Konfabulation: Paul von Aphid commemoration
October 31st, ‘Konfabulation’ release at NEN Records is out now. This compilation was conceived in Summer 2016. We suggested that contributors meditate on the broad theme of memory and its aberrations. But soon the theme got a bitter refinement. This compilation is dedicated to the memory of our friend Paul von Aphid. He passed away in September.
Just few months before, Paul gladly responded to the invitation to make a track for ‘Konfabulation’. He was united with many of the contributors not only by musical interests, but also by friendship. This is not surprising: Paul was a tireless music fan, an advanced researcher of dark subcultures, a man of amazing knowledge and complex feelings.
Paul was not only a fine connoisseur of others’ music but also made his own, truly striking and multi-faceted music. His productivity seems incredible. Projects he was involved in number in the tens, but in recent years Paul was focusing his efforts on Zex Model. Paul was preparing a track of this particular project for a NEN Records compilation.
We will hardly find out how this track was supposed to sound. However, music is born to be heard. At the will of the family of the deceased and thanks to their help, we have included unreleased material by Zex Model in ‘Konfabulation’.
Confabulation is a hallucinatory memory, a memory of things that never happened. In the case of an individual, this may indicate a mental disorder, but collective memory always has a touch of fiction. In a crucible of shared memories a fact becomes a sensation and a man becomes history. ‘Konfabulation’ is a fiery fabric we weave together, playing and crying, from lead techno beats and heart-breaking industrial noise, to explain the past and give meaning to the present.
We asked Pasha’s friends and acquaintances to share their memories of him. ‘Katabasia’ website, where we place their recollections, was not unfamiliar to Pasha, always hungry for everything odd and obscure. He said in an interview (the full text is yet to be published): «I fostered the hope that in Saint-Petersburg I would find the best music scene or interesting people. There are many good friends of mine, but you cannot speak of a serious scene, unfortunately. Still, there are many flamboyant characters, such as a mathematics professor at the university, devoting his spare time to drugs, Discordianism, and industrial music. He is one of the most intelligent and interesting people I’ve ever met. Speaking about the abundance of inquiring minds in St. Petersburg and in Ukraine, only they could give rise to completely insane resources such as modern-stalking.org.ua or katab.asia».
There are some keynotes in these recollections – Pasha’s indomitable inquisitiveness and creative spirit, lack of recognition at home and dashing involvement in the global context, his cordial sociability, and yearning for the scene that would be more than a scene but a real community, a unity. The genre of obituary does not require a moral, but perhaps this is the case when I should not stop short: if Pasha’s life can teach us all a lesson, this is the lesson of ultimate non-indifference.
Ivan Napreenko, NEN Records
«My friend, remembering Paul, told me a wonderful story. Back in 2010, he was a musician, too, and complained to Paul that recording an album is no picnic. The reaction was Paul’s puzzlement and a phrase about his thirty-fourth release, which was met with even more puzzlement.
Pasha was zealous for music. His knowledge was truly encyclopedic, and I often teased him – a couple of months ago was the last time – that he did not really listen to all those bands, only read about them and remembered. Every time, of course, I was wrong.
By 2016, the number of his releases increased, and I am proud to say that I contributed to this, participating in a rather kooky duet Modern Howl. When it was over, Pasha switched to his new project Zex Model, which became his swan song. By this name and under the aegis of the Desire Records label he became renowned, and now we receive kind words from all over the world.
The world lost a musician, someone lost a son, someone lost a love, and I lost a friend. I hope the memories of the best things we shared will not fade or change over time. Rest in peace, Paul
S.Wulf – Modern Howl
One thing that always struck me about Paul was his passion. He would write me anytime he found some new album he loved, share tracks he was working on, or just talk to me about whatever he was thinking of at the time, whether it was the pleasures of performing music, spiritual iconography, a piece of literature that was fascinating him or a random meme that had caught his eye. He constantly hungered for the new and the obscure, and that hunger shone through in his music; his kindness and inquisitiveness made him shine in person. I hope, wherever his consciousness is now, that he’s found the peace that eluded him.
Daniel Jones – UnReal
For me, Pasha appeared from nowhere, Pasha plotted a certain vector that brought me where I am now. Pasha inspired me to take steps I would not have taken, were it not for his advice. I always felt that he was full of ideas, in constant motion, in search for himself, for sounds, states, and the truth. Our joint project was a journey, and I am sure that Pasha just went on another one, so we will meet once on some far-out planet.
Now I realize how seldom we’ve talked with Pasha, not in the slightest as much I would have liked. I do not even remember exactly the circumstances of how we met. Apparently, this was the debut show of my project at Industrial Night party back in 2010 in Kaliningrad. Pasha also performed there, if I’m not mistaken, in 3 projects at once: Parfume Jill Jarry, Scraping Lee, and EL’A’RRY. Their music was very different from what sounded there that night. All other participants can somehow be attributed to experimental electronics and electro-industrial. Paul’s projects resembled Einstürzende Neubauten, with much more noise and performance elements. Pasha was playing the guitar.
