upcoming events

dan burke and thomas dimuzio

no fun productions

2008 CD


play | buy


“Quiet can be the loud, and loud can be the quiet - if someone can proof that point then its Thomas Dimuzio and Dan Burke”— Vital Weekly

“ ...an audio verité document of this singular and extremely frightening point in history.”— Tiny Mix Tapes

“ ...a collection of sonic textures that further listening only expand upon.”— Brainwashed

“ ...its disorienting effects tend to sneak up on the listener, and pack a punch all its own.”— Fake Jazz

“Burke and Dimuzio have created and unfortunate, unpleasant, and necessary soundtrack to the distressing times.”— Foxy Digitalis

“This is sound that happens slowly, deliberately, with an emphasis on minimalism and droning waves of meditative unease...”— The One True Dead Angel

Vital Weekly

The releases by No Fun Productions have certainly been fun, but mainly for the reviewer of all things heavy heavy noise concerned. Today I could inform him of the next four releases that are out, but only three will make it his way. I am quite surprised to see a release by Dan Burke and Thomas Dimuzio on this label, simply for the fact that I know these boys can make a hell of a racket, but the main idea is never about the just the noise itself. A good piece of noise isn't just loud, it's dynamic - it can be loud for sure, but its the interaction between loudness and silence that separates good noise - well at least for me. Thomas Dimuzio, who has some pretty strong solo records, as well as collaborations with Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, Arcane Device and Matmos teams up with my personal hero of American's underground 'noise' music Dan Burke, who is mostly known as the main man of Illusion Of Safety, but who sometimes works under his own name - such as previously with Dimuzio and with Kevin Drumm. In 2004 the two played three nights in a row at the Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco, which are now edited into fifteen startling pieces of 'noise' music. Take 'Operative': a near silent piece of a few samples - I bet none of the kids would classify that as noise, but the old man does (no reason why he should know better of course). These two, also older men, play a variety of devices such as laptop, objects, live sampling, feedback and 'sound sources' and create with that, of course in an edit, almost an hour worth of music that is highly vivid, dynamic, bouncing from 'loud' to 'quiet' with sheer elegance. They know what they are doing, which is sometimes questionable from their younger peers. Intense, listenable, cinematic. Quiet can be the loud, and loud can be the quiet - if someone can proof that point then its Thomas Dimuzio and Dan Burke and 'Upcoming Events' is exhibit a. Boys and girls - take notice. —Frans de Waard

