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"In 2001 Dan Burke (aka Illusion Of Safety's frontman) and Kevin Drumm embarked on a small European Tour, bringing them also to the VPRO studios. This was the third time that Dan Burke made recordings there, the first two being previously released in the Mort Aux Vaches (and both are still available). Rather then playing under the Illusion Of Safety monniker, this was a tour of two like minded improv artists.
Dan Burke has been doing Illusion Of Safety since the mid 80s, releasing many CD's and the band has seen many members besides Burke, including Jim O'Rourke, Mark Klein and Kurt Greisch. They balance on the fringe of silence and noise, always seeking out the beauty.
A discography by Kevin Drumm reads like a who's who in the world of improvised music. He has released CD's with Ralf Wehowsky, Taku Sugimoto (various releases, such as for Boxmedia, Sonoris and Meme), Martin Tetreault, Axel Dorner and Lasse Marhaug (plus lots that we forget of course) aswell as various solo works for Perdition Plastics, Mego and Fringes.
This CD is a fine improvisation between the closely contact microphone objects, guitar and laptop of Dan Burke and Drumm's guitar and ancient analogue synthesizer. A very dynamic work, which ranges from sheer silence to sheer noise, always with a sharp edge."
LLUSION OF SAFETY - IN SESSION (WAYSTYX)
"One of my favorite post industrial bands ever. Period. Since more than twenty years I am a fan and every new release is awaited with eager anticipation. This highly limited release from Russia, in a gorgeous package, is no different. These days, since many years actually, Illusion Of Safety is reduced one person, following a free floating membership that included Thyme Jones and Jim O'Rourke to mention just two, which is Dan Burke. He plays 'sound generating devices and random objects that deliberately provoke, mesmerize and even affront listeners'. I deliberately use the term 'post industrial' and not say 'electro-acoustic' or 'musique concrete', which could also easily be applied to the music of Illusion Of Safety. When they started they were firmly rooted in the world of industrial music, and later on elements of musique concrete came along, but if you listen to 'In Session' the elements of industrial music are still there. Heavy, steel walls of drone music pierce your ears and are as easily replaced by soft drones, crackling sounds of hand held objects and contact microphones. I wouldn't be surprised if Burke plays all of this 'in session', live at home so to speak. I saw him a lot of times playing concerts which capture the equal beauty that is captured here. Ranging from sheer noise to near silence and there is always an element of surprise lurking around the corner. An abrupt, full stop or start and it bring the piece in a new territory. Illusion Of Safety's music can be compared with the likes of Roel Meelkop or Toy Bizarre, but is less bound to rules of composition and more free and joyous (well, that's probably not the right away) than those of the microsound/musique concrete posse that inhabits the world of Vital Weekly so frequently. That alone makes a great band and another great CD. Very fine concentrated bursts of sound." [FdW / Vital Weekly]
Illusion Of Safety records have been slow coming in recent years, but IOS mastermind Dan Burke has been hinting at a whole slew of new material forthcoming. All of which should be very good news for all who have followed his work over the years. Since 1983, Burke has been producing an occasionally volatile, often sublime, and almost always exceptional body of work that prominently figures into the history of industrial culture and the ensuing explorations of noise, dronemuzik, and electro-acoustic collages from the mid-'80s onward. There had long been a sense of violence and transgression in the Illusion Of Safety catalogue, yet the overt displays of psychological horrors that appeared on such albums as Historical have gradually sublimated into the more inquisitive and arguably more compelling albums such as In Opposition To Our Acceleration and here on Bridges Intact.
A room recording of piano, feedback, guitar, and electronics opens the album, as Burke presents a collaborative piece with one of the long-time contributors to Illusion Of Safety, in Thymme Jones (who fronts the idiosyncratic art-rock combo Cheer Accident). At first the piano and the guitar spiral atonal clusters around the droning feedback tones, but after a transition through a series of clattering objects, the piano swarms into a dynamic blur of Terry Riley / Charlemagne Palestine inspired minimalism. Very impressive! Electricified buzzes and tremolo flutterings scatter around another set of bleary guitar drones whose tendrils of shimmered tone and vaporous ephemerality lead to a haunted, levitating quality to the piece, as if everything were hovering around the participants in a seance. This isn't a haunting on the demonic scale, but something more sublime and peculiar. Burke shifts more towards an intense stream of mechanoid pulses, electrical whirls, pierced tones, rarified static, and heavily amplified microsonic vibrations. Here, IOS has more of the research & development experimentation that you would get from the likes of Joe Colley or John Duncan. As Burke ducks and weaves through his tangles of crossed wires, tactile crunches, and short-circuited electronics, the breadth of his ability to produce such an extraordinary variety of electro-acoustic expressionism becomes very evident.
