Dead Red Velvet
Dead Red Velvet
Dead Red Velvet comprises his post-Fallen Angels period, with a focus on writing, atmosphere and live delivery. Dead Red Velvet, as a live unit currently consists of Mohr on vocals and electronics, long-time collaborator Ian "Revolution" Revell on electric guitar, and Amandatronic on processed viola. The bandname, and trio concept, were cemented by Mohr's album, Full Moon Film. Dark electronic, industrial, EBM, gothic rock, classical, cabaret and art song... all are vibrant influences on this new album which features towering electronic arrangements, and Mohr's most tooled soundscape to date. The album boasts dark atmospheres, monstrous guitar and synth grooves, relentless dance tracks, intricate sound design, mysterious, verbose lyrics and his trademark vocal style. In 2005, Karl moved to the wooded outskirts of Huntsville, Ontario where he re-established his recording studio and began producing some young local talent.
While woodpeckers knocked the fenceposts, spruce trees swayed and vast layers of sub-bass would invite dozens of white-tailed deer onto the property - it was a perfect, serene environment for recording a new album. Driven by the interest in creating an album of very short, electronic pop ditties with biting, dark lyrics, he began work on Slut Within - the first song of those we find on Full Moon Film. (The song Vampire Car actually predates this, being first recorded in Vienna in 2003.) With the advantage of time, a clear headspace and the opportunity to be extremely loud, some complex gothic rock compositions emerged, such as those heard on Come Hither Moon, Forbidden Fruit Deluxe and the remake of These Fine Feathers. The intervening years have evolved the newer songs To The Morgue Again, Impervious, a remix of The Slut Within from Calgary's DJ/producer Releveler and a very dark treatment of Avril Lavigne's Complicated.
Driven by exacting mix/mastering standards, Mohr continued to tweak and hone the final mixes and master recording for final release in autumn 2010. It's also worth noting that there was a huge amount of material, some three albums' worth, generated in those five years or recording. Much of the most interesting, and also some of the most commercial, radio-friendly material were omitted from this album to create a coherent collection. The remaining material of interest is being released via the official Dead Red Velvet website. Full Moon Film is not a film, nor is it a soundtrack to a film. The Dead Red Velvet album Full Moon Film has nothing to do with the various motion pictures with Full Moon in the title.
Nor does it reference the Full Moon Film Festival. According to Mohr, this is a cinematic album, conjuring a vast world of mental pictures, where "Full Moon" is a qualifier identifying all those qualities of full, burgeoning lunacy and an end of a cycle. Additionally, Mohr claims that one of the initial inspirations behind Full Moon Film was the desire to create an album that recalled to mind the same moods and emotions as those of the soundtrack to Danny Boyle's Trainspotting (1996) film. Other people involved in Full Moon Film include Gabriel Teran, a Toronto director/filmmaker created a video universe for the song These Fine Feathers. The re-building of the original song into a dynamic, four-minute version allowed for expansion intro new sonic realms. (The version on Full Moon Film is this video version with the ending "techno tail" of the original suffixed back into place.) Eric Reid, a young native of the Huntsville area, whose early Laugh Out Loud recordings were produced by Mohr, traded back acoustic drum kit performances on some of the more rock-flavoured songs on the album.
Releveler (Krhys Wiebe) remixed and re-arranged the song, Slut Within, giving it a more straight forward dancefloor feel. The final Fallen Angels band -- Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip of the Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra, Ian Revell of Double Eyelid, film editor Jeremy Munce, video artist Michael Plourde, theremin player Carol Bell, graphic novel artist Anthony Haley, violinist/violist Amanda Penner -- performed the summer 2009 concerts, and was undoubtedly an influence on the songs, shaping attitudes and approaches to them, before the final release of Full Moon Film. According to Mohr, there are a few older Karl Mohr albums which are being mastered as previous releases. No new output will be released under his own name. Dead Red Velvet will be the artist moniker for all of Mohr's future endeavors with song-based goth rock, darkwave, and futurepop. Veteran electronic music guru Karl Mohr grew up in the wilds of northern Ontario, on 50 acres of land in Chisholm township, triangulated between Callander Bay, Astorville and Powassan.
With regular summer forest fires being set by sparks from passing trains, claw traps being set for wolves, buckshot flying aimlessly from trespassing poachers and all manner of wild carnivores leaving the boundaries of the neighbouring Crown game preserve, it's a miracle Karl Mohr is alive at all. Being a young synth-enthusiast aided the dual purpose of surviving life in the sticks, and developing early skills as a composer, engineer, producer. With very little money and long, insect-ridden summers, Mohr's teenage years were tuned to junk audio electronics, borrowed synthesizers, piano practicing, vinyl procuring and Commodore 64 programming. His active rejection of mainstream pop music began at age nine, with a trip to Germany where he saw his first music video, Visage's song, Fade to Grey. A few years later, the boundaries of his musical imagination were smashed utterly upon his first hearing of Skinny Puppy's Bites album.
His rigorous piano training added a classical dimension to his alternative/industrial music interests as he pursued the appropriate renderings of Bach, Chopin and Debussy. Karl's formal piano studies ended in 1992 with Michel Szczesniak. Since 1987, Karl Mohr has been composing and recording music, the majority of which has been experimental and electronic. During his BMus degree at Queen's, Kingston, Mohr specialized in electroacoustic composition and piano performance, where he took the boundaries of musical genre to task, merging styles and periods to the extremes of an entire sci-fi techno reconstruction of Vivaldi's Four Seasons (1994). During this period, 1990-1994, Mohr followed, simultaneously, three main musical avenues: serious concert compositions, techno-driven dance music, and avant-punk industrial song structures.
