CVLT Nation Interviews End Result Productions + Feature
End Result Productions is one of the great underground record labels. Focusing primarily on electronic music, and extending to experimental, noise, post-punk and the like, they release records on limited cassette format and through digital outlets. They have put out a plethora of records since 2013, while some of their most interesting releases came through this summer, from July to September. Below you will find short reviews for their new and upcoming release schedule, and an interview with mainman of the label Justin. Make sure to check out their bandcamp page to get a better idea on their music!…All End Result Production Titles are available in the CVLT Nation Bizarre.
Explorations of New Wave
Two of the releases from End Result Productions can be placed within an exploratory New Wave setting. Taking elements from the darker side of the ‘80s music scene in the UK, combining these with dark synthpop and krautrock elements, it shows how diverse the roster of End Result can get.
PulseWidthMod – Entelechy
In Entelechy, PulseWidthMod produce a great record of diverse influences. The record overall is quite mellow in terms of sounds with melodies derived from the synthpop domain, which are combined with the exploratory sense of krautrock. The introduction of effects and electronic bursts are spot on, revealing a great aptitude for choosing the appropriate sounds and concepts, something that is vital in a krautrock setting. In order to enhance a bit further the bleakness and gain a colder tone, PulseWidthMod include an additional industrial element in their tonality, originating from the percussion, resulting in a more mechanical vibe. All these different sides are presented in a great manner, one complementing the other, while the vocals remain a focal point for the band, and they give a quite old-school twist to the record, something from the darker and more obscure side of the ’80s era new wave.
Postura – Cadere
This dark synthpop project is just off the charts. In their new release, Cadere, Postura is able to darken pop structures, infecting them with a dim perspective, while giving way to a touch of darkwave mentality. The energy of synth pop gives the tracks an upbeat and energetic characteristic, while the big vocal delivery pushes the album down to darker pathways. The result is quite subliminal, with the bass tones dominating the scenery, while the hooks of the album work so fucking well, like the bass line in “Coscienza.” Pop overtures with horrific tendencies, as in the marvellous “Attimo,” might be the bread and butter of Postura, but they are not limited to that. A listen to the eight minute long opus “Omaggio” sees them taking on noise elements, adding razor-like samples, before turning towards a magnificent jazzy mood, marking the peak of this record.
Walls of Noise
The more brutal face of End Result comes with the releases leaning towards the noise domain. Abrupt and chaotic, filled with anger and range, glorifying rhythm and then abolishing it, adding trippy elements and even melodies, they make the most challenging listens from the label.
Secret Societies – s/t
Secret Societies navigates through different modes of noise, making use of both rhythmic and arrhythmic concepts. There are moments when a strong foundation of percussion is implemented, repeated seemingly through eternity, as a hammer continuously hits your skull, or in more fluid ways, as in the closing track of the record. This rhythm section aids in identifying a point of order within the chaos that ensues through the harsh noise of Secret Societies. The wall of noise feels concrete and unchanging, but Secret Societies cause evolutions to occur, creating a rich sonic palette. And on a very surprising way, they also make use of melodic elements in “Chasms of Raga,” setting their noise self to the background and moving forth with melodic synths, generating a spacey and psychedelic element. It just shows how versatile they can be.
Retter – s/t
Retter feed off the harsh side of noise. The approach here is relentless and completely chaotic, unstructured, radiating with a primal sense. Still there is a certain progression to their approach, with a direct and extreme notion in play. What stands out with this record though is the ambiance that is conjured. A horrific essence seems to be hanging somewhere in the distance, with vocals placed low in the mix producing a very dark tone to the work. And it is not the only ambiance that comes across, as slithering tone of “Liber” moves into “Consecrate” a ritualistic and processional element is produced, which in turn will become completely glacial and icy with “Divinity.” It is a fine balance to maintain but that poses no issue for Retter.