It should also be noted that the Russian label Waystyx has produced some elaborate packaging with two fold-out panels with numerous die-cuts that give the folio the appearance of an old steel truss bridge. Limited and numbered to 324 copies.
Sounds of Hell, May 19, 2007 I am a huge fan of Illusion of Safety (IOS). My goal it to own all of Dan Burke's IOS albums. That being said, here is my review of "Bad Karma." Each album has it's own identity. This particular album, I feel at any rate, focuses on terror, paranoia and human cruelty. The first track searches and lands on a sound collage of people muttering and repeating terrible sound bits of mania and then it goes on to a countdown ending with a crescendo of breaking glass. What an incredible introduction! And it only gets better from there. This album was my introduction to IOS and, subsequently, my favorite. I love the samples. They range from a woman saying, "human life is extremely cheap" to interviews of students from Dateline talking about a priest who is "too affectionate." Another IOS album similar to "Bad Karma" is "Historical." It too has lots of samples and is rather dark in it's theme. "Inside Agitator" is also a little like "Bad Karma." But believe me, all of IOS albums are truly different from one another.
It's a little strange that there are only two collaborative albums from Dan Burke and Thomas Dimuzio, despite their long-standing working relationship which dates back well over a decade. On his numerous travels to California touring as Illusion Of Safety, Dan Burke has often found himself in the Bay Area to perform outside the Illusion Of Safety guise. Instead, Burke's dystopian electro-acoustic techniques have joined forces with the engineering prowess of Thomas Dimuzio (who is responsible for mastering many an IOS record); and during those performances, they've proven to be quite an amazing duo, avoiding many of the follies of on-again / off-again projects or open-up-the-laptop-and-go live collaborations. Dimuzio has an excellent ear and he manages to keep Burke from diving off into the cybernetic rhythms which can make some of the lesser Illusion Of Safety records so dodgy. At the same time, Burke's perpetual audio nihilism provides a solid framework for Dimuzio to add his talents. Upcoming Events was in fact edited and reconstituted from three of their Bay Area performances from 2004. These recordings consist of electronically mangled drones, mechanoid field recordings agitated through digital means, pure tone manipulation, and unsettled noise culled from tactile crunches, all of which build to discordant crescendos that have the psychological intensity of David Lynch's sound design, certainly rivalling the best work that either Illusion of Safety or Thomas have done on their own. Steadily increasing drones become a hellish orchestral hum punctuated by metallic screeches which sound like a belt fan on a motor that's just ready to snap off its fly wheel. Elsewhere, unsettling electronics bleat against the tactile rattling of sand crunched against the head of a mic condenser whilst a subharmonic tone ominously rumbles in the distance. With the cover photograph of the armed barricade outside the 2004 Republican National Convention, the album takes on the aura of the soundtrack of a police state. Burke founded Illusion Of Safety in 1983, inspired by the industrial attitudes and aesthetics of Throbbing Gristle. While TG's prescient insights of culture as the death factory may seem commonplace to the media savvy, Burke and Dimuzio render their take on the conspiratorial and paranoiac with remarkable success. Highly recommended!
Dan Burke & Thomas Dimuzio "Upcoming Events"(No Fun)
Released in 1999, Hz documents a series of live performances which took place in October 1997. The always adventurous and engaging Dan Burke, aka Illusion of Safety, here teams up with Thomas Dimuzio, an electronic sound artist probably best known for his releases on RRRecords (Sonicism) and Odd Size Records (Louden). Both artists have reputations for creating dark, nightmarish post-industrial sound environments, and this is exactly the sort of thing we're given here in ample doses. One hour's worth of some of the most dark and disturbing sounds to issue forth from my hi-fi in recent months, Burke and Dimuzio have assembled a collection of imposing sound environments. Burke performs on electric guitar, processors, tape, radio and objects, while Dimuzio handles sampler, processors, loops and feedback. These free-flowing pieces range in sound from low-end rumbles and deep industrial noises (the loud hum of large machines) to walls of feedback and noise loops. Brief glimpses of hard industrial beats flash before your ears on two short occasions, but are soon quashed by the enveloping drones of noise. Once you reach track 10, with its imposing and unrelenting wall of dense static, you can pretty much say there's no turning back. The disc ends abruptly and in mid-stream; you're left hanging over the edge of a vast precipice, abandoned to the once-familiar silence of your home you thought you knew so well. The truth is, you found something incomprehensibly comforting in these sounds, this noise, this audible darkness. It occupies the space and fills your lungs, so in such a short time you grew accustomed to this nightmare, probably just in time for Burke and Dimuzio to sever the umbilical cord so suddenly, leaving you helpless and in silence. —Richard di Santo
Dan Burke & Thomas Dimuzio "Hz" (Sonoris-1999)
