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Lustmord, the solo project of Welsh artist Brian Williams, is often credited as the creator of the post-industrial genre known as dark ambient. His bleak, disturbing music often utilizes field recordings, deep bass frequencies, and ritualistic instrumentation, such as Tibetan horns. Initially associated with the industrial scene during the early '80s when he was a member of SPK, he established his signature sound with releases like 1986's Paradise Disowned and 1990's particularly groundbreaking Heresy. Since then, he's collaborated with artists ranging from Robert Rich (on the 1995 classic Stalker) to alternative metal groups like the Melvins (2004's Pigs of the Roman Empire) and Tool (2006's 10,000 Days). He also became a prolific sound design artist for Hollywood films and video games, often working with Graeme Revell and Paul Haslinger, and he's composed soundtracks such as 2017's First Reformed. He collaborated with pianist Nicolas Horvath on 2020's The Fall (Dennis Johnson's November Deconstructed). Born and raised in North Wales, Williams first performed as Lustmord in 1980 as a series of unannounced "support slots" at larger gigs, with Williams simply leaping on-stage and performing until security became aware of the situation. Though understandably brief, the rock terrorism gained Williams contact with like minds in the proto-industrial scene, including SPK and Throbbing Gristle. He soon began appearing with SPK on tour and in the studio, and in 1981 released a self-titled Lustmord LP, including work by Coil's John Balance and Nocturnal Emissions' Nigel Ayers (who issued the album on his Sterile Records). His second album, Paradise Disowned (released by SPK's Side Effects label in 1986), featured recordings made in a variety of subterranean locales including the crypt at Chartres Cathedral, Dunster Abattoir in Bangor, Wales, and on the ocean floor. By that time, Williams had also taken over running Side Effects. Though he released no additional Lustmord material during the rest of the '80s, Williams did record (and do sound research) for albums by Current 93, Nurse with Wound, SPK, Chris & Cosey (with whom he collaborated as TGT), and SPK member Graeme Revell's solo LP The Insect Musicians. Lustmord returned in 1990 with Heresy (Soleilmoon) and released a pair of albums for Side Effects, The Monstrous Soul in 1992 and Place Where the Black Stars Hang, in 1994. Also during the first half of the '90s, he collaborated with Andrew Lagowski under the name Terror Against Terror, and released solo albums under the monikers Arecibo and Isolrubin BK. Williams moved to California during the '90s after being recruited by Graeme Revell to work on his sound library for the scores of feature films including Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Street Fighter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Crow, and Spawn, among others. Another Williams collaboration, this one with space music pioneer Robert Rich, debuted with the 1995 release of Stalker (inspired by the Andrei Tartovsky film of the same name), recorded for Hearts of Space. One year later, Williams responded to requests from the ambient-techno DJ community for Lustmord material on vinyl by releasing a single for Plug Research. The recording inspired his next project, a collaborative live album titled Lustmord vs. Metal Beast, that skirted the edges of dark ambient-techno. The compilation Purifying Fire appeared in summer 2000, but it was his critically acclaimed Metavoid (2001) that raised eyebrows. Lustmord's soundtrack to the psychological horror film Zoetrope was released in 2002. He collaborated with breakcore artist Hecate (Rachael Kozak) on the Law of the Battle of Conquest EP, released by Hymen Records in late 2002. The year 2004 saw the release of Lustmord's Carbon/Core album, as well as a collaboration with the Melvins titled Pigs of the Roman Empire, which was issued by Mike Patton's Ipecac Records. Williams' ties to the alternative metal world strengthened when he worked on Tool's 2006 album, 10,000 Days, as well as the debut album by Puscifer, a side project of Tool leader Maynard James Keenan. On June 6, 2006, Lustmord performed live for the first time in 25 years during a high mass observance by the Church of Satan. The concert was released by Williams' Vaultworks imprint under the name Rising. Lustmord's 2007 album Juggernaut was released by Isis leader Aaron Turner's Hydra Head Records, and featured guitar and vocals from the Melvins' King Buzzo. Lustmord's second release for the label, 2008's [Other], included guest appearances by both Turner and Buzzo. Two discs of extended ambient versions of [Other] tracks, [The Dark Places of the Earth] and [Beyond], appeared on Vaultworks in 2009. Additionally, the dub-focused EPs [Other Dub] and [Transmuted] (the latter featuring a mix by Justin K. Broadrick) were released that year. Williams celebrated the 20th anniversary of Heresy with Heretic, an album of alternate mixes and early versions, issued in 2010. He then released Songs of Gods and Demons, a collection of recordings for movies, video games, and TV shows, in 2011. In 2013, the German label Vinyl-On-Demand released Things That Were, a three-LP box set that included a remastered edition of Lustmord's first album, rarities, and unreleased material. Also that year, Blackest Ever Black released Lustmord's studio album The Word as Power, which featured guest vocals by Keenan, Jarboe, and others. The live albums Kraków and Stockholm followed on Vaultworks, and in 2015, Lustmord remixed Japanese band Vampillia's song "Sea" on a limited-edition CD EP. Lustmord's solo dark ambient album Dark Matter was released by Touch in 2016. Two recordings of 2011 performances, Hobart and Maschinenfest, followed in 2017. His soundtrack for the 2017 drama First Reformed was released by Vaultworks in 2019. Two more live albums, Berlin and Lublin, appeared in 2020, followed by Trinity, a 2018 recording of a piece commissioned by Unsound Festival in 2012. Also released in 2020 were Lustmord and Christopher Young's score for the film The Empty Man, as well as The Fall (Dennis Johnson's November Deconstructed) with pianist Nicolas Horvath.
© John Bush & Paul Simpson /TiVo


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