Shades of Techno
The main outlet from the latest End Result releases, seems to be in the techno domain. The term is quite general, but through the following five releases, techno is explored in very diverse and interesting ways. From straightforward beats, to long minimal tracks, from chaotic structures to drone moments, there is not one dull moment in these records.
Dentana – Punx Is Techno
Heavy beats and a great groove is where the basis of Punx Is Techno lies. And Dentana has produced an excellent example of heavy techno, provided with the coupling of these two aspects, creating a transcendental effect in the form of a loss of consciousness, a feeling of being lost in the groove. The synth parts generate alien-like tones or mysterious and dark moments, producing multiple facades of the artist’s expression. The more fascinating moments come when an abstract tone is followed, resulting in great breaks and creating havoc in moments such as “Lose Control,” or the more glitch “Do You Remember” and “Pistol.” It is aspects like that or changes to the overall volume of the tracks, as is the case with the opening track, that increase the unpredictability and volatility of this work, making the process even more interesting.
Coarses – 0x002
Long tracks and steady progression is the approach of Coarses, who undertake a minimal route in their techno trip. The electronic tone is meticulously constructed throughout this album, with blinking synths, drone waves and repetitive percussion leading the way, slowly building up. As a result Coarses produce a very coherent vision through this work, using slight additions to embellish the bare bones of their tracks, and produce impressive and grand moments when the peaks of the tracks are reached. It is the delicate touch that really does it, and there is a fair amount of restraint in terms of the instrumentation and placement, so that nothing is overdone. It works great for Coarses in this instance, and they produce a minimal, intelligent piece of techno work.
Wolf Dem – Existential Horror
Wolf Dem draw their inspirations from the brainy sound of techno music. The worship of rhythm is not enough, and elements of IDM need to be implemented within the steady beats, resulting in complex structures and bizarre progression. Strongly built around the rhythmic patterns, Wolf Dem choose great elements, in a record that is strongly percussive, even the pads and synths carry a distinct rhythmic tone. A track such as “Punishment” reveals in terrifying light the vision of the band in all its frantic state, crafting their own piece of insanity. The other element that is equally impressive is of course the ambiance. Constructed in a low-key manner, radiating with an underground sense, it dictates the mood of the album, forcing you into the dark corner of Wolf Dem’s mind. And when you also come across “Demon Dub” and its flirtations with noise elements, everything is revealed in sickening horror.
SPT – Expedition
Techno is not always meant to be upbeat, and even minimal techno has a side that is quite energetic and uplifting. But there is a different way to go about, and that is what SPT is doing in this one hour and forty minute long exploration. Synth waves and rhythmic structures are still key, and an abstract dance tone is still there, lying beneath the surface. The switches are kept to a minimal and the progression is patiently slow, combined with the synths to produce a xenomorphic quality, even though there are moments when it can become explosive. But, the main driving force is the urge to minimalistic and even drone music, with a dub twist. Huge drones sweep through the soundscapes, crafting new realities for this piece to explore, covering the foundations and enriching the scenery with a spiritual quality. In the case of the second exploration “Lutzow” the approach becomes more abstract and attains a menacing, dark tone with a sharper edge, and more pronounced drones, dripping the scenery in this endless well. It is a challenging listen, but it is worth every second.
Obligate Surrogate – s/t
Of all the techno releases in the current schedule of End Result Productions, this is probably the more volatile and challenging. Obligate Surrogate move into the trippy side of the genre, relishing not only the groove and vibe of techno, but enhancing it with their own mind-altering progression and take on psychedelia. Apparent tempo changes of tracks, glitch and noise moments and minimal instances, make this record move frantically between the different sub-divisions of techno. There are two elements that are essential in this crazy ride. Firstly, the use of effects, with Obligate Surrogate excelling in that aspect. Panning, delays, distortion craft this vision of instability. Secondly, the switches in mood. Aggressive, dark, playful, volatile, unstable are the epithets that just some of the tracks take (these are not mutually exclusive.) It is through the appropriate manipulation of these two aspects that this record truly thrives.
