Von Bingen

“What’s left on earth for me to put on the phonograph? he murmured sarcastically. You’d really think that fate allowed my instrument to appear only at the moment when nothing that man says is worth preserving anymore…”
-Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, L’Eve Future


Von Bingen

Bass Phase, EMS Synthi AKS, Drumfire – Joshua Stevenson 
Electric Guitar, Arp Omni Ii, Serge Modular – Daniel Presnell 
Buchla Electric Music Box – Richard Smith
Flute, Clarinet, Maestro Sound System For Woodwinds – Jenni Pace Presnell 

Recorded at Miss Carousel, June 2008
By J. Stevenson & D. Presnell
Mixed & Treatments by Joshua Stevenson
Artwork By Incomparable Industries
Released on vinyl by Amen Absen, 2009

We would like you to consider owning Von Bingen’s self titled first lp either for your own personal betterment, or for the betterment of your patrons. To aid you in this endeavour, we submit the following summary of biographies, impressions, and predictions. 

Von Bingen began life when husband and wife duo Jenni Pace and Daniel Presnell (Astral Blessing) temporarily suspended Hildegard (their east coast group of clangorous misfits), and relocated to Vancouver, BC where they soon met Josh Stevenson (aka Magneticring, and one-time JOMF member), and Richard Smith. 

Influenced by histories of conceptual art practices and electronic and outsider music native to the west coast, Von Bingen’s sound is at once reminiscent of distant sonics, such as those found in the labs of 60’s SF pioneers, or overheard in Berlin’s Zodiac Club in the early 70’s, while also anticipating the drone of future decades. Folk forms gleefully mutate, reborn as new hybrids, dignified by analog modular and semi-modular synthesizer systems from Serge, Buchla, and EMS. Instruments such as the flute, clarinet, guitar, and the drum are defamiliarized through quixotic treatments, originating from experimentations in the band’s studio. By rescuing tones, processes and technology from dusty desuetude, Von Bingen happens upon a unique retrofit for advanced audiences that is sure to confound, if not altogether please. 

Within the grooves of this lp, you will not find full-fledged allegiance to current fashions, nor will you find some light loop of cheap sensations, hollow-core historical reenactments, or facsimile sentiments. In fact, we are not sure what you will find at all, and that is the beauty of nature, a potentially infinite system of chances, where the opportunity to un-learn is as important as the opportunity to learn; where memories possess the power to eclipse experience; where all history becomes synesthesia. Join Von Bingen in this new Eden, and by all means, have an apple.
F.O.L. Ministries, September 2009 

Record Reviews

Head Heritage, UK
“Von Bingen is an epic pre-settlement statement in the Zodiac Mountain mould, displaying at all times a riotous & Luddite attitude to sonic imbalance, every cranky outburst putting me further in the mind of the Soviets’ attitude to technology – all monobrow melodies over monolithic rhythms played through scratchy tannoys in the rain. … oh, and replete with the singular sounds of the legendary Buchla synthesizer. Your commune, your allotments, your manifesto and your Buchla synthesizer. What more could the revolution need?”
Julian Cope, Address Druidion

Volcanic Tongue Mailorder UK
New LP from a group that was born from the ashes of the great Hildegard, featuring Daniel Presnell (Feed & Seed Records et al) and Jenni Pace in collaboration with Richard Smith and Joshua Stevenson (Magneticring/Jackie-O Motherfucker). Besides electric guitar and flute the sound is dominated by deep space smears of vintage electronics, EMS Synthi AKS, Buchla Electric Music Box, Arp Omni 2, Serge Modular… taking their high gothic soundtracks into the same cold, abstract zone as early Kluster, Eruption et al. Most of the instrumentals are propelled by slow motorik rhythms, over the top of which shadows of electro-drones and minimally wailing electric guitar envelope the constructs with all of the inexorable gravity of the more stoned Ash Ra tracks.

Aquarius Records, San Francisco, CA
Early ’70s krautrock stylings by way of Canada circa 2009, all the while channelling the visionary plainsongs from the 12th Century abbess Hildegarde Von Bingen! This Von Bingen began when two members of an East Coast psychedeliclatter project called Hildegard moved to Canada, met up with one of satellite members of Jackie O Motherfucker, and rebranded themselves. While the nature of the earlier band has escaped us, this Von Bingen has emerged fully formed, crawling out from the same primordial soup that spawned the likes of Amon Duul II, Hawkwind, Psychic Ills, Bardo Pond, and The Wooden Shjips. Yeah, they’re pretty damn good! 
A subdued yet motorik rhythm sets the stage for the opening track circled with interlocking guitars, electronics, and bass right out of the songbook of Faust IV, all of which are brought into relief with a sporadically used melodic jump out of the dronerock mentality. A paranoiac piece of incidental music links these grooves with droning lament for flute, giving way to a subterranean plod that almost sounds like a Throbbing Gristle piece remade a decade earlier as a transgressive piece of psychedelia laced with weird horns and Arabesque guitar leads. The flipside begins with an extended piece of cosmic ritualism through sustained mod synth drone and church organ tones twisting along side more of that wistful flute and gradually coalescing into a proto-Suicide pulsation of psychedelic electronics and downer melodies. The finale of the album centers upon a dazed guitar riff coming in and out of focus amidst the druggy atmosphere of synth drones, simple bouts of percussion, freeform flutes, and squeals of electricity. To say this is a trip is quite the understatement. Do not let this one pass you by!

Mimaroglu Music Sales
certainly far away from the current batch of post-emeralds synth-droners, these guys are blazing a different kind of saddle, taking in influences as diffuse as early suicide, “iv” era faust, hell, even a kind of gary glitter-esque schaffel that’s uniquely their own … highly recommended !!!

Weird Canada
In the not-too-distant future, Joshua Stevenson will be listed in the canon of modern Canadian synthesia. Earlier this year we saw the release of Josh’s debut into meanderonic minimalism via his solo project magneticring. Meanwhile, an ensemble of Vancouver-area heavyweights (including Josh), titling themselves Von Bingen, reared a massive, ugly head in the latter half of the annum with a difficult-to-find LP of perturbed disquality. Channeling the early fuse of Irrlicht-era Klaus Schulze with droning, distorted guitar fanfare amongst cathedrals of unorganic chambers, Von Bingen subjects you to a sexcellent multi-textual unification of analog-electro genius. Pulsing mechanics, forced dualities, and atonal guitar workouts part the static stasis within the dark shadows of your listening cosmos and reveal the inner beat of our earthic tunings. Part psychedelic, part synthetic, part experimental, but as a whole, rewarding on multiple listens; an entity better heard than read. Packaged with a loving, two-colour essay.