This new luxuriously and lovingly packaged double CD with DVD is a labour of love in memory of Jason DiEmilio (1970-2006) aka the Azusa Plane. Two CDs feature over two hours of music spanning the breadth of the Azusa Plane catalogue. The DVD features a thirty-minute live set and 65 MP3s split between 11 folders; which include rare tracks, never released Azusa Plane live recordings, an interview with Jason and a previously unreleased recording. An expansive booklet is included with the release which contains essays, thoughts, reflections and memories of DiEmilio's life and musical output.
An integral part of Philadelphia’s experimental scene, the Azusa Plane was the lo-fi, drone-rock, improvisational recording and live project of Jason DiEmilio of Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania. Performing almost exclusively on a Fender guitar and usually through numerous effects pedals, DiEmilio was very prolific releasing three full-length studio albums, a live disc, a number of singles and tracks on various compilations. (Full discography included in the booklet).
Here are some extracts from Apples author Richard Milward’s piece in the liner notes about the Azusa Plane:
Your eardrums were designed to listen to the Azusa Plane. Leaving no electrical frequency untouched, the music of Jason DiEmilio, Jason Knight and sometime percussionist Quentin Stoltzfus is at once dense and sparse; the musical equivalent of sleepwalking on feathers with ton-weights attached to your hands and feet. At times heavily distorted—at others, light as cloud matter—the guitar sprawl swims back and forth from one end of the musical spectrum to the other; creating the most wondrous, devastating, effervescent soundwaves. It is music which both challenges and celebrates the senses.
While the Azusa Plane exemplifies the term ‘experimental’—in fact, at times, the pieces seem almost like scientific research into atonalism, feedback manipulation, circuit bending, and the search for ‘full consciousness of the hidden harmony’—there is such obvious soul to the music, it never appears clinical, or sterile. The band was not merely a group of La Monte Young-a-likes in lab coats. Recognising the guitar as an electrical, endlessly-exploitable machine, DiEmilio pushed that machine to its very limits and, in doing so, purged the darkest limits of his emotions. His guitar was like a six-stringed stress-ball; a release from what he described as ‘the ever despair and struggle of my life… a constant battle against depression and the ever feeling of heading absolutely nowhere with no control whatsoever… and so music gives a good place to sort this all out.’
An extract from Jason DiEmilio’s eulogy:
Jason suffered from a chronic and seemingly incurable pain. He had a seriously debilitating condition known as tinnitus and hypercusis that was brought about by extreme sound exposure; a result of playing in bands most of his life without protection for his ears. The nerve damage was severe and irreversible. Recently it had become even more acute. He held out for as long as he could and lived as he died. With grace and indefatigable courage. Jason was open to the simplest beauties of the world and never could stop being enraged at what fouled it.
released January 30, 2012
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