Ted Killian: Flux Aeterna (PFMCD007)


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Ted Killian: Electric and acoustic guitars, samples, loops, sound design

Loop-based guitar improvisations/excursions recorded “live” in the studio in a single take. Ted's music is frequently compared to that of David Torn, Steve Tibbetts, Terje Rypdal, Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Sonny Sharrock, Nels Cline, or Bill Frisell, sometimes even David Gilmour, Jeff Beck or Uli Jon Roth. But Ted cites influences that come from all over the map: Leo Kottke, Eliott Sharp, Paul Dresher, Scott Johnson, Vernon Reid, John Abercrombie, Michael Brook, Daniel Lanois, Gary Lucas, Jim Thomas, John Fahey, Jimi Hendrix, John Mclaughlin, Frank Zappa, Pat Metheny, Buckethead, Chet Atkins and Les Paul. Yet, despite this, there is still something uniquely “Killianesque” in his approach. Ted is a guitarist who isn't afraid to paint with the instrument's full color “palette.” He's not afraid to make wild, adventurous, passionate “in-you-face” music or sonorous, languid, peaceful harmonic/melodic explorations.

Ted Killian: A Biography

Born and raised in sunny Southern California, Ted Killian has been a guitarist for over 4 decades now and he still hasn't managed to learn to play the thing correctly. But, as it turns out, this may have turned out to be a pretty good thing. Without necessarily having set out to do so, Killian has found his own unique “voice” on an instrument that is nearly ubiquitous in modern popular music. His sound is a peculiar amalgam of odd, sometimes familiar, influences: folk, pop, blues, rock, metal, jazz, electronica, electro-acoustic “art music,” and just plain noise (“!”) that begs one to think the word “fusion” but is much more primal, gut-level and organic than any connotation that word may conjure.

Killian's music is full of contradictions. It is primitive and sophisticated, visceral and sensitive, abstract and accessible, complex and blood simple all at once. It is given birth by heavy doses of technology (MIDI guitar, a plethora of electronic effects, digital echo devices, samplers, and all manner of assorted “gadgets”) but the result is amazingly human sounding. There is blood and sweat mixed in with all of the diodes and cables — and more than a small measure of passion. This intensity is not something that can be seen in the usual form of typical guitarist “histrionics” but can be heard in every note of the music itself.

Killian began playing and experimenting early on, but (in terms of public performance) bloomed late. Beginning in the late 1980s, he began performing his original music in conjunction with the Ventura New Music Concert Series (Southern California)– aided by close friend and colleague, avant-jazz trumpeter, Jeff Kaiser. So began a long series of ever-changing concerts and presentations all around Southern California. Some of these were in connection to SEAMUS, an acronym for the national “new music” organization: the Society for Electro Acoustic Music in the United States (Killian was introduced to the organization by Kaiser in 1990 and became President of the Los Angeles chapter in 1992). Ted's has been interviewed as a featured composer on “Music of the Americas” on KPFK radio in Los Angeles. Since the debut of “Flux Aeterna” his music has been played on literally dozens of radio stations around the globe and has garnered critical praise in as many publications internationally. In recent years, he has composed music for ballet, “fixed” gallery installations, multi-discipinary art performances, large ensembles and small groups. And, after all of this, Killian has still somehow managed to avoid having ever been in anything resembling a “band.”

Ted Killian is a 1982 graduate of UCSB with a Bachelors degree in visual arts. Since then he has exhibited paintings, sculpture and computer art in a number of galleries, museums and other venues across the country. He was a 1992 appointee to the “Task Force for Visual Arts” in Ventura, CA. He supports his musical/artistic activities with his “day job” as a freelance graphic designer for various musical instrument and high-tech manufacturers. He currently resides in Southern Oregon with his wife, 3 sons, 3 guinea pigs, and 2 goldfish.



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1 review for Ted Killian: Flux Aeterna (PFMCD007)

  1. 0 out of 5

    “Feedback shreiks and EBow howls over hypnotic grooves add up to a great soundtrack for a bad dream.”

    — MB Guitar Player, July 2002 issue “Quick Hits” (p.104)

    “Ted Killian, electric and acoustic guitars, samples, loops; Jeff Kaiser, mixing and mastering. An album whose liner notes quote Edward Abbey against metaphysical idealism is probably not going to contain middle of the road smooth Jazz! Here in eleven tracks, Ted Killian explores the terrain first charted by the likes of Robert Fripp and Fred Frith. Making generous use of electronic effects, Killian creates soundscapes alternatingly terrifying and beautiful. All in all a recording for lovers of extreme guitar and experimental sounds. Nicely packaged.”

    –Eric Lewis, October 2002, http://www.jazznow.com

    “Killian’s electric and acoustic guitars, samples and loops create an
    intriguing blend of noise, ambient (due to bass growl underpin), and
    arena rock guitar over the course of ten varied tracks. This might
    appeal to prog-rockers more than the free-improv crowd, but its
    definitely appealing. I listened to this right after indulging myself
    in all four sides of Tales from Topographic Oceans. This seems
    the perfect dessert. What if Jimi went really druggy? Mix by Jeff
    Kaiser. Its in a thin three-fold package wrapped in a band.”