In this interview with End Result Productions mainman Justin, we discuss the history of the label, the ethos and values that they are trying to maintain, as well as the underground approach in the current age.
Hi Justin! Firstly, thanks for finding the time to do this interview, it is much appreciated. So, would you like to give us a brief overview on the founding of the label? When was it founded? Is it run by you alone or are there more people involved?
Thank you as well, Spyros, for preparing the questions. I tell people that the label was conceived the 10th of December, 2012 because on this day I agreed to release a tape for a friend’s band, Grower. After that, I set off to work and put out their tape less than a month later. The label began as a solo effort and is still under my primary direction, but many people have assisted with design, production, and event booking along the way.
Notably, Nicki and I began booking together in summer 2014 and hosted several events for acts such as Pharmakon and Container in 2015. Much booking direction has been my own throughout 2016, but I’ve recently brought Pat and Lauren on board to assist with this and much of the label’s other work.
The label begun in Philadelphia and it was influenced by the DIY approach and ethic that the underground hardcore punk scene radiated with. Can you explain how this comes into play with the ethos of the label? How much of it is DIY in terms of the production of the albums, artworks, packaging and pressing?
Until the advent of the Summer Campaign with the release of the PulseWidthMod tape in July 2016, I completed mostly all work for tape and zine releases by myself. Design, duplicating audio onto tapes, printing, and assembly was all done at home; I used to joke that the only things I didn’t make were the paper, ink, and tape materials themselves. This approach keeps unit costs low, but it wasn’t feasible with the larger scope of the Summer Campaign releases, so I began to outsource for the duplication, printing, and assembly, in order to allow myself more time for design and housekeeping work.
Still, this is not the departure of End Result from DIY-produced releases, as there will be many releases with designs I won’t entrust to a vendor for printing and assembling. The DIY approach and ethic of the hardcore punk scene showed me the empowerment of self-reliability, and with this creative drive I sought to make my releases the “end results” of the artistic outcomes that I envisioned.
For this reason, when the label first began I couldn’t imagine outsourcing any of the work. DIY-produced releases often have a stigma of being poorly made or of lesser quality, but my goal of DIY production has always been to have direct oversight of all factors in quality control. Throughout the label’s lifetime, I’ve developed my workflow with a consistency that enables me to make products of a quality which I think surpasses that of a vendor. It’s in little things, like paper cuts and folds – but I think a customer is certainly able to tell when an End Result release is handmade.
In general, you release music almost exclusively in cassette format, as well as digital releases through Bandcamp. Why was the cassette format chosen, instead of vinyl for instance? Is it possible to see you moving towards other formats in the future?
I chose the cassette format out of financial necessity at the time, being that I was just 18 years old and starting university when I began the label in 2012. To access materials for making a small run of tapes, it was a small fraction of the cost that making a small run of records would have been. That, and I could be in control of production.
There is this facet of my reasoning, coupled with a desire I had to make physical releases and not just distribute digitally. I certainly could have chosen to release CDs, just as well, on the financial premise I described above, but there was a certain archaic characteristic of tapes that I gravitated to. During the time in which I grew up, I very clearly remember using tapes in the car at a young age, but they became phased out with CDs throughout the early 2000s.
Perhaps it is just nostalgic to me, but I think moreover I like the notion that tapes, while very financially accessible to produce, are arguably one of the more inaccessible formats to play back. My car doesn’t have a tape deck, and I don’t carry a Walkman with a tape stash when I go out, so the only place I can play back tapes is on a home deck. I think many people are in a similar situation, so when we choose to listen to tapes at home it is an almost ritualistic undertaking which warrants a more active state of listening than, for example, with an iPod at the gym.
