The Magic World of Ergo Phizmiz and the Chinstrap Netlabel

"Composer, writer, multi-instrumentalist, collagist, visual artist and film-maker Ergo Phizmiz is one of the most defiantly uncategorisable artists in the world. In a body of work spanning in excess of 300 hours he has produced pop music, opera, radio-art, puppet films, theatre scores, film soundtracks, cover versions, electronica, sample-music, sound-poetry and electroacoustic music. All of his work is marked by a spontaneous feel and a distinct sense of humour which can veer between the harsh nihilism of the death opera "The Mourning Show" all the way to the whimsical innocence of his radio for children.

Key projects in Ergo's ten year career have been "The Faust Cycle", arguably at 15 hours the longest album ever produced and one of the most acclaimed sound-art works in the blogosphere in 2010; "M: 1000 Year Mix", a sound-collage bringing 1000 years of music composition into a single frame; "The Mourning Show", an opera about the death of radio DJ Chris Evans by demonic abuse; "Paul Klee, a Balloon, the Moon, Music and Me", a radio-art odyssey for BBC Radio 3 for which he received the Special Mention at the 2010 Prix Italia; and his collection of deconstructions of pop music including the Velvet Underground, the Prodigy, Aphex Twin, Beyonce, the Pet Shop Boys, Radiohead and, oh yes, Eiffel 65.

Although he does release albums through conventional channels, he is also a keen exponent of the free, Creative Commons music culture. On this website you will find over 50 hours of free music by Ergo Phizmiz, and his netlabel Chinstrap which releases a diverse range of music by fellow adventurers and travellers.

A highly collaborative artist, he has worked extensively with UK collagist People Like Us, and has also collaborated with The The, The Bees, Safety Scissors, Frankie Boyle. Martha Moopette, Erik Bumbledonk, Oblivian Substanshall, and Christian Marclay, for whom he produced a live film soundtrack.

He is signed exclusively for his pop music to the label Care in the Community Recordings, but releases experimental work on free-music netlabels, most recently the complete cover versions on UpItUp Records, The Faust Cycle on Headphonica, and Collected Sound Installations on Surrism-Phonoethics. He has also released music with Gagarin Records, Sonic Arts Network, Womb Records, Vivo Records, and Soleilmoon. His most recent pop album "Things to Do & Make" was released in 2010 to widespread critical acclaim, with a follow up "Look, Do and Listen" due for release in 2011 on Care in the Community."

- Emusic
Written, Composed & Produced by ERGO PHIZMIZ

Music based on themes by
Erik Satie
Camille Saint-Saens
Claude Debussy
Maurice Ravel
Claudio Monteverdi
Edvard Grieg
Francis Poulenc
Igor Stravinsky
Giovannia Battista Pergolesi
Georges Auric

- An album beyond description from a very unusual artist. . . 


  • edited May 2011
    Recorded 2007-2009, on the Isle of Wight, La Ferriere aux Etangs, La Noe de Fendrement, & Buckfastleigh.

    (Instruments - Foot Harmonium, Indian Harmonium, Tenor Accordion, Toy Piano, Melodica, Balinese Xylophone, Violin, Viola, Banjo, Messiah Box, Ukulele, Euphonium, Harmonica, Voice, Acoustic & Classical Guitar, Bagpipes, Didjerydoo, Desk Bell, Mechanical Birds, Pixiphone, Horns, Recorder, Fife, Tibetan Flute, Kazoo, Autoharp, Cajon, Assorted Drums)
  • Thanks, Brighternow. Ergo Phizmiz deserves a thread.
  • edited July 2011
    Ergo Phizmiz runs a netlabel called Chinstrap:
    - "For the Discerning Hedonist * Creative Commons Netlabel"

    The Superfools "Aristophonics 1 - Sentimental Fields" - (Chin24 - 2011)

    "Aristophonics" is a new series on the Chinstrap netaudio gallery of sound-works about the history of comedy, from composers, writers, and comedians around the world.

    The first installment "Sentimental Fields" comes courtesy of New Mexican sampling-composer The Superfools, who serves up an impressionistic and melancholy fantasia around the great W.C. Fields."
  • edited August 2011
    "The absolute blinding UBERPOP legend that is Plushgoolash returns for a second Chinstrap release, following on from their eponymous slab of joy in 2010":


    "The brainchild of Erik Bumbledonk & Bambi Racheed, Plushgoolash produce unforgettable and superbly crafted, playful pop music, infused with the sort of mischief that has been known to take place in Mick Hucknall's jockstrap."

