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Baphomet

by Retribution Body

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Baphomet 33:09

about

As winter gives way to the spring thaw, Full Spectrum Records welcomes Matthew Azevedo’s Retribution Body into the fold, who graces us with their immense new work, ‘Baphomet.’ The official follow-up, of sorts, to releases for Glistening Examples and Type Records, ‘Baphomet’ stands tall as a roaring statement of intent, all visceral sturm und drang, utterly enveloping drone, and infrasonic frisson.

Drawing a direct line between the acoustic sensibilities of Pauline Oliveros, with whom Azevedo studied at Rensselaer Polytechnic in 2010, and the earth shattering sonics of doom titans SUNN O))), the focus of the Retribution Body ethos has always been centered on the behavior of physical sound in space, combining eurorack synthesis with a custom backline amplification rig dubbed the “Siege Tower.” This behemoth system is capable of putting out a clean 117 dB sine wave at 20 Hz and thus far has proven indestructible, despite Azevedo’s most deliberate efforts.

Where albums like ‘Enemy of the Good,’ ‘Aokigahara,’ and ‘Self-Destruction’ aimed to capture the effectively physical experience of Azevedo’s live performances to varying degrees of success – an early master of ‘Self-Destruction,’ in fact, carried so much low frequency information that it produced virtually no sound whatsoever on common consumer-grade speakers – they set out to create a more expressly listening-focused work. After being brought in to handle some acoustical consulting at Methuen Memorial Music Hall and hearing their 160 year old Great Organ, replete with 85 stops, 6,088 pipes and a frequency range that extends down to 16 Hz, and the hall’s natural four-second reverberation, Azevedo knew that this would be the birthplace of ‘Baphomet.’

After capturing several hours’ worth of material, Azevedo set about whittling this raw mass of sonic material in a coherent whole. During this process, they kept returning to the image of Baphomet, the idol of the Knights Templar’s heretical mystery religion that was given modern form in the illustration of Eliphas Levi’s 1856 book ‘Rituel de la Haute Magie.’ Often misappropriated in popular culture as a symbol of Satan, Baphomet’s true nature is one of universal duality – human / animal, male / female, light / dark, above / below. As a nonbinary-identifying, neurodivergent person, this symbolism resonated deeply with Matthew and reflected what they heard in this music – sound / vibration, acoustic / electric, loud / inaudible – culminating in the pairing of their modern electronic synthesizer and the Memorial Music Hall’s Great Organ. A fitting symbol for this monumental work.

credits

released March 25, 2022

Performed and recorded by Matthew Azevedo at Methuen Memorial Music Hall, August 20-21, 2020

Mixed & Mastered by Matthew Azevedo at Azevedo Audio, Providence, RI

All photography by Janice Checcio

Logo and title calligraphy by Josh Yelle

Layout by Gretchen Korsmo

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Full Spectrum Records Littlefield, Texas

Full Spectrum Records releases the works of experimental musicians and sound artists, with an ear towards idiosyncratic tones, extended time frames and unique compositional approaches.

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