Tiny Mix Tapes

The image on the cover of Dan Burke and Thomas Dimuzio’s Upcoming Events depicts a group of police in riot gear, standing menacingly in front of Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden, the digital marquee behind them bearing the album’s title. The photo, I would guess, was taken during the 2004 Republican National Convention, when swarms of cops patrolled the streets of NYC. Although not on par with the demonstrations that took place in the ’60s, the protests that met the Republicans in ’04 were still massive, and before the convention’s end, hundreds of protesters would be scooped up in the streets in plastic fencing and siphoned onto a bus. The kidnapped protesters were then taken to the asbestos-filled Port Authority bus terminal, where some would spend up to 57 hours in this American gulag, which came to be known as "Guantanamo on the Hudson." Of course, in post-9/11 America, we are told that the world, and our country especially, has changed. Many accept these new authoritarian measures in the face of fear, convinced that this is all meant to keep us safe. Meanwhile, conspiracy theorists attempt to piece together bits of the puzzle, drawing parallels between the burgeoning American police state and its possibly darker, more frightening agenda. Stories of government-sanctioned torture, tazer-related deaths, and strange asphyxiations in airport holding facilities are daily occurrences. So much of what has changed in our country in the past seven years was deemed necessary in the face of 9/11 and global terrorism fears. Now, in 2008, faced with an unparalleled financial disaster, our country stands on the brink of economic collapse. For Dan Burke, this is all standard fare. His noise project Illusion of Safety has been dealing with conspiratorial issues for nearly 25 years. A look back at IOS’s discography shows a real penchant for the political and a keen awareness of hidden agendas untouched in mainstream media. His Illusion of Safety moniker itself explores a particular political trope — i.e., the prison without bars, the idea that we are instilled from birth with the belief that we are free, yet succumb so easily to the slavery of adapting to societal norms. On Upcoming Events, Burke is joined by the lesser-known Thomas Dimuzio, and despite his relative anonymity, his resumé is nonetheless impressive. As a sound engineer, he has worked with the likes of Isis and Psychic TV, and when he’s not recording and producing, Dimuzio is an expert electronics dude. From the crackling electronics and menacing sine waves that inhabit Upcoming Events, it’s clear that the two are tuned in to how eerily terrifying the political climate is. Through the machinations of their detached robotic sounds, Dimuzio and Burke are furthering the Illusion of Safety agenda by tapping into this climate of fear that pervades modern society. Opener "Deregulation" (which alludes to the overall push for the government to undo restrictions on businesses in order to create more capital flow, and is a large part of the economic problem we face today) crescendos softly into an incongruent series of blips and tense metallic scrapings, slowly snowballing into something entirely massive, a hulking corporate behemoth that self-capitulates like grey goo, not satisfied until it has taken over everything. (Mussolini, who coined the term fascism, often said it might be better called corporatism.) On "Closed Circuit," the duo dives into the private television feed we are increasingly being surveilled upon in this burgeoning panopticon, and its anxious swirls of sound funneled into a spiraling vortex are the perfect soundtrack for awaiting the all-seeing eye to finally descend upon the capstone. "Leave Here Right Now" takes a field recording of a police confrontation, where a reporter is arrested for refusing to leave a public area, and mashes it together with dark ambient creepiness, its disembodied voice of authority rising from a steaming pile of industrial wreckage while revealing an essential loss of liberty and sending out a clear message: your freedoms are being eroded. Upcoming Events: the title alone, evokes such an array of possibilities that one is overcome by dread and uncertainty; what are these upcoming events that Burke and Dimuzio are referring to? Martial law? More terror? Tyranny? Totalitarianism? More loss of liberty? Further degradation of the Constitution? War with Iran? Russia? Pakistan? Economic crash? While nearly all of these things would’ve once been considered a paranoid’s wet dream, right now, they all seem entirely plausible. With the lines between paranoia and reality becoming intermingled, Upcoming Events plays not like a delusional fantasy, but more like an audio verité document of this singular and extremely frightening point in history. —Mangoon


It’s refreshing to hear an album of sonic abstraction that falls into neither of the following categories:  minimalist drone, harsh noise, or crossover into other electronic realms.  Not that there is anything wrong with those at all, I enjoy many works that fall into those aforementioned categories.  But works like this collaboration between the Illusion of Safety member and long time sound artist and master for hire Dimuzio are fascinating in that they are focused only on the nuanced textures of sound.   No Fun Productions Perhaps most interesting is the fact that the 15 tracks that compile this album are based upon live collaborations over a period of only three days.  The pieces were not overdubbed or otherwise processed, but only mixed after the performances to give a more cohesive flow.  As in any good recording of this nature, the specific instrumentation and tools of performance remain a mystery (the liner notes credit laptops, sampling, and “sound sources”), but their output is captivating.  The lengthy opener “Deregulation” begins quietly:  electronic loops deep in the mix as fragments of voice and computer data tones swell up, later matched by lush, almost classically dark ambient synths and eventual digital data sputtering, like a hard drive in its death throes.  Some of the tracks also have some obvious intended contrasts:  the thick, organ like tones that comprise “In God We Trust” have a distinct holy quality, especially next to the machinery hum and hellish detuned orchestra of “Devil’s Torrent,” which immediately follows.  Similarly, the quiet, pitch bent sound of “Operative” is followed up by the heavier “Aggregate,” with a thick distorted synth element that places it somewhere near the realms of current power electronics/death industrial. Other pieces exist solely on their own, without any easy point of reference to draw:  “Infecticidal” is based upon a loop of what sounds like creaking springs, but is matched with what resembles ethnic percussion, thick stabs of noise, and what sounds like birds chirping.  It's an odd and somewhat disorienting combination of sounds that these two artists manage to sculpt into a fascinating track that sounds like very little else.  The album closes on an especially odd note with the penultimate “Mediastorm,” consisting of odd chattering noises and dense reverb blasts which resemble the recordings of hurricane forced winds more than anything else. The actual last bit is almost pure silence mixed with the occasional odd sound (it may be the artists dismantling their gear after the show). Although from live recordings, this collaboration has a distinct cohesive feel that, even with all its abstraction, feels like a fully realized album.  While there are the occasional traces of other genres that show up, as a whole it stands on its own as a collection of sonic textures that further listening only expand upon. —Creaig Dunton