ILLUSION OF SAFETY - SEDATION/QUELL (10" by C.I.P.) There was a time when Illusion Of Safety was one of the most active forces in the US experimental music scene. With a varying line up the nucleas was and is Dan Burke. He and his band members played lots of concerts, of which I happened to see quite a few, in varying line ups. They could be a total miss, but most of the time they were great. Combining real instruments with electronics, acoustic objects, tapes and later on computers, they carved out music that was on the crossroad of industrial, ambient and musique concrete. On CD it was the same, absolute master pieces like 'Probe', 'Cancer' or 'Historical' outnumber the weaker brothers, of which I only remember 'Inside Agitator'. These days Illusion Of Safety celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary and it's mainly Dan Burke solo. Still on the road, still on top of things, but music is no longer his main thing, diversing with other activities in life and away from the endless pressure of having to deliver music. So the releases have become sparse, but are still great. Two pieces on this 10" 'Sedation' and 'Quell'. Both pieces are concentrated works of densely knitted web of sounds. Apparently Burke uses an old typewriter, turntable pops/crackles, shortwave and oscillations. The two pieces could be brothers in arms. Slow development, taking time to take shape. Dense but not blurred. This is the Illusion Of Safety side of ambient - not comforting quiet, but discomforting beautiful. 'Sedation' is a humming low end piece with tension lurking underneath. Two great pieces of someone who should have his name writing large in the annals of music history (but of course won't, since there is no such thing as justification). (FdW)
Sedation & Quell (Complacency/C.I.P.-2008 10" 500 copies)
ILLUSION OF SAFETY PROBE re-issue on Perdition Plastics 2010 This is the first re-issue of Illusion of Safety’s Probe since its only appearance in 1992. In a limited edition of 500 copies, Perdition Plastics is proud to reintroduce this notable work of contemporary composition. Veteran provocateurs, Illusion of Safety, examine an audio landscape found between youth and innocence, manufactured entertainment, and suburban complacency. Using a pastiche of field recordings and suggestively composed elements, Dan Burke and Jim O’Rourke strikingly capture ambivalence and their own personal interactions within this environment. Probe was one of several early, pinnacle works to foreshadow the unique and prolific audio fingerprint of renowned producer/player, Jim O’Rourke, when still a compositional student in Chicago. O'Rourke began working with Dan Burke's Illusion of Safety project in the early '90s, releasing three albums with the project. This release fits neatly into O’Rourke’s recent issuing of forgotten and initial recordings. As the constant center of Illusion of Safety since 1983, Dan Burke has consistently edited and evolved more than 20 CDs from ambience to electronica, from sound collage to post-industrial noise. The complexity and restraint found within Probe marked a compelling new direction for Burke and a great many others influenced by his music. Illusion of Safety has been released by such labels as Die Stadt, Experimedia, Silent, Soleilmoon, Staalplaat, Tesco, and Waystyx among others. Collaborations include Cheer-Accident, Thomas Demuzio, Kevin Drumm, Ben Vida, and others.
Probe (reissue Perdition Plastics 2010)
ILLUSION OF SAFETY From Nothing To Less Complacency This new IoS disc is a change from other recent work, discarding much of the chaos and sound deconstruction of other works and instead opting for a more natural, more organic sound. From Nothing To Less is the band's eighth CD release and boasts that no samples or sequences were used in its recording. Rather, From Nothing To Less is comprised of live work as well as recorded rehearsals from a U.S. tour by Dan Burke and Thymme Jones. Seven tracks that blur together into one long song, this disc is full of lengthy drones, distant thuds and scrapes, and other assorted sounds from this performance outlet which never ceases to confuse and amaze. (Matt Mercer)
From Nothing to Less (Complacency 1995)
2008 marks the 25th year for Illusion Of Safety. Once an ensemble of misanthropic electron engineers, Illusion Of Safety has effectively reduced itself down to a single member in Dan Burke who has arrived at the silver anniversary with some of his best work produced throughout the sprawling Illusion Of Safety catalogue. There was the Quell & Sedition 10", the In Session cd, and now this small edition cd-r, all of which are exemplary versions of the Illusion Of Safety signature sound for psychologically challenging compositions. The Need To Now is more of a blackened cosmic headspace music, with all of the psychedelic flourishes that burst out of Klaus Schulze or Expo '70 turned towards something much much darker and much more brooding. There is oblivion in front of you when you are floating alone in outer space, and Burke presents that sublime fiction replete with wonder and horror. For all of the bleak subtext of the album, Burke keeps things very subtle preferring to focus on the minimalist dronesmear ruptured with occasional detours. The shadow and vacuum of Illusion Of Safety's aerosolized drone always has something ominous just outside of earshot, something lurking the corners of those corroded metal tones and already eerie passages of sci-fi incidental music slowed way the hell down. Illusion Of Safety breaks up the long-form drones with tense glitch workouts that could be an extract from a CoH production, with all sorts of misfired squiggles, poorly grounded bursts of electricity, and erratic charged samples; but unsettled ambience overcomes each of these crescendo like a creeping suffocating fog of toxic gas. It's an austere and powerful record, in spite of the many subtle twists and turns. Fucking incredible is what The Need To Now is. Limited to a mere 150 copies.