    - (Free Music Archive).
  • Well it took me a while, but I'm finally listening to, and loving, Fulcanelli's Shoes. Thanks once again brighternow.
  • edited August 2011
    Oooops ! - wrong thread.

    - You're welcome !
  • edited August 2011
    Well it took me a while too...but Things to Do and Make is now being enjoyed - thanks from me also! (Utterly lunatic but oddly compelling, this record)
  • edited October 2012
    (Soleilmoon 2007 - Free Music Archive 2010)

    ""Perpetuum Mobile" is the result of a uniquely schizophrenic "open source" compositional process: the UK's finest collage composers Ergo Phizmiz and People Like Us (aka Vicki Bennett) uploaded files to a shared server, downloaded and processed each other's work, and flung the resulting fragments back at each other. The result is an interpenetrating audio-collage so intricate that neither party can recall who did what to whom. So far, so avant-garde; but what makes this record different is that Ergo and Vicki then wrote and sang their own vocals on top of their Frankenstein creation. Here you will find slyly absurdist lyrics replete with monkeys, carousels, trousers, apple trees, tinkling bells, dogs, sausages, whiskey, and cannibalism. No matter how fraught with trauma, these ballads and ditties are sung with a straight face and mixed front and center, and the results feel like 1930s British music hall standards from an alternate universe: half Ivor Cutler, half George Formby. The astonishing thing is that for all this jiggery-pokery, "Perpetuum Mobile" makes for an exhilarating, remarkably fresh pop album. It works. On "Ghosts Before Breakfast" Ergo and Vicki proudly declare that they've got "quite a selection of pastry", and if the profusion of cuckoo clocks, gunshots, horn farts, string vamps, and digital malfeasance which go hurtling through this opening track is any indication, that's no idle boast. For sheer cornucopia of sonic raw materials, this track's avalanche of information sets the tone for the overflowing, manic record that follows. There's far too much to fully parse, but among the highlights: "Beyond Perpetuum" pushes off from the Comedian Harmonists' take on the 19th century compositional craze for "moto perpetuo" runs of continuous notes at a rapid tempo, and folds found piano, voice and strings into an interlocking array of M.C. Escher harmonic stairways. "Air Hostess" is detourned lounge pop that stitches together Nelson Riddle's "Ya Ya" theme to "Lolita", "Walk Right In", light operettas, organ, bachelor pad cha cha and mambo, and nervously twitching shards of Louis Armstrong. "Pierrot's Persecution Mania" bravely explores the possibilities of a Montparnasse-via-Dixieland hybrid of can-can and bluegrass, with ridiculous canned strings colliding with jew's harp boings, while "Soggy Style" rides banjo twangs, a digital bossa nova breakdown, and the "whooo-ooes" nicked from Terry Stafford's "Suspicion". Living up to the perpetual motion of its title and cock-a-hoop cover art, this is a frantically energetic music whose layered repetitions become cumulatively more disorienting and preposterous as they loop back. "Perpetuum Mobile" goes beyond the stealth-oldies nostalgia of the mashup scene and the "culture-jamming" rhetoric of plunderphonics, and shows Mr. Ergo and Ms. Vicki to be a potent, if Surrealist, songwriting team, and together they braid oddly affecting vocals and their trademark stolen audio into twenty-first century pop. Like the perpetual motion machines for which it is named, this collaboration will run and run and run and run and run and run and run…
    - Drew Daniel.


    - Priceless ! ! !
  • edited September 2011

    - 22 minutes of Phizmiz bliss !
  • Ergo_Phizmiz__his_Orchestra_-_plays_Aphex_Twin_-_2010082084632178.jpg?width=290&height=290
    (UpitUp Records - 2010)

    - Delicate and fragile interpretations of a handful of The Twin's finest Compositions . . .
  • edited December 2011
    - Probably the latest outing from Ergo:
    An opera to take place inside a cabinet, preferably wooden, by Ergo Phizmiz.

    "The text is written by David Niven, from his autobiography "The Moon's a Balloon".
    Made with two pieces of metal, an electric guitar, a musical saw, a midi keyboard, a cassette recorder, a floor tom, a plastic tube, a euphonium mouthpiece, the end of a recorder.
    - Recorded September 2011, at Grindia, Bridport.
  • edited December 2011
    To be played at parties. Moustaches optional, but highly recommended.