Moving on to other formats in the future, records are becoming more financially feasible for me to manage and I think more End Result releases will take this direction, especially once I am finished with university and have a steady income. I contributed to a split-label 7” pressing in early 2014, then End Result’s first solo record release came in autumn of last year with the Rumination LP that I released for Mountain Man, so the future is only looking up as far as records are concerned.
How is it that you decided to start the label? Can you tell us a bit more about your background? What is your past in the underground scene? Are you yourself a musician or producer?
By December of 2012, when I agreed to release Grower’s tape, I had previously made a small run of tapes for a band I played with in high school. This was in February of 2011, I believe. I won’t name my high school bands here, but as far as my music background is concerned, I began playing the drums with a band called Bleach Bath in late-summer of 2013. This lasted for a little over a year and we played our last show in November of 2014, but during this time I began doing vocals with a band called Disinterest and we played our first show in February of 2014.
Prior to these bands, in May of 2013 a friend I made through the release of Braille’s tape introduced me to much underground electronic music, particularly the Minimal Wave label and many artists of the American noise, power electronics, and industrial scene. With this introduction I was inspired to involve myself in these different styles, too, and I began with the release of a power electronics tape under the name Ventriloquist in March of 2014. Then the first show I ever booked in Philly was for Hive Mind, Redrot, and Shredded Nerve in July of 2014. John Canaday of Deathpile bought my tape at this show; I was stoked about that, and I guess by that point I was well on my way down the rabbit hole of producing, releasing, and booking experimental electronic styles in addition to my work with the punk scene.
Fast forward one year to July of 2015, and by this point I had developed my studio to a point where I felt comfortable to make more rhythmic electronic styles. I began tracking for a minimal synthpop album under the name Postura and making techno music separately under the name SPT. The SPT material was released December of 2015 and this became my primary focus; I put Postura on hold and to this day I have done 11 live sets as well as produced two more albums. The Postura album will soon be released, however. I was meticulous in mixing the record, but ultimately I’m very happy with it and I’m looking forward to its release.
Since November of 2015, I have also drummed for a Philadelphia-based punk band called Drowse; we have a 7” coming out on Knife Vision records this October which I am also very happy with.
End Result focuses primarily on the electronic field, and it is quite diverse, including artists across many diverse genres, such as noise, power electronics, synth pop, industrial to experimental and ambient. What kind of characteristics are you looking for in a musician/producer/artists to release music through your label?
There is often – but not always – an element of newness to the work. Of the 50 releases so far, only a handful are not the first releases of the respective projects, and if they’re not the first releases they are likely to be successors of first releases previously seen on End Result.
Beyond this, there is a rawness and underground quality of the work. Even hearing William Maybelline’s Qual project for the first time, there was a certain grit to it – unlike the Lebanon Hanover recordings – which I simply loved. The recording qualities aren’t always perfect, but I don’t want them to be.
There is also a loose, non-exclusive focus on releasing artists from the Philadelphia area.
What is the distinction between End Result Productions and the Institute of Esoteric Polar Research? On your website it is stated to be focused on releases of Arctic and Antarctic study. Can you elaborate on the last part? What is the characteristic of those releases, and why the Arctic and Antarctic topics are of such importance to establish a sub-division focused on them?
IOEPR is an outlet for my personal interest in the Arctic and Antarctic – which has arisen within the past few years out of sheer fascination and curiosity – because I find a certain peculiar inspiration about places often considered to be undevelopable and uninhabitable. I chose to distinguish it from the primary End Result catalogue as a way to channel the creative focus which is driven solely by this inspiration.
Certainly, it could be argued that Arctic and Antarctic topics are not of enough importance to warrant a label sub-division, but I greatly value the clarity of organizing and compartmentalizing my creative efforts in this wise. I think sub-labels are generally intended more so as separate artistic or creative venture, rather than as separate ventures for purely pragmatic purpose, but of course the separation of creative ventures serves a pragmatic purpose in and of itself.
