"Phizmiz is a completely English original who I think we should cherish deeply" - Sound Projector Magazine
"One of the most inventive composers around" - BBC Radio 3, Mixing It
"The Emperor of music!" - Thomas Ravenscroft, Channel 4 Radio
Over the past ten years Ergo Phizmiz has developed a
reputation as one of the most prolific and consistently inventive artists working today. Across the mediums of composition, radio-art, songwriting, installations, video-art, collage, and performance he has constantly kept in motion, exploring the outer-reaches of his artform.
With a record deal unlikely, radio currently provides the post-expressionist space for all his interests: writing, sound effects, field recordings, movie soundtracks, opera, religious music, rock, comedy, dada, restlessness, "things that are beyond definition ... I physically have to move on to the next place. You see, I follow my nose. My nose points in different directions." - The Wire Magazine, interview with Ed Baxter, 2003
This quote gave the title to the 2007 retrospective of Ergo Phizmiz's music, "Nose Points in Different Directions" (Womb Records), a critically acclaimed compendium of restless invention that threw the entire world of music into a huge melting pot, music originally created across many CDr releases, radio-works, installations, experiments, soundtracks, and performances.
"Unnerving, thought provoking, and inspiring, to digest what Ergo has accomplished you need to sharpen your senses and prepare for mental stimulation .... the road ahead is long and hard, but what will be waiting for Ergo at the end is as unpredictable as the music that will get him there." - God Is In the TV Zine
"Hear what this chap has been recording for the last 5 years & wonder why you still buy Squarepusher records" - Norman Records, Album of the Week
"Ergo’s not a guy to give you a drum loop to chew on for fifteen minutes like dry wood - he’ll flavour it with world spices, set it on fire, and shoot it to the stars." - MusicOMH.com
The idea of throwing the whole world of music into a vast pot took full fruition in the 2005 work "M: 1000 Year Mix" (Arts Council England), a self-explanatory title for a three hour sample collage that took a cross section of the music of human culture across the last millennium, working with an extreme precision and magnifying glass editing.
"Imagine a playlist of music spanning a complete millenium, mashed-up and masterfully mixed together so that the listener slides backward and forward through time, almost like a non-linear evolutionary chart of the sonic experience. Those who like a bit of experimentation in their music may find this composition as genius as I did. Kerouac had his "On the Road," Michaelangelo had his "David," and Phizmiz has his "M: 1000." Every artist has his masterpiece." - Jots From the Flipside
Sample and musical referencing has often been an important element in Ergo's work, and he has collaborated on a close basis across two albums, two EPs, numerous one-off radio works, and a large-scale podcast series with Vicki Bennett AKA People Like Us, one of the world's leading and most influential sampling composers.
Cover versions have been a recurring trait in Ergo's work, and he has become known for his creative approach to the songs and music of others. The Ergo Phizmiz & his Orchestra project (2003-2005) consisted of three albums "Ergo Phizmiz & his Orchestra plays Aphex Twin", in which the music of Richard D James was reinvented to sound like an Amish smartie party, "White Light White Heat", a cover of the entire second Velvet Underground album for folk, toy, and homemade instruments, and "Arff & Beef", in which 90s R & B was lovingly subjected to the Ergo treatment.
More recently Ergo has released the album "Dadaphone" with his Rock'N'Roll Machine ...
"‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ is now a romantic mandolin led waltz through medieval France in the age of Chretien De Troyes. Both pleasant and joyful his appropriation of this Eighties pap actually lends it some gravitas that the original never envisioned. By far my most favourite cover is Erasures classic ‘A Little Respect’, which in the hands of Ergo becomes a maelstrom of raw emotion played out by krautrockers noise merchants Faust. Heavy yet not ridiculous it is a pretty deserving tribute." - Monolith Cocktail
And the big boozy knees up of a covers album "Now That's We Pump at the Party", in collaboration with his band The Midnight Florists.
