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Bruce Scott
 
Brise-Glace
Brise-Glace
The brainchild of producer/guitarist Jim O'Rourke, Brise-Glace took O'Rourke's avant-garde leanings and melded them with the post-hardcore of bassist Darin Gray's Dazzling Killmen. The extremities of this combination were displayed well on Brise-Glace's first tour in 1994, where it drove the group Mount Shasta to the point of unplugging Brise-Glace's amplifiers after hearing 30 minutes of a repeated guitar riff. O'Rourke spent the early part of his career recording original compositions in his hometown of Chicago and sending the pieces off to composers whose work he admired. While he was doing this, he also became involved in the band Illusion of Safety in the early '90s. It was in the group that O'Rourke met drummer Thymme Jones, who was also known for his work in his group CHEER-ACCIDENT. O'Rourke and Jones befriended each other, and the seeds of Brise-Glace were slowly being planted. While Illusion of Safety was making the rounds of Chicago venues, O'Rourke saw the grinding group Dazzling Killmen, which contained Gray on bass. With Gray added to O'Rourke's and Jones' new band, the seed was fertilized that blossomed into the post-rock stylings of Brise-Glace. Deciding to bring in a second guitarist, the trio added the Flying Luttenbachers' Dylan Posa. This lineup recorded the In Sisters All and Felony/Angels on Installment Plan single, which was released in May of 1994 on Skin Graft Records. As Brise-Glace had been starting up, O'Rourke had simultaneously been working on another band project, called Gastr Del Sol, with former Squirrel Bait member David Grubbs. O'Rourke had also spent the early '90s recording avant-garde albums, such as Tomorrow Knows Where You Live with Henry Kaiser. Since Brise-Glace were in the midst of recording their full-length debut album for Skin Graft in 1994, O'Rourke took the opportunity to invite Grubbs and Kaiser along as the band's special guests. After the tracks were cut, O'Rourke wielded a razor blade to splice the freshly recorded music into fractured pieces. The outcome was the August 1994 release of Brise-Glace's When in Vanitas LP, which explored five lengthy instrumental passages engineered by Steve Albini. The band supported the release by taking to the streets on the Skin Graft Irritational tour that year. By 1995, the rhythm section for Brise-Glace, which consisted of Jones and Gray, returned to the studio with Albini. It was a slight departure for the duo, who were backing up Japanese noise-metal band Zeni Geva's frontman/guitarist Kazuyuki K. Null (aka K.K. Null) under the guise of Yona-Kit. Melt-Banana's lead singer, Yasuko O., even stopped by the studio to lend a hand. Yona-Kit's noisy self-titled album was released that July on Skin Graft. 1996 found Brise-Glace contributing to the May release of Skin Graft's tribute to AC/DC, the 7" Sides 1-4, alongside Chicago noisemakers Big'n, Shellac, and U.S. Maple. Brise-Glace also returned to the live circuit in November playing shows at clubs like Chicago's Lounge Ax with U.S. Maple, the Flying Luttenbachers, and Colossamite. Gray and O'Rourke now appeared as Brise-Glace's only two constants. On any given night, the rest of the band included a rotating lineup of guests, including the Scissor Girls' Azita Youssefi and avant-garde synth/guitar player Kevin Drumm. As 1996 turned into 1997, Brise-Glace continued playing out and even appeared on the Camp Skin Graft: Now Wave Compilation that September. The group slowly quit performing though, due to O'Rourke's increasing demand as a producer for various composers, electronic musicians, and indie bands, while Gray's involvement with Jones in the group You Fantastic! kept them both busy. As of 2001, there was still no word on whether or not Brise-Glace had ever officially broken up. Members did continue working together in various capacities though, as Posa joined Jones in CHEER-ACCIDENT. ~ Stephen Howell, Rovi
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