    Steve Koenig — JumpArts Journal, December 2003

    “Siamo in un’epoca in cui imperversano sul mercato programmi per computer e schede audio di sempre più stupefacente sofisticazione; i sintetizzatori, i campionatori, le batterie elettroniche si vendono più delle chitarre elettriche. Non v’è dubbio alcuno che ai musicisti e ai discofili relativamente consapevoli, in una dimensione squisitamente computerizzata, lo strumento senza il quale il rock non sarebbe mai esistito e che ha marchiato a fuoco l’ultimo mezzo secolo di musica, dal folk alla classica, appaia in profonda crisi. Ma così non è, poiché è proprio con la chitarra che sono state prodotte alcune fra le opere più stimolanti dei Nineties e del nuovo secolo.
    Una di queste è senza dubbio FLUX AETERNA di Ted Killian. È il primo album solista e il capolavoro di questo sublime chitarrista, un’opera di rock sperimentale fino all’esaurimento nervoso, in cui il “nostro” rivela il suo debito verso Robert Fripp, Brian Eno, Jimi Hendrix, David Torn, Steve Tibbetts, Uli Jon Roth, Sun Ra, tanto per citarne alcuni, amalgamando queste influenze in uno stile fatto di note dissonanti, distorte, allungate, infinite, sospese.
    Nasce nella California del Sud (terra in cui il rumore chitarristico cresce rigoglioso) 48 anni fa, è musicista da oltre 38, e da sempre grande sperimentatore/esploratore della chitarra elettrica. Nei tardi Eighties, comincia a suonare la sua originalissima musica nella manifestazione “The Ventura New Music Concert Series (California del Sud), coadiuvato dall’amico/collega, trombettista “avant-jazz”, Jeff Kaiser (che ha anche dato il suo prezioso contributo alla realizzazione del cd), iniziando così una lunga serie di concerti attorno al suo paese natìo.
    In questo cd suona oltre alla chitarra elettrica, una chitarra acustica, loops, sampler, strumenti elettronici, dimostrandosi ad un tempo sia tutt’altro che estraneo alla tradizione del rock, sia in transito verso altri universi, con escursioni chitarristiche che dipanano filigrane come nuvole che annunciano un temporale. L’opener Hubble è la versione apocalittica di Star Spangled Banner, suonata da Jimi Hendrix al Woodstock Music Festival nell’estate del 1969. Leaving Medford è musica sperimentale allo stato puro, la chitarra è metallica (sembra che abbia il filo spinato al posto delle corde), dietro alla quale schizzano vetriolici noises industriali. Questo pezzo è l’espressione delle metropoli americane in decomposizione, afflitte dalla peste contemporanea che profuma di paranoia: l’alienazione. Cauterant Baptism, propulso da ripetitivi ritmi dub/hip-hop, è imperniato su arroventati quanto pirotecnici solismi di chitarra dalla dissonanza inaudita, ancora solo in nuce agli esordi del brano e pienamente in sboccio dopo circa 1:20 secondi. Last Sparrow contiene bestiali “fripperie”, con forti incursioni di clangori industrial. Lugubri lamenti e percussioni junglesche (un po’ in sottovoce) caratterizzano Gravity Suspended. La midi guitar di Ted comanda dall’alto Recurvate Plaint e il chitarrismo acustico “operaio”, sempre del “nostro”, ne sta a debita distanza, ben consapevole che la chitarra elettrica può menare stilettate improvvise come un attacco epilettico. Convocation Solitaire è simile al precedente, ma svela strutture più ambientali a la David Torn. Anche in Nocternal Interstices, come in Last Sparrow, gli ammiccamenti a Sua Maestà Cremisi sono più che evidenti, e la chitarra “frippoide” di Killian vaga fra l’aspro/dissonante e il crepuscolare/melodico, applicando con estremo rigore le tavole della legge del dott. Fripp. Reverse Logic ha chiare reminiscenze “eno/byrneiane” (ascoltare My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts per credere), mentre la title track, che conclude l’album, è un coacervo di distorsioni fra le più viscerali e crude che si siano mai ascoltate nell’experimental music.
    Un cd cerebrale ed effettistico, imbevuto di nevrosi metropolitane, conteso fra astrattismi di dissonanze libere e violente sonorità elettriche, eseguito con grande classe. Ted Killian meriterebbe, a mio modesto parere, un posto all’Olimpo della musica d’avanguardia, insieme a Bob Fripp, Adrian Belew, David Torn, grazie ai suoi spericolati innesti di stilemi rock, loops frippoidi e noises industrial.”

    [We are in an age in which the product of computers and audio sound cards rage across the marketplace with more and more narcotic sophistication. Players of synthesizers, samplers, and electronic drums sell more than those of electric guitars. There is little doubt among musicians and relatively aware fans in this exquisitely computerized dimension, that the instrument without which rock could never have existed and has had the virility to fire the last half-century of music (from folk to classical) appears in deep crisis. But not entirely so, since it is with just the guitar that has been produced some of the more stimulating works of the Nineties and the new century.
    One of these is without a doubt FLUX AETERNA from Ted Killian. It is the first solo album and masterpiece of this sublime guitarist, a work of rock experimentation to the point of nervous exhaustion, which in “ours” it reveals its debit towards Robert Fripp, Brian Eno, Jimi Hendrix, David Torn, Steve Tibbetts, Uli Jon Roth, Sun Ra (a lot in order to cite of some) amalgamating these infuences in dissonance, composition and style, distorted, lengthened, infinite, suspended.
    Born of the fertile soil of Southern California (where growing guitar noise requires some rigor) 48 years ago, he has been a musician for 38, and always a great experimentor/explorer of the electric guitar. In late the Eighties, he began to play his very original music in the showcase “The Ventura New Music Concert Series” in Southern California, with encouragement from friend/colleague, avant-jazz trumpeter, Jeff Kaiser (who has also given his valuable contributions to the realization of this CD), beginning a long series of concerts around his native region.
    On this CD the sound is heard (beyond the electric guitar, acoustic guitar, loops, sampler, electronic instruments, proving himself to be at once both contemporary and no stranger to the traditions of the rock) of rock in transition towards other universes, with guitaristic excursions that spread filigrees like clouds that announce a thunderstorm. The opener, Hubble, might be the apocalyptic version of Star Spangled Banner, played by Jimi Hendrix to the Woodstock Music Festival in the summer of 1969. Leaving Medford is musical experience in the pure state, the guitar is metallic (it seems to have razor-wire instead of strings), behind which oscillate acidic industrial noises. This piece is the expression of an urban America in decomposition, plagued from contemporary sickness and reeking of paranoia and alienation. Cauterant Baptism, propelled by the repetitive rhythms of dub/hip-hop, brazenly heats up to red-hot consuming other pyrotechnical solists of guitar from its mere dissonance, quiet only in the nuanced debut of the track and totally blooming after approximately 1:20 seconds. Last Sparrow contains beastly “Frippery”, with strong incursions of clangorous industrial noise. Gloomy drones and jungle percussions (a po’ in sottovoce) characterize Gravity Suspended. Ted’s midi guitar commands from the heights on Recurvate Pl aint with acoustic guitar always playing at a respectful distance, very aware that the electric guitarist can alter stylistic direction unexpectedly like an epileptic attack. Convocation Solitaire is similar to the previous one, but it reveals ambient structures closer to David Torn. Also, in Nocternal Interstices, like in Last Sparrow, the kinship to “His Crimson Majesty” are more than obvious, and the vaguely “Frippoid” guitar of Killian swerves between the breathless/dissonant and crepuscular/melodic, applying with extreme rigor the theories of Dr. Fripp. Reverse Logic has a clear “Eno/Byrne-sque” resemblance (listen to My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts in order to believe it). Meanwhile, the title track that concludes the album is a concoction of the most visceral and raw distortions that have never been heard in experimental music.
    This is a cerebral and sexy CD, imbued with urban angst, contrasting between free abstraction, violent dissonances and sonorous electric playing, executed with great class. Ted Killian would deserve, to my modest seeming, a place on the Mount Olympus of the musical vanguard with Bob Fripp, Adrian Belew, and David Torn, thanks to his fractal grafting of rock style, “Frippoid” loops and industrial noises.]