Fake Jazz

The cover of this disc is one of the best I've seen all year; a cadre of riot police, decked out and ready for action underneath an electronic sign, presumably for a public gathering space of some sort, that reads simply "Upcoming Events." Given this imagery and the typical tenor of No Fun's caustic catalog, one might expect something a bit more destructive, but Upcoming Events's fifty-seven minutes are far too wide-ranging to be pinned down within a single means of attack or character of sound. Recorded at a number of live dates in 2004, Upcoming Events pairs Illusion of Safety founder and longtime noisemaker Dan Burke with San Francisco's Thomas Dimuzio, only slightly less of a veteran, having released cassette in 1988. The disc is compiled from performances over a three-day period, its fifteen tracks covering a great deal of ground, from the icy atmospherics of "In God We Trust" to the sparse glitch of "Transmission." Burke and Dimuzio are inclined, it seems, towards the ambient, and while Upcoming Events has its share of sharp edges and grit, there's a hum, drone, or tone at the heart of nearly every track. Cloudy static often drifts in the background, setting the tone for the incredibly textural manipulations that tend to come to the fore. The contributions of the duo mesh with the ease usually produced by years of collaboration, and while distinct voices are obvious, that they're being improvised simultaneously by twoseparate musicians is far less so. So while things aren't as "eventful" as those chipper chaps on the cover might suggest, Upcoming Events feeds chaos in ways more subversive than an all-out riot of sound. Identifiable vocal snippets in "Leave Here Right Now" are some of the few points of context in an otherwise alien confluence of sound sources, and its this unfamiliar feel that makes for the disc's most compelling arc. Burke and Dimuzio's digital soundsmithing doesn't often hit the listener like a club to the head, but its disorienting effects tend to sneak up on the listener, and pack a punch all its own.

Foxy Digitalis

Given the subtext of creeping fascism and the slow stomp of totalitarian boots, it is no surprise that the soundtrack for such upheaval, "Upcoming Events," is an angry mix of Industrial pounding, locomotive propulsion, and general sci-fi soundtrack eeriness. There is even a fairly long and maddening tape of an encounter with a police officer who only wants to hear obedience, not reason. In its rage and sublte sadness over the political, noise masters Dan Burke and Thomas Dimuzio collaborate once again to create a seamless set of fifteen tracks, mostly cobbled from live shows, that express more ideas and variations of tone and colors than most noise recordings. It is like they are combing through sounds for evidence of the rage building because of recent history; their collage of brutal tones a form of resistance. So many people, at least among those I know, are so mad and scared and unsure that often they can?t express what they feel as the political intrudes so deep into their personal lives. Instrumental music, of the sort here on "Upcoming Events" seems the proper response. To listen to tracks like "Deregulation" "In God We Trust" and "Freedom Fries," along with that recording of an arrest, "Leave Here Right Now" may be the only satisfying outlet for those feelings. Burke and Dimuzio have created and unfortunate, unpleasant, and necessary soundtrack to the distressing times. —Mike Wood

The One True Dead Angel

The fifteen tracks on this disc frequently bear a strong resemblance to the early work of Illusion of Safety, which makes sense when you consider that IOS founder Dan Burke is one-half of the noisemaking duo at work here. The source material was all recorded live over three nights in San Francisco, with Burke using a laptop, various objects, and sound sources while Dimuzio used a sampler, feedback, processing, and sound sources; the results were later edited and mastered by Dimuzio. Much of the material here shares the IOS aesthetic of minimal sound and extended periods of silence or near-silence, along with a certain texture of electronic noise drone that is Burke's audio signature. Ambient drone is the major force at work here, and most often the backdrop against which they overlay ambiguous samples and cryptic textures, most of the time in a fairly understated fashion. This is sound that happens slowly, deliberately, with an emphasis on minimalism and droning waves of meditative unease; it's not terribly aggressive, but it is frequently unsettling. The dark, oceanic sound that pervades much of the disc has its roots in the early IOS catalog, although that minimalist sound is augmented by layers of texture and odd snippets of sound that add a bit of aural spice to the zoned-out proceedings. It would be interesting to know who did what in terms of creating the initial sounds (just as it's equally interesting to note how much it really sounds like IOS, even though Dimuzio was the one in charge of the final editing). IOS fans and those harboring nostalgia for the first wave of isolationism should hear this. —RKF