    - "With special guests Justin Bieber, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, and Skeenilly AKA The Skeematic."
  • edited January 2012
    - Proot Records (PRT003 - 2008) - (name your price on Bandcamp)

    "Composed, Performed & Produced by Ergo Phizmiz
    Except "Oobeeb" composed by Jack Phoenix, arranged by Jack Phoenix & Ergo Phizmiz
    and "Where the Tangos" composed and performed by Jack Phoenix & Ergo Phizmiz, based on Erik Satie's "Le Tango Perpetual" and extracted from the forthcoming radiophonic piece "The Faust Cycle", supported by Arts Council England
    Various tracks feature a bevy of young ladies stretching and making funny noises in London, courtesy of Cozy Ray and the Hopping Gethsemanes
    "Oobee" and many other phrases contained herein are sourced from Kurt Schwitter's "Ursonate"
    "Oobeeb" from the soundtrack to a short film by Martha Moopette
    Recorded Isle of Wight, London, Buckfastleigh, UK, and La Ferriere aux Etangs, France, 2007
    Artwork by David Fenech

    - Proot Records. :-)
  • edited March 2012
    NOW - put on your dancing shoes, buy a few bottles, and have a party !

    - "Sampled on this album are: Art Shaw, Augustus Pablo, Die Todliche Doris, Anton Webern, Pete Um, Delia Derbyshire, Bohislav Martinu, Der Plan, Anthology of Dutch Electronic Music, Kosmos, Klaus Nomi, Puaj-Ahem's Glitchy Bitchy, Kraftwerk, Erik Satie, Moondog, Arnold Schoenberg, The Cheeky Girls, Claudio Monteverdi, Daphne Oram, Sounds to Come, Little Richard, various bits and pieces from Youtube....amen...."
  • edited October 2012
    [/i]- "A spoken-word audio/video opera by Ergo Phizmiz, with text entirely snipped from the writings of Noel Coward. The audio is created from Ergo's collection of gramophone records, a sample from Monteverdi's "Combattimento de Tancredi", a wooden kitchen door, and Ergo's "Hallucination Duets"."

    - "I have become interested recently in the idea of double-doses of information by the fragmentation and simultaneous presentation of two originals.
    That's to say, what the Hallucination Duets are, are two different pieces of music sat on-top of each other, each split into equal fragments of a few milliseconds and playing alternately.
    We can hear both, but not quite enough of either but too much of one to hear the other.
    I wonder whether it becomes a piece of music itself, or if actually we are hearing two pieces simultaneously without the usual juxtaposition of overlaying anything. Everything is in isolation.
    I'm curious if this was applied to "Moonraker" and "The Man With the Golden Gun", would we be able to watch two Roger Moore Bond films in the time it takes to watch one? "

    Hallucinatory Duetting today comes from ...

    Delia Derbyshire vs Art Shaw
    Jack Hylton & his Orchestra vs JH Squire's Instrumental Octette
    Maria Callas vs Maria Callas
    King Tubby vs the Poet Musicians of Turkey
    Musique des Vallees Scandinave vs Tala'i, Musavi and Kiana
    Robert Ashley vs Polynesian Polyphonies
  • edited October 2012
    Online-only album
    Released 15 May 2008 through PLURGO1

    - "Following the success of the critically acclaimed “Perpetuum Mobile” CD of 2007, renowned UK collagists / composers People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz reunite for “Rhapsody in Glue”, a cycle of bricolage-ballet-music, skewed-waltzes, and skewiff-pop.
    There is a story behind every album, and with “Rhapsody in Glue” we find a unique approach to constructing a record. Both long-term contributors to New York radio station WFMU, People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz decided to publicly tear apart their respective practices and create an album “in the open”, presenting on a seafood-filled-platter the process of collaborative collage composition – informally discussing and jabbering nonsense to one another, resulting in the “Codpaste” free podcast series. “Rhapsody in Glue” is the culmination of the ideas explored in the podcast series.

    “Rhapsody in Glue” continues in the bizarre ballroom vein of their previous efforts together, however, increasing the sonic palette into textural depths previously uncharted in their work. If “Carmic Waltz” is an expressionist painting by aged ballroom dance teacher who’s eaten the wrong kind of mushrooms in her soufflé, then “Gary’s Anatomy” is a slice of pure absurdist pop shot through with slabs of exotica and Ethel Merman. Recurring through the record is an apparent obsession with Prokofiev’s “Troika (Sleigh Ride)”, which merges and mashes with Burt Bacharach and Queen on “Snow Day”‘ and lapses into pure fantasy on the almost entirely acoustic “Withers in the Whist”, jarring with Ergo’s strange, Victoriana obsessed lyrics. Then on “Dancing in the Carmen” we discover what happens if Nana Mouskouri is thrown into a pot with Peggy Lee and let simmer for 10 minutes, whilst “In The Waking” shimmers along on multitracked guitars, meandering melodies, and music boxes."