Illusion Of Safety: The Need To Now (experimedia-cdr- 150 cpies)
Thomas Koner/Illusion of Safety (Die Stadt-2002) 7" edition of 400
llusion of Safety Inside Agitator (Complacency) The Chicago area's prime Noise-ician's new release is another in a never-ending series of uncompromising and exquisitely-crafted tonalities. Anyone familier with the previous releases from these reigning Kings of Pain will find this CD to be more thoughtful and conceptual than other offerings. The title refers to a favorite theme of founder/leader Dan Burke, namely, a ghastly glimpse into the aberrations of the human psyche. This collection of half-rhythmic beat/collages and half ambient-noise reflect the dichotomy within us all: the age-old struggle between the violent and the sublime, the Dark & the Light. The ambient passages represent the internal aspects of the subconcious mind, whereas the rhythmic/sound-bite passages refer to the outwardly negative manifestations of the conscious mind. Differing from most I.O.S. releases, this CD is more statement-orientated. Meant as sort of a follow-up to their earlier release. In 70 Countries (which is an audio analysis of state-sponsored torture around the world), Inside Agitator is a conceptual excursion into Burke's degree in Psychology. Though the level of difficulty in I.O.S.'s oeuvre keeps their local following relatively small, these seasoned experts have been in business for nearly 10 years and have released dozens of cassettes, LP's and CDs. They have toured the U.S. and Europe numerous times, recently playing to a national radio audience in Switzerland on their last Europ-tour. Exceptionally gifted within the genre they work, their unusual 'music' is an acquired taste and not for the faint-of-heart. Scott Marshall
Schmetterling Ep (Syntactic-1996) 7" ep signed edition of 111 (3 left)
100 standard edition copies (Bach27) with printed outer cover.
Special edition of 11 copies (Bach27s) with signed sleeve and ticket for the Butterfly House, Vienna. "These untitled live fragments were chosen by Walter Robotka from the performance he arranged for us at Bach; Vienna, Austria on 5-23-95. The insipiration for this E.P. comes from visiting the Schmetterling (Butterfly) house, a conservatory in Vienna filled with thousands of live butterflies. This was a profound experience for us, to be able to physically interact with such delicate, beautiful, and normally inaccessible creatures. Our thanks to Sandra and staff at Bach for the exceptional hospitality. Thanks are also due to Frans de Waard for arranging our May '95 tour of Europe. For IOS: Dan Burke Kurt Griesch"
Earlier this year, this disc was repeated endlessly in my to-and-from drivings for at least one whole month with great pleasure, and recently it has bubbled back up to the surface of my pool of aesthetic lusts. Hereby I pronounce full seal-of-approval and earnestly encourage the uninitiated to seek it out.
Dan Burke is Illusion of Safety. At times with added collaborators (including James Johnson, Chris Block, Kurt Griesch, Mark Klein, Mark Sorensen, Mitch Enderle, Thymme Jones, and Jim O’Rourke), under this name he has more than 40 releases since 1983, when he began participating in the underground cassette culture. I’m fond of Illusion of Safety, and when I was informed of this weird one-off project my imagination gushed in anticipation, subsequently to be more than satisfied by its magical contents of funk-noise-art. Apparently along with being a great admirer of experimental audio, Dan is a great lover of, well, a lot of different types of music , notably including funky/groovy beats. Check out his radio program VOICE OF REASON if you please, linkable from his site, which houses plenty of info about him: http://www.danieljamesburke.net/
An aptly chosen title of course this is. It is what it says. On top of being thoroughly groovy, it’s also freely woven in magic pattern-patchworks of what I would describe as an avant-jazz-cum-80′s-tape-culture-ambient. Burke made this album in 1995 out of his love for raw funky beats. His experimental found-sound tape-head aesthetics are added, which ferments an album of unique taste blendings. The beats (including a Silver Apples snip) are in similar territory as some of James Brown’s most magically groove-potent genius strokes, and much of the primary loopage is sucked from grooves of wisely chosen old disco-funk-type vinyl, then expounded upon by other sounds, voices, rhythms and tonalities from such sources. He adds some excellent synthesizer, noises and flourishes of free form manipulative joy-gnosis here and there, compounding the wonderfully unique sensibilities of the music.
