Weyes Bluhd
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Weyes Bluhd

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Ex-Jackie-O Motherfucker bass player Natalie Mering (18years old? 19?), from Philadelphia, releases her solo efforts under the Weyes Bluhd moniker. Also known as ‘Nathalie Wiseblood’, hence the name. Raga inspired, drone music in a lovecraftian mood, using guitar strings as basic sound material and sound effects as an instrument. Home-made one string bass stick (see b&w picture) used to produce low bell-like sounds out of an horror movie. The bleak ‘Ballad Of The Broken Skull’ sounds like a classic gothic song. Most tracks have vocals, usually strangely deformed through effect pedals. Track editing and cueing is kept to a minimum in the DIY, abrupt tradition, giving freshness to the music – check the very strange ‘Raga Of The Spine’, for instance. There is even a chance, odd as it might seem, that the album was actually recorded on cassette. This all stems from a creative, inspired mind. Love the track titles. Wonder what she’ll do next. - Continuo's Blog


Last Sunday at the Rotunda, the ghosts were out — and they were playing with distortion pedals and tape machines. The show was booked by the ever-intrepid Bowerbird group and featured Weyes Bluhd, Nmpergin and a Graham Lambkin/Jason Lescalleet duo. The tone ranged from hymnal melodics to metallic minimalism to apocalyptic reverberation.

Weyes Bluhd (Natalie Mering) opened the saturnalia with an exquisitely moody set, performed behind an organ, surrounded by her tape machines and pedals. Weyes Bluhd’s sound has evolved from folk to noise, and her set reflected a meeting of the two forms, as she sang over a web of loops and organ chords. Her voice, always hypnotizing in a folksong, took on a mythic quality against the dreamy, church-like chords. The tape collage created a naturalistic cacophony, as samples of birdsong and crickets competed for attention with the molasses of Mering’s voice.

Nmperign (Bhob Rainey and Greg Kelley) followed Mering in a fierce, whispered horn duet. The two improvisers forged a radical departure from Weyes Bluhd’s narcotic luxury, with an exacting, delicate minimalism. Rainey maintained agonizing control over his soprano sax, while Kelley whispered and growled through his trumpet. The audience sat for the most part in rapt silence, many with their eyes shut, leaning in to catch the metallic murmurs.

The Graham Lambkin and Jason Lescalleet duo closed the show with an epic set. With an artillery of laptops, microphones, tape recorders, and soundboards, these two men brought about the apocalypse in a thunderous, dramatic roar. Over the course of an hour, they performed their piece The Breadwinner, a mash of endless low-fi material. Lambkin’s cult status as front man of the iconic band The Shadow Ring was subtly apparent in his deadpan performance (he frequently walked backstage to provide vocals, or stood for several minutes sipping a beverage and watching Lescalleet play.) The texture of the piece incorporated deafening volumes which rattled the ribcage, as well as romantic excursions into choral harmonies. As the performance shuddered and rumbled to a close, there was a collective exhalation of breath from the audience, as if a storm had passed. - 34th Street Magazine


Discography

Strange Chalices of Seeing CDR
Evacuating Zombie Milk LIVE CDR
Axolotl/Weyes Bluhd CDR
Liquor Castle 7"
The Outside Room 12" (Jan '10)
Compilations: "Lasting" cassette on Swill Radio.

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Bio

Natalie Mering has been a musician since the tender age of six, when she grabbed a busted Nylon guitar and shoved some pencils underneath the strings, and scraped away thinking, "Well, if Kurt Cobain can do it then I sure as hell can." Growing up in a family of musicians (Natalie's father Sumner Mering actually had a stint with Rhino Records, producing a new wave record with Jack Niezche in the early 80's), Natalie has always communicated her emotions musically. Starting with the piano, and the pencils in the guitar of course, she began writing songs at a very young age.
After snagging a job at a local record store in the 7th grade, she obtained her first electric guitar and proceeded to teach herself the basics. Her dad showed her some power chords, but she managed to develop a style of finger picking keen on the tip of the records she was clearing out of the store she worked at (most of the money she made at the record store went back to the record store). Her music taste was all over the place, from John Fahey to Sonic Youth to Syd Barrett to Olivier Messiaen--Natalie was on the perpetual prowl for all things supernatural and strange in the realm of sound.
Experimentation came very naturally in those youthful days, unable to find fellow musicians to play with, Natalie resorted to buying a tascam four track cassette recorder and an analog delay pedal to be her band. All the musicians in her town were mostly young boys, playing grindcore, insisting that if she wanted to join their band she'd have to play bass. (Which she did, for one gig only in the infamous Face Full of Crotch). Recording sound collages till dawn, writing epic guitar anthems, tuning in late at night to college radio (WPRB, Princeton), aching to hear the unearthly sounds of weird records yet to be discovered...these were all things that shaped the onslaught of Weyes Bluhd.
It was also around this time that Natalie developed an interest in home built instruments, building a six-foot long behemoth zither called a harmonics guitar to satiate her desire for overtones and industrial sound slaughter. She still uses her "squid in space" today on all her recordings. She sang in the choirs at school, one of the lowest altos in her grade--she fine tuned her sense of harmony here, and also learned that she could use her voice like satin and butter, melting over people's ears. At 15 she gave up on her town. She couldn't find any other weirdos sans the grindcore dudes, so she began taking the train. Further and further away, all along the small Pennsylvanian towns on the R5 train line, meeting other musicians, moving on to the next town, until she found herself every weekend sitting on the train for an hour and twenty minutes to get down to the big city, Philadelphia. It was there that she attended pivotol warehouse shows in the industrial wasteland of South Philadelphia. She was exposed to noise bands; performance artists sweating in asbestos soaked mayhem with cheap beer evaporations and weed fog, woman freaking out, a far cry from the male dominated hardcore shows from her town. These people took it to the next level, she thought.
For the first time she saw people doing what she did in her bedroom. Bands like the Skaters, Wolf Eyes, Nautical Almanac, Impractical Cockpit, The Coughs, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Double Leopards and the Magik Markers all played at this one particular warehouse (South Philadelphia Athenaeum), and Natalie made it out to the shows, usually sleeping through school the next day. The Athenaeum made here realize she could play live. It was around this time that she read Flannery O'Connor's "Wise Blood" and snatched the name for herself. It was originally spelled correctly, and the first show she played under that moniker at 16 was at a bar where they immediately booted her out of there after they realized how old she was.
Early shows were primarily acoustic, with an emphasis on sustained notes and emotive folk pieces; small cassette sounds and lethargic loops wove in between songs of desire and loss. Some shows were just her and an acoustic guitar in people's living rooms, incredibly intimate and moving. Natalie graduated high school early and moved down to the city to pursue music full time. Playing three times a week and living off of crackers and hot sauce, Natalie decided to try out some college in the NW, briefly attending the school Lewis and Clark in Portland, OR.
She successfully ignored her college duties as she became enthralled with the Portland music scene, teaming up with the band Jackie O Motherfucker and dropping out of college to do a month long European tour with the band, playing guitar and singing (not playing bass). Until this time releasing recordings had been something she narrowly avoided, persistently believing whatever she recorded would be recorded with higher quality later. The European tour encouraged the production and release of her first full length CDR, "Strange Chalices of Seeing" re