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Sign On!: Human Conduct Records, Part 3: Interview (w/ Rick Weaver)

To cap off this series of posts on Human Conduct Records, I exchanged a week-long email relay with all-around Human Conduct man, Rick Weaver. Our conversation exposed what my previous pieces attempted to avoid–the theoretical foundations of Human Conduct’s disposition. Coincidentally, it is my impression that we also received a remarkably profound character profile for Rick Weaver (whose works were covered extensively in Part 2).

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Sign On! – Human Conduct Records, Part 2: The Many Faces of Rick Weaver

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  1. MP3: The Ruined Frame – My Sex Is A Dead Thing from Breath & Pulse (2009)
  2. MP3: The Ruined Frame – Two Travelers from The Weight of ALL Filth (2008)
  3. MP3: The New Flesh – A Lesson In Manners from Hall of Heads (2009)

In this post I’ll attempt to provide a brief survey of a few fresh releases from The New Flesh and The Ruined Frame–in what might otherwise become known as “the Rick Weaver Hour.” Now, this is not to say that Mr. Weaver doesn’t deserve it. In addition to his percussive work for the New Flesh, the Human Conduct co-founder also acts as frontman for The Ruined Frame. Once more, his name probably emerges in the credits for a great number of other releases within the label–and pretty much everywhere else when you’re talking about Human Conduct. Honestly though, I don’t see how we can so effortlessly unite The New Flesh and The Ruined Frame outside of the Weaver link. Side by side, the two projects represent oppositional musical polarities: the harsh distortion typically penned by the New Flesh feels even more brutal in the face of The Ruined Frame’s freaky folk rock. Where one group’s desolate waveforms attempt to rid their listener of an appetite, the other uses satiated song structure to fill their audience’s stomach.

As I already established in the last post, I’ll be examining the sound of Human Conduct Records using descriptive criticism almost exclusively. The full endeavor is to ignore, as much as I deem it necessary, my longing to investigate abstract logic as it relates to artistry. You can check the last post for my in-depth statement of intention. Without further ado, here’s the Rick Weaver Hour:
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Sign On! – Human Conduct Records, Part 1 – Detox, Form A Log, and Occasional Detroit/Gay Bomb

It’s pretty difficult to bottle together Human Conduct Records as a uniform whole. Portions of their output could pass as material from your average Joe’s favorite freak folk label, whereas the opposite is true for their less accessible releases. An understandable slight of ambivalence may sour your first impression of HCR–and that’s certainly not abnormal in this case. Uncertainty to the nature of the noise going through your headphones can, after all, be a bit daunting. The fact is: that’s precisely the sort of thing you have to expect when you’re talking about a group of people who aren’t afraid to embrace the atonal and arrhythmic in pursuit of artistic expression. I mean, they do call some music “abrasive” for a reason.

detox front

Human Conduct was founded in Baltimore during the late 90s by Ari (Ari and the Shanks) & Abe Schenck along with Rick Weaver (The New Flesh), who appears on a number of their releases. Since then, HCR has garnered quite the reputation in many anti-traditionalist circles. Coming straight out of their website, they apparently specialize in “lo-fi, hi-fi, and mid-brow” jams, mostly local but not always. That being said, I now welcome you to the world of Human Conduct Records. I’ll be going through their most recent releases by the way of our own Zack Turowski, sans alcohol. I hope to present a meaty survey of Human Conduct’s most current catalog–whilst attempting to circumvent my beloved rants about the theory (or potential lack thereof) behind experimental music.  Later segments will be focused on individual artists.

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