    — Demetrio Cutrupi, http://utenti.lycos.it/newage_soundtracks/varie/tedkillian.htm

    “If you’re looking for guitar music where you’ll be searching for a stylistic reference point, but will come up empty handed, check out Ted Killian’s CD Flux Aeterna. Imagine an Uli Jon Roth or Jimi Hendrix within a sonic landscape not cohabited by bass and drums, but simply with guitars and amps set to feedback mercilessly (oh yeah, and add a heaping helping of samples, loops and other sonic mayhem). Creativity with a capital ‘C’ is what we’ve got here, but it won’t peak everyone’s interest of course. That may not be the artist’s desire though. Killian is walking his own path with these ten instrumentals; within the structure of what he’s established however, he does do his job with conviction, tenacity and confidence, which are important elements to have in order to enjoy work that’s constantly breaking down your preconceptions and shattering barriers. The highly overdriven tones on songs such as “Cauterant Baptism” and “Hubble” may frighten children and small rodents, but others will find it just what Dr. Ted Nugent ordered (if this reference escapes you, look for late ’70s footage of Nugent bowing before a wildly out-of-control amp). Born and raised in sunny Southern California, Ted has played guitar for over 38 years and has never managed to learn how to do it correctly. But, as it turns out, this may have turned out to be a pretty good thing. Without necessarily having set out to do so, Ted has found his own unique “voice” on an instrument that is nearly ubiquitous in modern popular music. Killian began playing and experimenting early on, but (in terms of public performance) bloomed late. Beginning in the late 1980s, he began performing his original music in conjunction with the Ventura New Music Concert Series (Southern California) – aided by close friend and colleague, avant-jazz trumpeter, Jeff Kaiser. So began a long series of ever-changing concerts and presentations all around Southern California. Ted has been interviewed as a featured composer on “Music of the Americas” on KPFK radio in Los Angeles. Since the debut of Flux Aeterna his music has been played on literally dozens of radio stations around the globe and has garnered critical praise in as many publications internationally. In recent years, Killian has composed music for ballet, “fixed” gallery installations, multi-disciplinary art performances, large ensembles and small groups. And, after all of this, he has still somehow managed to avoid having ever been in anything resembling a “band.”

    –Dan McAvinchey Guitar Nine Records http://www.guitar9.com

    “Hubble starts off like the shards from the Hendrix (as in Jimi) shuttle. Indeed a trip! This electroacoustic mesh of guitars and samples is an understated meeting of contemporary electronica and heavy metal, without its farce and circumstance. The lovely distortion on Leaving Medford wriggles in Oregonian tongue and then shoots off into a distant galaxy to meet Steve Vai for a moment of reckoning. Now, donÕt get me wrong, this is by no means late 80s schlock rock, though it does playfully walk its lines by way of the language of strings. This is a much less accessible alternative, especially as heard on Last Sparrow, with its warped loop filtering and Asian theme. This distortion has more in common with KK Null than Tommy Lee and bares this discÕs finest moment in repose. Parts Godspeed You Black Emperor, parts Eiko & Koma, Last Sparrow is equivalent to a carwash with mercury having replaced the water and suds. Nocturnal Interstices is a Pacific Northwest coastal drive on a typical inclement evening. Its wash of passing vehicles, waves and stormy weather are trance inducing. Killian uses his MIDI instrument like an ancient lyre charming the fear from night. There is a funky humourist about in the concave Reverse Logic as it winds and shimmys with guitarese. Call it fusion, but above its pap and underestimation of its audience, this guy sounds like he is having fun. Over and above this record will not be for those who caution guitar squealers, but it is in its more abstract and introspective moments that this disc succeeds and revels. And those moments are aplenty on Flux Aeterna.”

    TJ Norris Underground Studio http://www.tjnorris.net

    “pfMentum s’impose depuis plusieurs annŽes maintenant comme la structure ˆ suivre dans le milieu des musiques crŽatives. Label d’o sont sorti quelques opus majeurs (Ganz Andere, Hear. or what, Asphalt Buddhas ou Pith Balls and Inclined Planes), pfMentum propose aussi de pŽnŽtrer plus largement dans cet univers particulier par l’intermŽdiaire d’un site web (www.newcreativemusic.com) qui regroupe tout un ensemble de textes, interviews ou essais qui facilitent l’accs de l’auditeur ˆ cette musique. Ted Killian est sans doute peu connu en Europe. Guitariste-pote, sa musique impose un rythme et un souffle d’une grande fra”cheur. Sur cet album le musicien rŽunit dix de ses compositions qui participent toutes ˆ la construction d’un espace sombre fait de questionnements et de rŽflexion mais dont l’issue reste l’espoir.”

    [pfMentum asserts itself now after several years as a format to follow in creative music. The label where the kind of great works such as Ganz Andere, Hear. or what, Asphalt Buddhas, or Pith Balls and Inclined Planes have been released, pfMentum wishes also to penetrate deeper into that particular universe through a web site, (www.newcreativemusic.com) which gathers together a collection of texts, interviews and essays that make this music more accessible to the listener. Ted Killian is without a doubt little known in Europe. A guitarist-poet, his music offers a rhythm and a great breath of freshness. In this album the musician presents ten of his compositions which combine to create a gloomy space of questions and reflection, but where there’s also a window of hope.]