Ergo is also a prolific songwriter in his own right, which are scattered across his work in radio, albums, films, and installations. 2010 will see the release of the first album entirely of songs by Ergo Phizmiz, with "Things to Do and Make" on Care in the Community Recordings.
In many ways his primary outlet has been in radio, where he has produced a body of work which currently comprises more than 200 hours. He produced numerous one-offs, and four six part series of highly experimental radio-art for Resonance FM from 2001-2005, and two seasons of closely-edited sample collage with Phuj Phactory for WFMU, for whom he also created two other series of podcasts.
He has created many radio-art pieces for BBC Radio 3, including a specially created live electronic music performance broadcast; the radio-art-disco-sex extravaganza "Wholepole: The Discotheque of Erotic Misery"; the music for "Poetry Lab"; short, intense works of comedy, wordplay, sound-effects and music "Pointballing"; and the recently completed "Paul Klee, a Balloon, The Moon, Music and Me", a piece that combines techniques of animation applied to sound to create something part art-history, part science-fiction, part Broadway-musical, part programme-music, and part sound-collage.
The Dartington based radio station Soundart Radio also have an ongoing and fruitful (and fruity) collaboration with Ergo, including the premiere broadcast of the 15 hour album piece "The Faust Cycle" (Arts Council England), a vast labryinthine comedy of Surrealist despair, alchemy, scatology, monkeys, birds, magick, postmen, ventriloquism, and automata.
"The Faust Cycle" has recently been released by the brilliant Weimar based netlabel Headphonica.
A different version of a section of "The Faust Cycle" was released on Felix Kubin's label Gagarin Records. "Eloise My Dolly" was one side of an album that comprised of a split-LP with himself. The Eloise side was a radio-opera, and the other side "Handmade in the Monasteries of Nepal", a song-cycle entirely created with the mouth and a pair of blue trousers.
"He uses his mouth (and some blue trousers) here to create layers of beats, harmonies and melodies to stunning effect. An incredibly rich and often dense sound is achieved. He busts out his beat-box skills and I bet Rahzel will be shitting his pants when he clocks this. Occasionally I'm reminded of Bogdan Raczynsci's more tender moments. Half way into this side and you find yourself smiling at the sheer joy of the sounds and quality of the songwriting and the smart way it straddles and bridges pop with the avant garde, the absurd with accessible." - Norman Records, Album of the Week
Opera is a running thread also through Ergo's music. As a teenager obsessed by operetta he composed twelve. Most recently he composed the score for a puppet-opera by Patrick Sims & Buchinger's Boot Marionettes "The Snow Flea", which premiered in Marseille, November 2009. He is currently working on new material for the score of the forthcoming work "The Old Man of the Mountain" by Patrick Sims, which also features music by Ata Ebtekar. Also in the offing is a Triptych of short operas about the Renaissance, in collaboration with another regular collaborator, the Isle of Wight based composer & writer James Nye / Jack Phoenix.
Other artists Ergo has collaborated with include David Fenech, The The, Satanicpornocultshop, Safety Scissors, members of The Bees, Vernon Lenoir, Twink, and Irene Moon. He has composed film soundtracks for Christian Marclay, Zenith Pitts, Martha Moopette, Erik Bumbledonk, and Namaiki. He has a long running collaboration in radio-art, particularly sound-effects and foley production, with the sound-designer The Travelling Mongoose.
Places that have presented or facilitated Ergo's work in one form or another include Tate Modern, the Dutch Academy of Fine Art, the Royal Festival Hall, La Terra Trema Cherbourg, Kraak Festival, Worm, Extrapool, The Song is You festival Warsaw, Dartington Gallery, Sonic Arts Network, Womb Records, Vivo Records, Proot Records, PRS Foundation, Bestival, La Friche Marseille, Teatru Ariel Transylvania, King's Place, Cologne Kulturbunker, Soundart Radio, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 3, KunstRadio, Resonance FM, WFMU, WRFL, VPRO, WDR3, DFM, Cherryade Radio, and Channel 4 Radio
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