I was immediately hooked up with how deep he was into music and how multi-faceted his musical interests were. I could not find any other person so musically diverse. Talking to him was always warm and interesting. We could discuss almost anything, although the music, of course, was the main subject.
Already at that time I was impressed with the number of Pasha’s projects, in 2011 alone there were more than 70, in completely different styles. I remember the only gig his Modern Howl duo gave, it was cool and atmospheric. I remember Pasha sharing his joy that his new project Zex Model found its audience. We discussed a joint concert, but we never found time to make it up.
Pasha never managed to play a solo performance in his native Kaliningrad, only a DJ set. It happened two weeks prior to the first Zex Model show in Kaliningrad… The last time I talked to Pasha by phone, he called to wish me happy birthday. We talked long and heartily, he was happy and excited about the upcoming show…
The memory of Pasha will stay with me forever – through our conversations and Pasha’s music, in and by which he lived, expressing and revealing his true self. Thank you, Pasha.
Anton Chirtsov, First Rebirth
How long we’ve been acquainted? For six or seven years. Well, it does not matter. It started by net-messaging – we’ve talked on Coil and Skinny Puppy, adorating those acts from different points of view. I showed Pasha the ideological aspects, and he, as a true Creator, showed me the musical ones. Then we briefly met at the Scorn gig in Moscow briefly. Then at PTV3 at the incredible SKIF festival. So, two face-to-face meetings, and that’s it…
We were constantly sharing something – he was giving me his ideas and insights, I was trying to give what I could. When I was finalizing my translation of Ballard’s ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ we conceived an idea of the multimedia version of the book. But the things turned out as they did. A month before this happened he asked me how I coped with unlucky streaks. I’ve uttered something, some words of support, then added that I’m not experienced in it. We’ve agreed to meet again… We’ll meet where our favorites dwell, Coil, Ballard, Dwayne of Puppies, who has more in common with you than one could wish.
I remember you, my friend and colleague. See you later. Meanwhile, take your time playing music with THEM. Let all of you have peace and bliss.
Alex Ram Ibsorath
The loss of Paul von Aphid Pasha is a huge tragedy for music. He was not only very intelligent and very talented, but also highly knowledgeable about music and extremely motivated to always be creating and pushing forward. Paul was also just a downright good person and of all things a good friend. He connected with and was loved and respected by many people across the world. We could talk about music and culture for long periods of time. He is one of those people that I felt really got it. I wish we had finished the Zoa Zoa project we started several years ago but Zex Model was doing so well that we never got back to the project.
Paul’s creativeness didn’t stop at just making music. He also wanted to document it and write about it. March 31st of last year he wrote, «do you think i should write the book about witch house scene – like a lexicon devil – book of interviews. or like american hardcore but better. im thinking a lot about that in few past weeks» What a wonderful book that would have been.
One of the last conversations we had was him messaging because he was hoping to open for Youth Code in Berlin. He was nervous and excited at the possibility of the show. 2 weeks later everything was confirmed and he was getting his visa that day. I was so happy for him.
Internet friendship is usually based on a shared obsession: Indian movies, Hungarian folk music, Soviet trains. Virtually anything can serve as a social glue. Usually. In Pasha’s case, I find it difficult to find this shared obsession, apart from our passion for Al Jourgensen’s projects, but these are the rare phenomena that do not leave you indifferent. Pasha was madly passionate about the things that, at best, underwhelmed me: rare animé, hysterical NWOBM, Skinny Puppy, Wicca and other blatant occultism. This, however, does not matter at all: you don’t have to be a member of a sect to feel cordial toward its adherents.
One Nobel laureate (or his speechwriter) said that our oddities are what makes us human, and he nailed it. This is true not only for separate individuals, but for the entire humanity as well: our existence is made worthwhile by such outrageous heretics, at odds with anything that is going on, passionate about weird shit of all sorts, but channeling this passion into powerful and unique art. Russia has a rich history of such alienation from the mundane, and we can easily draw a parallel between the khlyst sect, known for its ecstatic self-torture rituals, and the underground movement of the 2000s.
Kaliningrad, with its status of a territorial enclave, was perfect for Pasha’s activity – he was always on the other side of any border. Of all personalities of the local underground, he was arguably the most fervent and devoted to music. Pasha was sensitive about the lack of community here, and this should be an important warning signal: the ‘unofficial art’ needs not a subculture, but a community of mutual aid, psychological and friendly support because we have more than enough DIY. Mutual aid is what we lack.
Felix Sandalov, Krot
Part of the proceeds will be transferred to the family of the deceased.