    –Sebastien Moig, http://membres.lycos.fr/jazzosphere/

    “All music is to a greater or lesser extent about movement through time (or the lack of it). Really canny musicians can also create the illusion of moving through space. Ted Killian is one of those musicians. Using nothing more than layered guitars (and occasional samples and loops), Killian creates sound worlds then moves through them, sometimes drifting as on the opening “Hubble,” a sort-of calling card for the entire project. There are echoes of another master of guitaristic space, Bill Frisell, in “Recurvate Plaint,” which adds intensity over the high lonely landscape of a rolling, endless rhythmic figure. “Reverse Logic” takes us to the brink of ambient clubland, but throws some noise into the mix just to keep it real. “Gravity Suspended” wouldn’t sound out of place on “Hearts of Space” (for that matter, the entire CD would make a very nice “HoS” program, if you could stretch the time to the CD’s generous 70-minute length), and the title cut, with it’s punning reference to Ligeti’s choral work, made famous on the 2001 soundtrack, has a Dark Side of the Moon kind of vibe (the opening notes are an almost direct quote of Floyd’s riff).And I think I hear David Torn in the starfields of “Nocturnal Interstices,” so Killian has learned his lessons well. He’s a lapidary craftsman building charming structures that pretty much compel you to wander through (though the layering never sounds fussy or contrived). He’s a pretty damn good graphic artist as his captivating and perfectly executed packaging design demonstrates. Highly recommended, especially for guitar freaks.”

    –John Chacona, http://www.onefinalnote.com/issue10/reviews/killian.html

    “Ted Killian’s Flux Aeterna begins with a eerily apocalyptic electric guitar solo that in places seems to quote parts of Jimi Hendrix’ by now world-famous rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” from 1969’s Woodstock Music Festival. With the first track as a point of departure, Killian moves through a series of compositions where the guitar plays the main role, while surrounded by a variety of synthesized harmonic tapestries. For the most part, though, the guitar is the primary melodic instrument on Flux Aeterna, and really shows Killian experimenting with it in a lot of new ways. In places, this recording sounds like the work of Robert Fripp and King Crimson, and in other places there’s strangely experimental work going on that’s reminiscent of Brian Eno, and even some of John Cage’s work. However, one thing is certain: Ted Killian has created a fantastic disc that truly creates a new harmonic vocabulary both for the guitar and for the guitar as background and foreground instrument. Guitar players in particular should pay special attention to this recording, but if you’re looking for a recording that seems to be slightly — very slightly — tinged with an 1980s synthesizer sound (as well as a very unique guitar sound), then this is certainly a fantastic recording.”

    –Matt Borghi, All Music Guide

    “Ted Killian plays solo guitar on FLUX AETERNA but the sound is rich and full owing to his generous use of delay devices and effects pedals. This music…is atmospheric in the extreme, filled with ethereality and almost psychedelic textures. Killian has clearly listened to players like Christy Doran, Loren Mazzacane Connors, Steve Tibbetts, Robert Fripp and Terje Rypdal – that list should give you a good idea of where he’s coming from. He loves searing guitar improvs over various backdrops. With a white hot tone – super trebly and always threatening to spill over into raw feedback – Killian alternates between Hendrixian fantasies and paranoid digital sounds, with occasional high lonesome plucking.”

    Jason Bivens, Cadence, February 2002

    “Guitarists are a dime a dozen in the pop world, but when you go further out into exploration like Ted Killian, commonality is replaced with unique sound. Thus said, I was happy to receive this new CD from Ventura rebel label pfMentum. It’s great to hear another voice in the world of experimental electric guitar done so well. Killian utilizes both his superb skills as a musician on electronics as well as guitar.

    He interfaces the two seamlessly to create a powerful and unique voice to the known fair we’ve come to expect from other players such as Nels Cline. This CD has made it quite clear that rock is not dead it just got cloned and reconstructed before it’s original was gutted by the music industry. Killian creates a full musical adventure with ten cuts of thematic tunes ranging from rhythmic scream sessions to all out grooves digging deep into the history of the guitar.

    He even makes an interesting musical reference to a famous Jimi Hendrix performance one summer in the late sixties, and I would swear I hear some Sun Ra in there as well (though I may be tripping).

    What I love about the improvised scene growing throughout the world is the abolishment of specific styles that continue to eat away at the artistic status quo. I’d say if you have an open ear to electric guitar exploration with appreciation for the hard core, you’d want to get this one. Flux Aeterna is another nail in the coffin of pop sensibilities, and I thank Mr. Killian for that.”

    Rent Romus, http://www.bayimproviser.com/interviewdetail.asp?interview_id=12

    “Ted Killian is a nice enough fellow. Family man, mild-mannered, well-versed in the manipulation of ones and zeroes, PDFs and digital delay loops. Those who-knew-him-when as a local, and the graphic design point man at the Seymour Duncan compound in Goleta, knew him as a kindly sort who was missed when he packed up the clan and moved to the friendlier real estate climes of Oregon a few years ago. And then there is his alter artistic ego, also kindly, but also restless and wild. Killian is an electric guitar adventurer who may finally get some of the attention he deserves, having finally released his debut CD, Flux Aeterna, on the pfMENTUM label, run by his old friend and comrade, Santa Barbaran new-jazz maestro, Jeff Kaiser (www.pfmentum.com).

    A beautiful, raucous, and ethereal maze of sounds both physical and digital, and mostly conjured with guitars, Killian obviously ignored the advice of anyone who might have suggested “don’t try this at home.” What has come out of his garage, and his brain, is a mutant DIY jewel. Experimental, yes. Accessible, too, in the way that mad guitar playing in the post-Hendrix era has embedded itself in the collective ear.

    Some may have caught Killian’s very occasional live appearances, in Santa Barbara and Ventura, in which he appeared entangled in wires and chains of effects. To set up kinetic musical canvas situations, Killian would deploy looping devices, including the mythical antique, the Electro-Harmonix 16-second digital delay unit, and sound-altering devices such as a ring modulator and mondo-distortion pressed into the service of grace.