With musical diversity as an innate asset, his music after 1994 became even less predictable. Having already released 30 cassette albums of his own material, Mohr released his first compact disc in 1997, The Heck, which rounded up his industrial-techno work, rich with sampling and fast, heavy, electronic beats. Around this time his ambient, atmospheric songs started to take on a darker, more blatantly 'gothic' reference. An experimental and cinematic compact disc release in 2000, entitled The End of The Line, featured some dark rock and electronic works, as well as ambient-oriented songs. Then, after the long wait of eight years, 2002 saw the release of Mohr's earlier Vivaldi tribute, The Four Seasons 2117 on the Interdimensional Industries imprint. Also in 2002, while living in Vienna, Mohr released the mutant Magic Christmas holiday album, as well as the introspective and quirky lo-fi electro record called Vereinsgasse. Later, relocating back to Toronto, he began to formulate the direction of his live presence, and then re-issued older material, specifically for fans, into a rear-view collection called Absent Without Leave (2003). There were many releases in 2004: a live album, Vampires In Clubland, with his band the Fallen Angels (Saint Benjamin on keys, Revolution on electric guitar) also featured commissioned remixes of the very gothic extraterrestrial-visitation theme, Unidentified Flying Object; the pointedly political and heavy duty retro-wave release Tools For The Analog Revolution was an album of new electronic songs; Mohr's chill house project, Blue Visions, also saw its first release with a very smooth and delightful A Journey Into Chill House - the nine songs of which were also featured as nightclub background music in the Omni television series Metropia. In 2006, Mohr conceived a special designated place for his hardcore techno machine-core terrorbeat impulses, and worst, most-paranoid dystopian nightmares: Droid Charge.
The first Droid Charge release was Stamina Music, a caffeine and taurine-fueled exercise in psychoacoustic sensory-input bombardment with tempi reaching 500 BPM. In controlled experiments, the album proved to create energy manipulation and psychotic reactions in test subjects. Since the recording of this album followed a number of relaxation, hypnotherapy and related ambient projects, the Droid Charge project could be seen as a reflex reaction to these other catatonic musical atmospheres. The landmark splitting of Karl Mohr Audio-Yo into three separate recording efforts -- Blue Visions for commercial house music and chillout, Droid Charge for extreme hardcore techno experiments, and Dead Red Velvet for darkwave and goth -- allowed Karl to continue work on his music in a more focused way. The splitting of Karl's musical projects also gave rise to the need for a separate publishing entity, Multibeat Music, and a label headquarters, Multibeat Records. Mohr is also closing the vault on his epic back-catalog by re-mastering and re-releasing some of his older cassette material. Since 1996, Karl Mohr has also been working as an award-winning sound designer, mostly on IMAX films with Thillaye Productions in Toronto.
The building of rich, organic, sampler-based worlds in his musical endeavours also translates to evocative sonic environments in audio postproduction for film and video. Conversely, his sound effects collages and finely-honed audio design techniques find their way back into his music productions as well. From a young age, Karl Mohr learned a natural ease with the stage, through the experience of structured piano recitals and juries. His composition professors at university also encouraged the concert-giving tradition, with diffusions of electroacoustic works - this led to performance art and strange experiments in presenting the compositions. Mohr's first official concert was Hallowe'en 1991 at a gay biker bar in St. Catharines, Ontario where he ranted nihilist apocalyptic eulogies into a flashing strobe light and conjured 'the Doomhole' with drummer Robin Buckley over a cassette-noise backdrop.
It took seven years before Mohr began giving anything resembling a conventional concert of songs. His past performances were peppered with punk rock rave appearances and odd shows at various bizarre venues. For example, performing generator-powered, free-improv, electro-ambient music, outdoors, for rope-climbing modern dancers under the St Clair Viaduct in Toronto; or feeding clarinet and accordion phrases into Istvan Kantor's looping machines. His performance history is varied, intermittent and strange: industrial appearances at ambient evenings, backing up Louise Bak as she fed her pubic hair to audience members on toast, turntabling at folk clubs, goats' toenail shakers and diatribes on the serious concert stage. It was finally in 2003, that Mohr enlisted keyboardist Saint Benjamin (Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip) and rock guitarist Revolution (Ian Revell) to form a trio band, the Fallen Angels. Briefly, Canadian contemporary-classical opera star the Evil Diva (Kristin Mueller-Heaslip) featured in the Fallen Angels.
For his 'loud', ie. electronic, beat-oriented shows, Mohr employs a live computer/MIDI set-up or audio backing track. This Fallen Angels formation allowed darkwave, art song, poetry, techno and rock to coexist on a single setlist. This trio was key to the formation of his Dead Red Velvet band.
Mohr continues to rigorously explore both high and low art, sometimes simultaneously, in his on-stage performances. His computer-based band features two core musicians. Ian "The Revolution" Revell studied composition at Queen's University and has performed on the bass guitar in many Kingston-area bands. His particular rock guitar style fuels the Dead Red Velvet live experience with heavy power chords and filtered lead work.
As well as being a visual artist working with mixed-media and photography, Revell is currently engaged with his own rock outfit, Double Eyelid. Amanda "Amandatronic" Penner is a violin and viola expert who performs with Dead Red Velvet using an amplified viola, through various digital effects. There is more information on Dead Red Velvet at the official website. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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