    Peop ;-)
  • edited December 2013
    Christmas is moving closer and closer . . .

    - "Look at all the love in the world and be gorgeous"...
  • Free Music Archive?@freemusicarchiv

    Free Album: The Chinstrap Christmas Party with @ErgoPhizMiz, Oblivian Substanshall, Elvis Herod & The Superfools
  • - More Free Music Archive:
    (from 2008)
  • edited December 2013
    If you have enjoyed the past ten years or more of free music from Ergo Phizmiz, please help support my new production.
    - "Please help support GARGANTUA by paying £2 or what you want for THE PETE WATERMAN RAP single, or donating via Paypal.

    And you want extra treats? Well...

    Contributions of £10 or over receive a copy of The Keystone Cut Ups DVD.

    Contributions of £20 or over receive a original Ergo Phizmiz collage from the 2012 "Families, Intimate Situations, Opium Architecture and the Behemoth" exhibition.

    Contributions of £50 or over receive both the above delicious trinkets of dreams.

    Contributions of £100 or over receive an Ergo Phizmiz cover version of any song you would like.

    Contributions of £1000 or over receive an Ergo Phizmiz cover version of any album you would like."
  • edited April 2013
    - A few highlights from: Ergo Phizmiz in 2012 Retrospective

    A "real album" on a "real label"
    The new collection of songwriting by Ergo was released in December on Care in the Community Recordings to critical acclaim:

    "Always accessible yet always otherwordly" - BBC

    "There are brains and vast imagination at every juncture" - Americana UK

    "Cleverly and lovingly constructed" - The Wire

    "One of the quiet highlights of the musical year" - MusicOMH

    "Phizmiz's art places him as the real deal" - TheUpcoming

    "Balancing off the wall whackiness with accessibility, Phizmiz hasn't just delivered eleven songs but eleven very good songs" - Shout4Music

    "Flawless" - Pennyblack Music

    And on FMA:
    A Journey in one end,

    out the other,

    that is, in one end

    out the other

    of John Holt’s song

    “Strange Things”.

    Music entertaining itself

    by time-travel and playing

    with itself,

    with a touch of eroticism.
  • edited June 2013
    A VA "nerdcore" release from Chinstrap Music:
    - "Cyclic Bits" is the first remix album of the music of remarkable composer and inventor Raymond Scott.

    This album is a series of reinventions of the work of a true musical maverick, remixed by a host of today's most inventive musical mavericks. The diversity of the release reflects the profound influence Scott's work has had on composers working across the board of styles and approaches.

    Originally created as a special for Ergo Phizmiz's Phuj Phactory on WFMU, a projected release never happened.

    This, at last, is it."
  • edited September 2013
    There seems to be no end to Mr. Phizmiz' creativity . . .

    - "Ergo Phizmiz presents IDIOT, a new album of skewiff compositions and fractured sound-collages, created between 2011-2013. "Salt" is the result of over-exposure to a very political artist's penis, created with Elvis Herod. Although it wasn't Elvis Herod's penis I was overexposed to, rather Herod shared in the exposure to the aforementioned penis. "Pianola With Headache" is just that. "Sand Dune Dances" are a woozy dream of a sand-dune landscape in a snow-globe. "The Voice of Terror" is a Sherlock Holmes nuclear adventure. "Little Gagarin's First Rocket" tells you just how excited baby Yuri was. "Ornidisco" where the dickybirds get their rocks off. "Pontin's Masturbatory Reverie" for two brothers. "Doll War" a miniature battle rages. "Warsaw Encounter", when brought to visit a very interesting fellow indeed. "Night on the Town". Superfunk. "Hassan Disco" i Sabbah knows how to throw shapes. "The Happiest Birdy". A lullaby for domesticated animals. "Orpheus Tickled". Any why not? "Magador". A writhing harem. "The Larks". Upsidedownism and music-boxes, variations on a Hungarian folk song. "Dummkopf". Idiot march. "Ragbone". The love of rattling and bone shattering."

    "Bee Quiet" a jive in the hive. . .
  • allourclocksaredying.jpg
    Recorded in the living room, Thursday 5th September 2013.