    As heard on the opening track, “Hubble,” Killian doesn’t spare the piercing solo guitar statements, the epic rock gesture that sounds loud no matter what volume you’ve dialed up. But often, those sweeping lines are laid atop surprisingly delicate, layered backdrops, as on “Cauterant Baptism,” or the languid distorto-toned musing drifting over “Recurvate Plaint.” “Leaving Medford” is an Oregonian-specific play on the song “Leaving Memphis,” but the vibe here is industrial and a touch foreboding, and a splinkety energy bubbles beneath the textural demolition derby that is “Reverse Logic.”

    But tenderness and subtlety hover about the proceedings, too. “Nocturnal Interstices” is an ambient collage of soaring tones and happily elusive structure. “Convocation Solitaire” is a sweet dream of a loop-happy tone poem, somewhat reminiscent of Bill Frisell’s first album. The title cut closes the album with its underwater-sounding arpeggios and unruly rock phrases, all dressed up in feedback and tattered timbral garb. The nice guy, the artist, the looper, and the rock riffster walk into a bar . . . and a church.
    For anyone wondering about the painterly expressive potential of the electric guitar, this is one prime example. One hears influential strains of artful gadget-tweakers David Torn and Robert Fripp here, but Killian is also onto something that is uniquely his own. This is the work of an open-minded, dogma-resistant experimentalist in a rock guitarphile’s body.”

    Josef Woodard, Santa Barbara Independent, 9.13-20.01

    “Imagine Robert Fripp, David Torn, Steve Tibbetts, and Jimi Hendrix at their wildest, and add heavy doses of electronics and space Kosmiche, and you’ve something like Flux Aeterna by Oregon based guitarist Ted Killian. Killian plays electric and acoustic guitars, samples, loads of creative loop work, and sound design to create a ripping set of guitar excursions and pyrotechnics that meld numerous recognizable influences into something decidedly Killianesque. I gather by “sound design” that Killian is using loads of guitar efx, perhaps even some electronic gear. The ambient element is prominent throughout the CD’s 10 tracks, but over the ambience is a man seemingly possessed, wrenching piercing, noisy, throbbing… you name it… notes from his guitar.
    “Hubble” opens the set as a kind of Hendrix Star Spangled Banner type tune backed by low drones and subtle percussive sounds. “Leaving Medford” is a combination rock concert shred solo, psychedelic freakout, and ambient David Torn styled excursion. Killian keeps the piece busily exciting as he kicks out wailing and rumbling runs and anguished notes, yet the sonic attack has an element of restraint from the ambient backdrop and slowly pulsating electronic sounds. A well crafted piece that blends killer playing with Killian’s frenetic sound designs. “Cauterant Baptism” features ripping spaced out rock solos backed by repetitive Dubby/hip-hoppy rhythms and intense looped bits. “Last Sparrow” includes strong Frippoid guitarscape influences but backed by mechanical minimalist patterns. “Recurvate Plaint” is an acoustic and electric guitar duo piece that starts off easy-paced but the electric guitar solos soon start to shred a bit with sharp attacks that contrast in a strange but cooperative way with the laid back acoustic guitar. “Convocation Solitaire” is similar but far more ambient, conjuring up images of John Fahey teamed up with David Torn. “Gravity Suspended” is like a noisier version of something from Torn’s Cloud About Mercury. And “Nocturnal Interstices” is an ambient tune featuring looped Fripp styled guitarscapes placed against a seaside setting of rushing ocean waves.
    And there’s plenty more. In some ways I’m reminded of a modern version of Steve Tibbetts first two albums. Or Fripp gone totally acid cosmic. King Crimson for space rock fans? In any event, this is one exciting as hell album that fans of creatively aggressive guitar work will love. Killian goes nuts on the loops and efx, but all throughout the album it’s crystal clear that the man can PLAY. Highly recommended. ”

    Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz, From Aural Innovations #18 (January 2002)

    “Really atmospheric use of electronics and guitar on this recording by master Ted Killian. It is interesting to see how this man creates certain waves of sounds, some of them more rhythmic, some of the more melodic, some of them more noisy and he starts to put one over the other to create this unique pieces. In my mind this is like the sea…when one wave disappears then another one comes to replace it without leaving any holes. Here is the same…you have one sound in the background…then another one covers it gently and the first one stays in the back or goes away. If this sound disappears, another one takes it places letting silence appear only to remark the dynamics. Ted Killian is really experimenting here and I love guys like this one who have the mind so open to achieve this results. Ten tracks of exploring new soils in the musical world. Favorite tracks: “Leaving Medford”, “Recurvate Plaint” and “Reverse Logic”.”


    “Ecco un album che potrebbe essere usato per attirare nelle caverne misteriose delle avanguardie anche gli appassionati di rock pi curiosi. Lo diciamo con grande simpatia per questo tipo di tranelli, del tutto leciti e propedeutici, addirittura essenziali per la crescita delle migliori pulsioni cognitive. Il chitarrista Ted Killian costruisce dieci brani in perfetta solitudine (assistito dal trombettista Jeff Kaiser solo per la parte tecnica relativa al missaggio e alla masterizzazione) e lo fa utilizzando al meglio le tecniche del loop e delle sovraincisioni, creando una sorta di alone fatto di piccoli anelli di suono, sussurri ritmici, rumori industriali messi in fila a creare una sorta di matrice frammentata, e su questo panorama sonoro che gli fa da sfondo improvvisa a lungo con la sua chitarra elettrica ben effettata che utilizza con una notevole padronanza di un linguaggio piuttosto originale che lascia intravedere squarci di una perfetta conoscenza delle tecniche e dei suoni legati al rock e alla psichedelia. Killian ha una visione molto interessante su come far interagire queste due componenti (fondali derivati dalla musica d’avanguardia e improvvisazione rockeggiante) e riesce a tenere ben desta l’attenzione anche per i brani pi lunghi (spesso si passano gli otto minuti) che sono solitamente basati su suggestive sezioni ipnotiche che lasciano immaginare inusuali manipolazioni morfologiche delle sonoritˆ di base impiegate. Certi momenti potrebbero essere tranquillamente trapiantati nei dischi dei Grateful Dead pi lisergici o magari in qualche produzione di Elliott Sharp, Henry Kaiser o di David Torn, i primi nomi che vengono alla mente ascoltando questo ottimo Flux Aeterna registrato in California nella primavera del 2001.”

