Old Time Relijun is an unearthly combo from Olympia, Washington. We don’t throw words like "genius", "brilliant" or "legendary" around lightly. Nor do we use them to describe Old Time Relijun (though others do). We prefer to see them as "mythical". Their new EP, See Now and Know [KLP272], appears after a mysterious decade-long dormancy, reuniting the classic Catharsis in Crisis [KLP184] lineup featuring bandleader Arrington de Dionyso with Aaron Hartman (upright bass), Germaine Baca (drums) and Benjamin Hartman (saxophone and percussion). This is the band's 9th studio recording and they appear to have exploded spontaneously, pounding together a fiery record, forged from within. Resistance, magic and hope are catalysts for a deeper tunneling under. The songs are typical OTR: sexy, untethered, and sing-along at the edge of the volcano fun. "Dragon Juice" conjures a dance party in a dangerous lair; "I Know I’m Alive" brings an inspired moment on the mountain into sharp, soulful focus; and "El Naranjo Gritando" brings us up close to the big nasty. There is real, palpable urgency in this recording.
OLD TIME RELIJUN continues to break the confinement of rock-clichÃ© with its newest release, "Catharsis in Crisis". Song after song, the ferocity of lead singer Arrington De Dionyso draws listeners deeper into a world where language, rhythm and unrepentant libido collide. This music is temperamental, unwieldy and unyielding; and it cuts you to the bone.
"Catharsis in Crisis" was written and recorded at Calvin Johnson's fabled Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, Washington in four inspired days and nights. Legendary producer Steve Fisk was recruited to mix this raw material into OTR's most fully realized album to date. OTR + Calvin Johnson + Steve Fisk = a magical alchemy of sound and light. But don't worry kids, it's still terrible background music.
Old Time Relijun tempts us with top-secret, sneak preview alternate mixes of songs from the upcoming K album "Catharsis and Crisis". "The Tightest Cage" rattles to the breaking point, spilling over into the wilderness of undiscovered sound. Side Two contains a dubbed-out instrumental version of "Indestructible Life" that will grace your dancehalls with a filthy hurricane wreckage that can never be cleaned.
Feral sounds have been corralled and turned beasts of burden to the willof our trinity, the musical experimentors, Old Time Relijun. On 2012,recorded with Calvin Johnson at Dub Narcotic studio, bandmates Arrington deDionyso, Aaron Hartman and Jamie Peterson continue the exploration of thesubconscious iconography begun with Lost Light (KLP159). The cacophany of2012 extends down dimly lit paths and discovers jocular illumination in thedarkest places of our psyche, and ultimately, a hand held catharsis. Some of the credit for the comfortable thunder/agony/delight of 2012revolves on the recently joined percussionist Jamie Peterson, formerly ofthe Curtains, St.Andre, and Dada Swing. She has settled nicely into thethrone formerly occupied by Bryce Panic, Phil Elverum and Rives Elliot(among others). Jamie blends splendidly with the double bass playing ofAaron Hartman to provide a seemless pedestal for the howl and guitar scratchbloom of Arrington de Dionyso. There is no remorse: 2012 is Old Time Relijun`s seventh collection ofsongmaking since 1996. They have toured the world and will continue to doso, incessantly.
Like, whoever heard of an accessible Old Time Relijun record? Well, here it is. The latest incarnation of a band that keeps re-inventing itself, while remaining true to their axis of emotional divinity. The beauty lies deeply ingrained in a jubilant outpouring of thunderclouds and crowns of thorns and tumbling bags of bones. The addition of drummer Rives Elliot to the kettle containing Arrington de Dionyso (guitar, voice and woodwinds) and Aaron Hartman (double bass) provides the music of Old Time Relijun with a resounding thud heard across the dance floor. This is a band of musicians who create, improvise and communicate. Sure, the noise and confusion of previous Old Time Relijun outings are maintained here, but the clarity of Lost Light lifts it through the skylight of destruction to a world you’ve never visited before. Judge it deep, thick, luscious, feral; there are still no rules to the instinctual sounds of Old Time Relijun, it’s an unforced force for inner peace through catharsis.
Ever since Arrington de Dionyso cleared his throat and growled "I ate a hole right through the mirror/ Spat out the shards, and I put it back together" on the standout track "Mirror", his music has spoken to those lonely souls who have stared at themselves in the mirror and known that something lies on the other side, beyond their comprehension. The band Old Time Relijun formed in Olympia, Wash., in 1995 with bassist Aaron Hartman and drummer Bryce Panic, to take Arrington's four-track tapes that had been circulating and spooking people around Olympia, and to translate them into live performance. Since that time, the band has gone through various mutations, including a number of drummers (Phil Elvrum, currently of the Microphones, toured and recorded with Old time Relijun for several years after the departure of Bryce Panic), but the spirit of Arrington’s musical explorations and creative expression have remained constant. Unlike most releases that attempt to summarize a band and an era, Varieties of Religious Experience is not a clear-the-vaults effort, and the multiple takes are not filler; nor is their inclusion the result of an unchecked ego, intoxicated by its own brilliance, unable to edit itself. It would be equally wrong to suggest that Arrington's four-track takes are "originals", the band's versions are "alternates", and one is necessarily better than the other. While four-track enabled Arrington to cram songs full of esoteric sounds and a sheer ear-popping lunacy that can turn two minutes into kaleidoscopic trips, Hartman and Panic helped loosen his grip on the drum sticks, change up the whack-a-mole tempos, and let a song's backbone slide. Calling the result Varieties of Religious Experience emphasizes Arrington's belief that it's all good - every song is its own spark of playful, in-the-moment creation, its own shard of experience - and the remarkable thing is that all is good on this CD.
Modern American primitive deconstructionists Old Time Relijun return with their third full length album. They have certainly sharpened their forked tongue. Witchcraft Rebellion is an album of charismatic eclecticism, expounding upon their frantic fusion of raw roots rock, latter 60’s ecstatic jazz and aggressive punk mutations, Witchcraft Rebellion seems to coalesce Old Time Relijun’s raging schizophrenic convulsions.
The moonshine has been pilfered again by those pagan wood goblins Old Time Relijun. Now they speak in tongues: Italian, Portugese and Spanish. Three songs from Uterus and Fire have been rerecorded in the romance languages, plus five new songs combine for this special ep releases in time for their European tour. As honest as it gets, Old Time Relijun bare their deepest, darkest emotions, warts and all.
“Sex and doom-obsessed hyper-gospel, dissonance with fangs, Ayler-esque bass and a truly possessed clarinet chunder forth. Your funeral...” is how Quitty describes them. Ringleader Arrington rains “Oh Hear Ye! Confused garage dub meets psycho hillbilly twang on the free jazz fuck train to noisy gospel swamp raga-inferno.” That covers a lot of ground, but he’s a preacher’s son with a sweaty crybaby falsetto, so give him room to throw rattlesnakes or make with the ultra-raw backwoods contortions. Phil Elvrum Microphones, D+ and Aaron Hartman IQU are also on board to help shout it out. There isn’t even the shakiest of middle ground.