    - ""Each of the tracks has a different preparation for the piano, and the structure and musical concepts of each of the pieces is phenomenally realized. The only living, producing recording artist that I think could even come close to this level of work would be Tom Waits. . . ."
    The Cerberal Rift
  • From the "serious weird shit" department:
    A - take three composers. Place them in a room together, late at night.

    B - give three said composers a really, really badly recorded version of the first 8 tracks from Augustus Pablo's "East of the River Nile" in headphones, and then three aforementioned composers attempt to play the album over the top on the fairly arbitrary selection of instruments in Atelier Royale.

    C - then take off Augustus Pablo's "East of the River Nile", and ask three aforementioned composers to play something else over the top of their first layer of attempting to play over "East of the River Nile".

    D - Discover cheap Vodka and Sambuca. Do vocals, with whatever words are hanging around, one at a time.

    E - release it on the internet, hoping at least one listener will die whilst listening (will it be you?).

    Dedicated to Jah Wabbles.
  • edited November 2013
    "Chinstrap is delighted to present Modersohn-Becker's "WRONG!", a solitary journey into DIY music-making. Allow one of the finest theremin-wielding ducks in the world, Greta Pistaceci, to chaperone you on an adventure. Below the image, from the duck's mouth ...."
    "“Starting from approximately 2005 I began to secretly create tracks as Modersohn-Becker. These were incredibly lo-fi affairs: I had no knowledge of music technology or music-making software at the time, and had to make do with whatever was at my disposal.
    For the earliest M-B tracks, I used Windows Recorder and a decrepit, taped- together old plastic microphone. I recorded mostly acappella and in one take, without editing the results as I had no way to do so. I would use two Windows Recorder windows, and play from one whilst recording from the other. These recordings were the computer-user equivalent of my childhood experiments of playing with two tape recorders, creating layers by playing from one machine while taping to the other.
    I felt incredibly self-conscious about recording, so I would create my M-B tracks sneakily, in a couple of hours, when I was sure I was alone in the house. I just had a desperate need to express myself… somehow. At first these tracks were made just for myself, as a way to relieve my frustra- tion and isolation, but then I gradually and anxiously began uploading some of these to social networking sites in order to get over my insecurity. Because in the end what I wanted was to make a connection with the outside, to know that I existed.
    And now, years later, I may be a little more experienced, but the truth is that I still do not quite know what I am doing, though I am compelled to keep doing it. This is me at my purest, in a way. This is what comes out.”

    - Greta Pistaceci, aka Modersohn-Becker
  • Found on Twitter:
  • edited March 2014
    Brand new from the "Thrower of Naughty Shapes":

    - "Ergo Phizmiz presents MUMBO JAMBO, four new slices of electronic collage music. Games with modular composition, swollen melody, and badly behaved rhythms.

    - Including samples of Jane Saunders, Simon Hartung & Amie Willingale, Mozart, Morton Subotnick, DJ Pierre, Conlon Nancarrow, Pitman's Gramophone Course of Typewriter Keyboard Instruction, Georges Antheil, Erik Satie, Carl Stalling, Simon Mathewson, Siegfried Wendel, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Mieko Somi, Ennio Morricone, Johann Strauss II, Krimanchuli Orera, J.S. Bach, Youtube Funk Drumming Lessons, The Bangles."


    Ergo's Favourite Ergos - for 2014 Ergo Phizmiz tour
  • edited October 2014
    Excellent news from Mr. Phizmiz:
    Ergo Phizmiz dresses up as Richard Clayderman and becomes one horse doing bad shit at the pinano.
  • edited October 2014
    Brand new and might not be available for long because of copyright issues . . .
    - "Holy shit! From the blood and mucus infested steaming pits of Hollywood, Dorset, cometh this hairy slab of farmer noise, in the form of the long-awaited return to the interpretation of entire albums by Ergo Phizmiz.

    Following on from his notorious covers of Aphex Twin (which Aphex loved, but Aphex fans didn't...good....), the 2004 reinvention of the entirety of the Velvet Underground's "White Light White Heat" (which may well have contributed to the death of Lou Reed), and the trip to the Amish dancehall that was the Phizmoided version of The Prodigy's "Music For the Jilted Generation" way back in the heady days of 2009 (which has given Keith from the Prodigy irritable bowel syndrome ever since), comes....

    IN UTERO. A cover version for ramshackle and broken instruments of Nirvana's glorious swansong.

    Get it while it's hot...

    UPDATE: The music copyright police were quick off the mark (hence the empty box below), and the FMA version of the album has been removed. SO! Sink your teeth into this"
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