    Maurizio Comandini., January 2002, http://www.allaboutjazz.com/italy/

    [Translation: Here you have an album that could be used to attract in the mysterious caverns of the musical avantgarde and even the most curious rock fans. We tell this with a great sympathy for this kind of knack, totally right and propaedeutic, almost essential for the growth of the best learning pulsions. The guitarist Ted Killian builds ten songs in perfect solitude (helped by trumpet player Jeff Kaiser only in the technical part regarding mixing and mastering), and he does it by using at the latest overdub and looping techniques, creating some kind of halo made up of little sound rings, rythmical whispers, industrial noises lined up to create some sort of fragmented matrix, and on this sonic background panorama he plays lengthy electric guitar improvisations, well effected, and with a great mastery of a very original language that makes you see passages of a perfect knowledge of the techniques and of the sounds of rock and psychedelic music. Killian has a really interesting vision of how to make these two components interact (backgrounds derived from avantgarde music and rocking improvisation) and is able to keep the attention of the listener well engaged even during the longer pieces (the songs are often longer than 8 minutes) that are usually based on really suggestive hypnotic sections that make you think of the unusual morpholigic manipolations of the basic sounds used. Certain moments could be easily transplanted from the most “acidic” albums of the Greatful Dead or from some production by Elliot Sharp, Henry Kaiser or David Torn, the first names that come to your mind when you listen this great Flux Aeterna, released in California in the Spring of 2001.]

    “…FLUX AETERNA will grab your attention quickly with the incisive, lively guitar expressions of Ted Killian. This is 70:40 minutes of contemporary jazz guitar. Each song is a showcase to the guitar magic of Ted Killian. If you enjoy jazz guitar both electric and acoustic, you will find some most unusual and exciting music in the work of Ted Killian. Killian is a jazz guitarist with style. Excellent guitar work abounds in this CD.”

    Lee Prosser , jazzreview.com

    “Ted Killian’s “Flux Aeterna” solo outing CD is an exercise in emotive and ambient guitar, sample, and loop work recorded in Medford, Oregon. The opening track, “Hubble,” is a brief anthem that pays tribute “The Star-Spangled Banner.” But make no mistake, Ted’s no Yngwie Malmsteen or Joe Satriani. Eschewing finger-fast technique for layered guitar exploration, the subsequent tracks, at their more energetic and interesting moments, remind me of a guitar-driven instrumental cross between Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, and Zirbel — while they avoid any semblance of beat-driven techno or dance. This is experimental guitar for the Starscape set. Think Mike Hersch. While not overtly technically adept or classically composed, “Flux Aeterna” makes for some interesting background noise, if not repeated, studious listens, and its wide(ish) range of stylings — from “Cauterant Baptism”‘s eventual burst of Locust Abortion Technician-era Butthole Surfers-style noise and “Recurvate Plaint”‘s more ballad-oriented approach to “Convocation Solitaire”‘s near-Bill Frisell nuances — make me wonder where Ted comes from musically… as well as where he’s going.”

    Heath Row, January, 2002, http://www.cardhouse.com/heath

    “New creative music can mean many things to different people. It’s an opportunity for the artist to find new ways to express himself. Interpreting the results may leave many paths for the listener. It’s a personal decision.

    Ted Killian’s compositions fall into the realm of “space” music. Outer space may contain programmed loops, noise, and electronic pulses. Some of it is random and some of it is not. To this, Killian adds forceful guitar phrases. They’re meant to intimidate. They’re meant to shock you. And they’re meant to provide you with the means to “let yourself go.” After all, aren’t many film soundtracks filled with the same kind of mystery?

    A guitar strikes familiar sounds. All over the world, folks are comfortable with its timbre. From its most piercing cries to its most mellow tones, the guitar’s vocabulary can handle every hue. While Killian stays with a science-fiction pattern through much of the session, his imagination does wander far and wide. Elongated tones squeeze and ooze through tunnels of sound. Close your eyes and watch the clouds go by. You won’t be dreaming about gentle flowers and grasses that sway in the wind. This music is alive with action. Imagine a gunfighter staring down Clint Eastwood, or a Vulcan preparing to land on 21st Century Earth. Killian’s creative music has a charming effect. It won’t lull you to sleep. Instead, it will provide you with hours of varied sounds that stimulate different memories each time out.”

    Jim Santell, allaboutjazz.com

    “sometime in the distant future, a man named ted killian decides to travel back in time and record jimi hendrix’s dreams…luck smiles upon ted, and he is just in time to record the dream that inspired all of jimi’s greatest work! OH NO! on the trip home, ted’s equipment fails and lands him right in the middle of 2001…undaunted, he begins to market the incredible music he found in hendrix’s brain…i am not saying that mr. killian in anyway stole from or even sounds particularly like jimi hendrix. it is simply atmospheric music that is very visually suggestive, overlaid with some really interesting guitar work!”

    Bob Saunders, Ibol records (mag)(a)(zine), Number 2. October 2001

    “Ted Killian plays guitar. This is kinda like saying Miles Davis played trumpet, but hey. Killian’s playing is fairly impressive, but it’s what he does with it that’s even more astonishing.

    The songs on this album are constructed out of long and short bits of playing accompanied by various samples and loops. Reminiscent of some of Helios Creed’s more experimental work, Killian’s songs illustrate a world that is dark and tough, yet still capable of beauty.

    And he takes his time painting his pictures. These songs are dense and complex, but hardly rushed. Contemplation is on the menu, but this is an active, forceful method of thinking. There’s nothing dull about these ideas, no matter how abstract they might be.

    What I hear most is a deliberate use of power. Despite all of the different crashing waves of sound, Killian remains in total control. These are his ideas, after all, and he makes sure each sound is where he wants it to be. And he does so with a light, and not overbearing, touch.”