To imagine the hexagon of musical love: Illusion of Safety loves DJ Spooky loves Negativland loves loves Big City Orchestra loves groovy-trash-hip-hop loves Psychic TV? Such free love has given birth to the secret beautiful mutant life of this recording.
On a few pieces there are female vocals in the forefront, perhaps mixed a bit too hot. I think it’s 3 tracks that feature this vocalist, who performs well, but in my opinion can momentarily distract from the weirdzone. This is the only aspect of this album that I perceive to be superfluous, mostly due to the delivery being pretty straight (in a 70′s disco-pop sort of style?) in contrast to the freakyness of the rest of the stew. I alternate between feeling like the lyrics and the delivery are either a little dose of quirky subversion of hip-snobness, or just the creators having carefree fun. Unless there is a tongue-in-cheek or a wink somewhere that hides from me, I lean toward thinking that the artists were doing this obscure thing that not enough artists do; creating and performing without overt concern for how high-minded and/or HIP the creation or performance will be perceived. On various listens I find myself perceiving the voice and lyrics to be highly complimentary to the oddness; another shovel-load of kamikaze art quirkiness buttercream icing on top of a delicious, vibrantly neon spaz colored 12 foot tall kamikaze art quirkiness wedding cake. Congratulations to me. I have paid my oldest dear friend Shawn dressed as a demented dada priest version of Fred Flintstone to marry me to this album.
The album has an excellent cohesiveness; flowing smoothly to many different places, all within a dark, funky dance party vibe. To my knowledge this is the only recording of this groove-type that Dan Burke has released. I hope for the soon birth of a long gestating sequel.
Offstrings: Inventions for Guitar
--a third thing that is indefinite and undefined but is related to two definite or known things.
Tertium Quid Mp3 samples
Initially formed for a one off live performance in Seattle in 2007, Tertium Quid is an improv collaboration between Daniel Burke (electronics & guitar), Bill Horist (guitar & devices) and Dave Abramson (drums/percussion/radio). In Early 2008 they reconvened at Gravelvoice studios Seattle to record for two days with engineer Scott Colburn. Their intention is to explore the boundaries of music, improvisation, and ambience. Their self-titled first vinyl/CD release is mastered and waits for a new home. Untill that future time here is a CDr of the initial issue...
The term Tertium Quid originally surfaced in early Christian debates on the nature of Christ; He was neither human nor divine, but some third thing. Later it was applied to the hothouse flower of American politics, the elusive third party. But listening to Tertium Quid, I think of another entity now passed, the Territory Band. In the jazz age, these ensembles staked claim to a given region and serviced every dance floor within its confines. Limited geographically, they had to be musically flexible in order to move every sole/soul that showed up on Saturday night. Whatever you want to call this age, Tertium Quid epitomizes the new sort of openness musicians need in order to survive in it. Geography and frequency don’t mean much anymore; Bill Horist and Dave Abramson live in Seattle, Daniel Burke near Chicago, and they’ve played just two gigs since the trio’s inception in 2007. And while they don’t necessarily have to play whatever the general audience wants, they have to be even more versatile to justify themselves in an age when any music on earth is just a computer search away by playing something that hasn’t existed before. Tertium Quid come from diverse backgrounds, but they’re united in their commitment to the genuine experimentation necessary to make such music. As Illusion of Safety and in various collaborations, Burke has melded industrial, electro-acoustic improvisation, and ambient music. Horist, who first met Burke in 2001 when they played together in the subterranean confines of Chicago’s now-defunct Nervous Center, is an inveterate improviser/composer whose confederates have included Chris Cutler, Eyvind Kang, and KK Null. Abramson has played with Horist for years in the Master Musicians of Bukkake; he’s also worked with Wally Shoup, Climax Golden Twins, and Secret Chiefs 3. After their second gig they repaired to Gravelvoice studio for two days of improvisation that’s as intuitive, combustible, and otherly as that of certain other celebrated trios — AMM, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Fenn O’Berg — without sounding much like them. The place where style and sound blurs into new music — that’s Tertium Quid’s territory.
--------- Bill Meyer.