At my university I am pursuing a minor in German, for which I must write a thesis paper to graduate, so my hope is to write a comparative analysis of Germany’s three Antarctic expeditions between 1901 and 1938. I currently write to you from Berlin, from where I will soon travel to visit an archive of German geology in order to begin preliminary investigations of this thesis paper. My goal is to compare the objectives and findings of each expedition, as well as to compare the regions in which they operated. After graduation, I would like to translate the thesis from German and offer both editions in the catalogue of IOEPR products. The German edition will come first, necessarily, but I’m sure I’ll make the English edition at some point thereafter.
Again, on your website, there seems to be a great deal of influence, in terms of the concept, from the field of alchemy. What is it that fascinates you about alchemy? What is the link between the theurgic and the hermetic to the label’s ethics and structure?
Alchemy is a process of creation whereby raw materials – Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury in traditional practice, representative respectively of the Body, Soul, and Spirit of the medium they operate on – are purified and cultivated before they are hermetically sealed and heated in a glass, egg-shaped housing known as the “Philosopher’s egg.” The mixture undergoes a series of transmutations before the Philosopher’s Stone is realized in its complete form.
This process is reflected in the Emerald Tablet, a writing attributed to Hermes Trismegistus in which he describes a three-fold wisdom composed of alchemy, astrology, and theurgy. On the whole, the Emerald Tablet asserts a cyclical nature of creation lead by fire and composed of harmony between concepts such as polarity, gender, and correspondence.
It is this same cyclical flow of creation in which the label operates. Raw materials are gathered, reflected upon, and transformed into products which are then sold to continue the cycle. The transformation itself is alchemical, the work process is theurgic.
This is going to be a difficult question: If someone was asking about your label which 4-5 releases would you point him/her towards? Can you also give a brief explanation on your choice for each one of these?
Grower – Grower EP :: this release is the basis upon which I began the label, a critical starting point to understand.
Qual – Qual C20 :: this release is that which I am most proud of. All of the packaging was meticulously designed, hand-cut, and hand-assembled in a quantity of 100. From an alchemical standpoint, it feels most complete.
Slow Tongued Beauty – Temptable Desertion C20 :: the most sonically challenging release of the label to date
Coarses – 0x002 C44 :: beautifully composed minimal techno with underlying themes of gender and polarity which deeply resonate with the Hermetic principles that I value
SPT – Expedition III C100 :: simply put, I am proud of my work on this tape. It feels closest to the original intentions of ambient techno that I made for the project and serves as a good standalone representation of the themes behind both SPT and IOEPR.
You also organize live events around the Philadelphia area as far as I know. Do those include your artists alone, or do you organize events for other acts as well? And across different genres? Do you have any upcoming live events you would like to mention?
The live events so far have always included guest acts, and while in 2016 the focus has been more so to showcase End Result Artists it is always important to work with people who share similar creative outlets. Events often have themes of operation, but the Dark Matter series specifically aims to blur boundaries between experimental and dance music styles.
A different event theme is Celestial Ascension. Its third instalment, «Eightfold Star», took place recently on 03 Sept, featuring live sets by PulseWidthMod, Obligate Surrogate, FMF, and Dentana, with guest Compactor. The fourth instalment, «Polar Reversal», will take place on 08 Oct. with End Result acts Coarses, SPT, Wolf Dem, and Speaking Parts, with guest IXVLF.
End Result stays very busy in terms of releases, so what do you have planned for the next few months?
Following the Summer Campaign, we enter the Autumnal Phase with new titles released for Samhain, but it is too early to provide names. The cycle of Regeneration and Becoming will continue forth in coming seasons. “En Giro Torte Sol Ciclos Et Rotor Igne.”
Alright Justin! Thanks again for finding the time to answer my questions! All the best to you!
And to you, Spyros. Thank you reciprocally.
*Photos of Dentana, Flyherder, Celestial Ascension Event and Wort taken by Derek Rush. You can check his work here