    Aiding and Abetting, Vol. X, No. 16, September 24, 2001

    “I got this in from a couple of places… mainly, my playing pal Mark Kissinger sent a copy of it to me (reporting that it had also been sent to Bret Hart for review)… I can HEAR why the perpetrators sent it to Mark… heavy, HEAV-EE guitar work from Ted, in some fashion similar to works I’ve heard Kissinger do before. The guitars simply S-O-A-R, reaching heights you couldn’t find on the BEST trip you’ve ever taken. Take a hit of THIS, tho’, it’s much more edifying. There was (very) little in the way of explana on the jacket, should be more info to let the listener know what’s going on… that’s only a minor krit, tho’, the music makes UP for anything lost from that. You will hear elements of Beck (as in Jeff), even Hendrix in there, but it is CLEARLY a style all Ted’s own – a style reminiscent of the furthest reaches of our galaxy… LIGHT YEARS ahead of it’s time! Highly adventurous musics that come (without question) MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by this reviewer.”

    Rotcod Zzaj, improvijazzation #50

    From our friends in Lithuania:
    “Man nepavyko rasti papildom ini apie muzikant , tod l med iaga, kuri pasiek redakcij i leidybin s firmos pfMentum t ra vientelis informacijos altinis, kuriuo remiantis galima pristatyti muzik ir jo nauj j darb . pfMentum – nedidel leidybin firma, sik rusi Kaliforninjoje besispecializuojanti iuolaikin je eksperimentin je ir improvizacin je muzikoje. Tango yra ne kart anks iau pristat s ios firmos leidinius ir, jei i tokio nedidelio skai iaus pristatyt darb b t galima padaryti kai kurias prielaidas ir apibendrinimus, darbas Flux Aeterna nuosekliai siterpia leid j puosel jam estetik . Kaip ir ankstesni leidiniai, i leistas originalioje pakuot je (ne d ut je) bendr muzikin ir apipavidalinimo koncepcij palydint savoti ku motto – “Pokytis prilygsta vil iai. Viltis prilygsta poky iui”. Akivaizdu, kad Ted Killian, tai muzikantas i aug s ir subrend s septintojo-a tuntojo de imte io roko gitaros mokyklos takoje, i estetin s periferijos pus s akivaizd iai paveiktas repetityviojo minimalizmo ir gausaus muzikinio paveldo, be kurio i viso ne manomas joks iuolaikin s muzikos (ne vien gitaros) m stymas ir interpretavimas – urbanizuoto bliuzo, elektroakustikos ir pan. Toks apibendrintas nuorod skai ius ko gera ne ka ink ir paai kina, juolab, kad mus atyd iai klausyti io darbo man s kyriai neapleido mintis, kad man tai ka k primena. Ir tai ko gera visi kai suprantama aplinkyb : audringa, vos per penkiasde imt met turinti elekrin s gitaros evoliucija i gyveno ne vien kulto bang ir, inoma, nat ralu, kas vairias nuotr pas galima atrasti ne vieno muzikanto odyne, o ypa t , kurie i istorij ino ne i nuogird … Kaip tik toki muzikant gretoms, manding, ir reikt priskirti Ted Killian’ – energing ir m sl , pla i ir daugiakanaliais perklojimais i ornamentuot ant roko pamat i gr st muzikavim . ia ap iuopiami ir Frank Zappa ir Carlos Santana, Robert Fripp ir Glenn Branca daugiasluoksni kumas, i kraipytas, perkrautas eksperiemntiniam rokui b dingas “f zavimas”, ankstesni j bliuzmen praeiti keliai ir j palikti estetiniai ymenys: progresyvus akordai ir dimamizmas, “fripertroni ki” garso persiklojimai gri tam jame ry yje, minimalistinis ritmo pie inys ir antraplan s ostinatin s fomul s… visa tai lengvai skaitoma, nepretenzinga ir rezultate gana skalsiai “sueinanti” muzika, kuri bendrai su originaliu Ted Killian’o brai u ir reikliu formos jausmu galima dr siai priskirti prie domios ir tikrai rekomenduotinos i girsti iuolaikin s gitaros muzikos. Pla iau apie pfMentum skaitykite http://www.newcreativemusic.com o apie distribucij : http://www.pfmentum.com

    Linas, Tango Magazine, Lithuania, Octber, 2001

    [Translation: I did not manage to find any additional information on this musician, so material received previously from pfMENTUM is the only context in which it is possible to present this musician and his new work. pfMENTUM is a small record label based in California and specializing in modern experimental and extemporaneous music. Tango has reviewed records of this firm before. From the small amount of given works, it is possible to make conclusions and suppose that this work, ÒFlux Aeterna,Ó fits into a frame of aesthetics introduced by this publisher on other occasions. Like the previous records, it is issued in unique and unusual packing (even in a box), like the musical concepts it contains, along with the cryptic motto: “Change equals hope. Hope equals change.” ItÕs obvious, that Ted Killian is a musician who has grown and matured under the influence of the school of effects (guitar of the seventies and eighties) especially from the peripheral aesthetic point of view of repetitive minimalism, plus an extensive musical heritage — without which musical (not only guitars) thinking and interpretation would be impossible — in electro/acoustic music and urbanized blues. But, such a generalized set of references certainly doesn’t explain anything to us. Listening to the given work, I cannot escape being reminded of one persistent idea: it is clear that not one popular band has survived the speeding 50-year long evolution of the electric guitar. Nonetheless, it is natural that different crumbs of this history can be found in the vocabulary of any musician who knows it from experience rather than from second hand. Among these fashionable musicians we can also rank Ted Killian — who’s music is vigorous and mysterious with wide and multi-channeled overlappings designed around electronic musical effects. Here one can reference such luminaries as Frank Zappa, Carlos Santana, Robert Fripp and Glenn Branca. There is distortion, overloaded “phasing,” different from the electronic effects approaches which the former bluesmen have passed on to us, and their other aesthetic marks (also well known: progressive chords and dynamism). Add “Fripertonic” overlappings of sounds and feedback, a minimized figure of a rhythm and “ostinatic” motifs and you have a formula for the next plan. All this is easily read, without claims and is a result of “converging” music with original Ted Killian characteristics and an exacting feeling of the form — all-in-all, worthy of note. I actually recommend listening to this modern guitar music..]

