide Abstinence would be their first full signed project. <Hell became the Director of A & R for Furnace Records in 1994.>

Furnace was originally interested in releasing "Multiple Cross Wounds", but Hell wanted to produce and release his new performance "Revolt of the Cyberchrist". During the 13 months of production, they met John Bechdel<killing joke/prong/murder inc.> and Paul Raven<killing joke/pigface/prong>. J.B. performed on five of the thirteen pieces. The fusing process between the artists seemed to be almost instantaneous. Which was thoroughly apparent throughout the sessions. The final product embodied all that Hell had envisioned for Abstinence. Furiousity and abrasive soundscapes twisted into machine rhythm groove structures.

The next full length performance/cd for the project would be "Theorem". Based on the idea, "...that an artist, when taking the role as the social critic, if driven in the correct direction will produce work that will equally entertain and inform." That goal was achieved. Paul Raven would come on board for this effort. By the middle of performing the "Revolt", J.B. became a full member of the project which made him an integral part of the creation of "Theorem". The "Theorem" live performance would encompass tracks from both "Revolt" and "Theorem". At the last two performances they added two tracks from "Multiple Cross Wounds". Since Abstinence doesn't abide by the "dragging out the hits" philosophy, it was a treat for the people who had seen the evolutionary growth of the project. This line-up would go through an unwanted and drastic change. Financial problems with the label brought about by a problematic distribution situation, resulted in the sale of Silent Records. The new owner had no real interest and saw no financial viability in the "industrial" genre, so Furnace Records three years after it's birth had come to a close. In addition a split between M. Roberts and girlfriend/Abstinence dancer Eloise Mourning precipitated a retiring of both from the project.

Abstinence now is <studio> Darryl Hell, John Bechdel {With some special guests} //<>\\ <stage> Darryl Hell, John Bechdel and dancer Brian Walters {from NYC}. They are currently working on their third release entitled "Kontrol Faktor". "Kontrol Faktor" will be a return to the pre-"Revolt" Abstinence with all future motivations entact. It is not certain what label they will go to, but this is of no real concern to them. Their concern is to produce their best effort to date, of which they are well on their way.

This is a total chronology of the Abstinence's performances. Some recordings of these still exist and will be re-mastered for a future release.

Performances 1985-1997

1985 Tomorrow's Too Late

1986 Tomorrow's Too Late {A Re-worked performance.}

1987 Breaking Point

1988 Fear Faktor 1

1989 Bloody Eyes Drowning

1989 Last Rights

1990 Digital Animosity

1992 Multiple Cross Wounds

1994 Revolt of the Cyberchrist

1995 Theorem

1997 Kontrol Faktor

{note} In 1987 Abstinence had the track "Level 7" from the "Tomorrow's Too Late" performance featured on the soundtrack of the Alva Skateboards' video "Backyard Glances" during the skating segment of Jim Murphy. {Notable bands on soundtrack include Janes' Addiction, Joy Division, T.S.O.L., and Sonic Youth.}

Discography


[1994 "Revolt of the Cyberchrist" full length CD )*(

[1994 "Frigid" 12" vinyl ep )*(

[1995 "Hellscape" )*(

[1995 "Theorem" full length CD. )*(

[1995 "New Industries" compilation on Dynamica Records, Germany. Notable projects include Killing Joke, Die Krupps, Oomph!, Swamp Terrorists & Cubinate.

[1995 "Hellscape 2" )*(

[1996 "Operation:Beatbox" compilation on Reconstriction Records, CA, USA {

[2003 "Ikebana : Merzbow's Amlux Rebuilt, Reused And Recycled
" remix compilation on Important Records, MA, USA {

)*( = released on Furnace Records }


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