bru·tum ful·men

Etymology: Latin

Literally, insensible thunderbolt. Idiomatically, an idle threat, a futile display of force. I liked the powerful sound of the words (in contrast with the meaning?). I like the idea of the futile desperation implied, of a possibly violent last ditch effort doomed to fail. I like the connection to lightning and electricity. I liked that it contained "brut" as in art brut or musique brut (art or music of the insane, childish, or outsider). I liked that it ends with "men", making it sound like a collective of some sort.

Jeff Wrench

The Brutum Fulmen is basically my solo experimental and/or noise project. I do all the mixing, manipulating, editing of studio material, and design and/or create all the artwork for the albums. I also collect or create most of the source sounds, but have also worked with several other people's raw sounds. I maintain this web page by hand in a text editor. I played the saxaphone for a few years in grade school, but I can no longer read the little bit of music I could at that time, could never keep a beat, can't sing on key, and am probably tone deaf. I have no more than the most rudimentary understanding of music theory. None of this has deterred me from wanting to and attempting to make music.

These may be some of the reasons that Brutum Fulmen material does not rely on rhythm or tonality the way "real" music does, and why we do not use any sort of "real" musical instruments. Another reason is that the music I make as the Brutum Fulmen is simply an attempt to make the sort of music that I want to hear.

Ken Pfeifer

Ken is really a big prog-rock guy into the likes of Marillion and horrible golden-era stuff like Genesis and Yes. But being the extrovert he is, he was into bringing the Brutum Fulmen to the live arena. Ken is the inventor of the loose cassette tape thing that's part of the show. Occasionally he'll also help put together raw source sounds for Brutum Fulmen studio work. And he happens to be a graphic designer and sanity-checks some of my album designs. He's got a shaved head and goatee and looks like a skinny Satan.

In his prog-rock life, he's a singer/front-man and keyboardist. His current band is Zen Carnival. You can look for their self-released CD Inheritance at among other outlets.

the music

The Brutum Fulmen is mainly a musique concrete project. This of course implies the avoidance of traditional musical instruments or vocals. Along with this we have generally also abandoned traditional use of rhythm and tonality.

I think the two most direct influences on the Brutum Fulmen sound are academic musique concrete and film soundtrack & sound effects.

A basic definition of musique concrete is: "A recorded montage of natural sounds, often electronically modified and presented as a musical composition." Musiuqe concrete tends to be somewhat academic, sometimes too dry and emotionless for my taste. So Brutum Fulmen tries to be perhaps a non-academic or "pop" version of musique concrete, a bit more engaging hopefully. Some of the serious but still interesting artists in this genre are Denis Smalley, Francis Dhomont, Jonty Harrison, Mario Rodrigue, Stephane Roy, Randall Smith who all have albums available from Diffusion i Media.

The film influence is a combination of the ambient music and the sounds of the on-screen action. Sometimes this makes for a very interesting listen on its own if you ignore the visuals. Usually it is soon ruined by dialog, musical development, or other requirements of the film narative but I do aspire to the best of these moments. I'll just throw in a reference to Eraserhead by David Lynch here. But even mainstream movies with halfway decent audio will have some interesting sound sequences.

Some of my favorite experimental albums outside of these areas are by Nurse With Wound, Hafler Trio, Einsturzende Neubauten, and Noise Makers Fifes. Some of my favorites in normal music are Sonic Youth, Big Black, Slayer, Bjork, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Celtic Frost, Decemberists, Espers.