    “This album brings experimental and artistic music out on the edge where few dare to travel. Killian’s music is at times guitar jams that make the instrument cry, wail, shout, and moan–all at once. He explores various electronic-sensed atmospheric textures, nuances, and colors. In moments the music is ultra-alternative, speculative, mystical, and it can be understood, but in other moments the sounds are bizarre, ethereal, other-worldly, and weird. Noises and screeching[?] that must be heard. Such is cut 2 “Leaving Medford” (9:08).

    Yes the songs are almost ‘aeternal’ giving us a long listen at the talented playing and experimenting. On “Cauterant Baptism” (8:29) we get a more nuanced elongated effort. Still his acid, acrid metallic electronic ‘screamer’ tones and sounds are both treat and irritant. This could be metal meets industrial meets electronica meets avant-garde meets the end of the space-time continuum.

    Track 4 opens with less stress and makes it a nice change of pace. “Recurvate Plaint” at 8:40 exudes aspects of LED ZEP, Celtic touches, New Age tones, and rock undergirdings. It was one of my favorite numbers. This is really and interesting long number. “Nocturnal Interstices” has a more classical and mellow sense. It is dreamy yet without the loud edges.
    Now speaking of long “Reverse Logic” (10:44) is the lengthiest cut on the project. Strange noises, white noise, feedback, and fiery guitar sounds are just a part of this selection. Add metal, etc. and it is one experimental work.

    The prettiest track is number 8 “Convocation Solitaire” (5:30). Very nice tones! Cut #9 “Gravity Suspended” offers some haunting sounds to the theme. Even the names of the tunes are experimental and on the edge. Still these are not just experimental jam sessions. There is a spiritual awareness, a keenness and insight to the music. We end with the title track. There’s a total music time of 70:40. That’s a lot of music for thought. A very creative and exploratory work that deserves a listen.”

    A. Canales, The CRITICAL REVIEW, 2523 Montana, El Paso, TX 79903

    “Ted Killian is first and foremost a guitarist, performing on both electric and acoustic guitars, but as seen on this new album he also has a firm handle on sampler, loops and sound design. Recorded by Evan Hodge and mixed by Jeff Kaiser, this album explores a number of ideas in and around the post-rock landscape. Killian’s programme is not that of the experimental improv performer – to explore new sonorities and textures in his instrument – but rather Killian seems content to exploit more recognizable chords and performance techniques, with perhaps some Frippertronics thrown in for good measure. The howling, plucking, scraping and sliding sounds from his guitar are often surrounded by restrained electronic tones, voices and occasional field recordings, which add a nice touch to the arrangements. Consider the calm atmospheres of “Nocturnal Interstices”, or the low frequency drone in “Hubble”, matching the fretwork by creating interesting and evocative moods. Occasionally, as in “Cauterant Baptism” the music will erupt in an explosion of swinging rock, with a drum loop beating loudly and energetically. Sometimes his guitar will howl as if to the moon, as in “Flux Aeterna”, and sometimes his playing will be more contemplative and melodic, as in “Recurvate Plaint” and “Convocation Solitaire”. I’ll admit that on occasion my tolerance for electric guitar gives in and I find myself becoming a little restless in the wake of this music (listening to “Reverse Logic” is a prime example), but Killian seems to sense my discomfort and adjusts things just at the points where I begin to feel unsettled. Killian’s compositions (for these do not seem like improvisations), whether rocking or more abstract, reflect a maturity and restraint that makes this music all the more enjoyable. Nicely done.”

    Richard di Santo, Incursion, Issue 036, 9.16.01

    “I’ve never heard of guitarist Ted Killian before, but apparently i should have. He’s a guitarist in the vein of Fripp, Sharrock, and maybe even David Gilmour, creating droning and repetitive soundscapes with tweaked electric and acoustic guitars, often over a bedrock of alien-sounding loops. Some of this, like “Last Sparrow,” is the sound of machines hallucinating — in fact, in many ways this a throwback to seventies acid-rock, only with more modern (and out-there) influences. Ambient, singing guitars play hypnotic avant-blues lines while other guitars hover quietly in the background on lock ‘n lull. Imagine Sonny Sharrock playing for Pink Floyd while Fripp natters on in the background with slo-mo starlight guitar loops that suffice for a “beat.” That’s the general gist of the songs here. The opener, “Hubble,” begins with throbbing, swirling drone and graduates to brilliant, celestial guitars bursting like fireworks. “Leaving Medford,” probably owes as much to Tangerine Dream as it does to any avant-guitar icons — it’s a pulsing slab o’ tones rippling beneath a winding, scorched-earth guitar playing demented psychedelic machine blues. My favorite is probably “Last Sparrow,” which opens with an endless chittering guitar loop, then slowly builds to a massive, droning collection of drawn-out machine tones before exiting on the same endless loop. “Recurvate Paint” sounds like something that could have come about during a collaboration with David Gilmour, circa his first solo album, and Fripp during his ambient Frippertronics phase. Pinging, ringing, endless ambient guitars become the backdrop to slo-mo psychedelic blues — it sounds glacial and beautiful and seems to last forever.”

    “Reverse Logic” is pretty bizarre in its own right, sounding like M’s “Pop Muzak” as remixed by Techno-Animal and ripped apart, then rebuilt by grindcore players under the direction of Sonny Sharrock and Painkiller. By contrast, the guitars in “Convocation Solitaire” are all pretty ones — acoustic, electric, clean, distorted, whatever, they’re ringing those celestial tones. “Gravity Suspended” almost sounds like it could have come from a mislaid late-sixties Pink Floyd record — in a lot of ways it’s a kissing cousin to “The Narrow Way” — but the title track is far weirder, more alien and monochromatic, like the sound of the Monolith in 2001 vibrating, until a violin-like guitar soars above the increasingly noisy bedrock. This is seriously spaced-out stuff, and really well-executed to boot. This disc is one of the unexpected surprises of the issue…”

    Dead Angel, ISSUE 48 (09/01), http://www.monotremata.com/

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