Biography

Born from collaborative sessions with Gridfailure’s David Brenner in 2016, MEGALOPHOBE began as an accident and developed as an experiment. It persists as a question. Using a thrift store accordion outfitted with makeshift electronics, NYC based Benjamin Levitt builds loosely organized soundscapes around the central challenge of scoring anthems for the frontier between disquietude and dread.

Every noise the accordion makes, the mechanical sounds of the opening and closing of the internal works of the accordion, air passing through the bellows out the exhaust valves, the sorrowful drone of the reeds, is pulled through layers of distortion and mixed with electronics, guitars, and processed field recordings. From minimalist drones, to overwhelming waves of feedback and off-kilter melodies, MEGALOPHOBE obsessively seeks out the feeling of watching the vertiginous lilt of a docked aircraft carrier.

After the rich territory discovered in those early recording sessions, MEGALOPHOBE took on a life of its own and released its debut solo EP megalophobe in late 2017, following the collaborative album Dendritic, with Gridfailure earlier that year.

Media

News

GRIDFAILURE & MEGALOPHOBE: PopMatters Premieres Title Track From Tasukete; Second Collaborative Album By New York Solo Outfits Nears Release Via Nefarious Industries – Earsplit Compound

GRIDFAILURE & MEGALOPHOBE - Tasukete

Tasukete, the second collaborative album from New York solo outfits GRIDFAILURE and MEGALOPHOBE and the first title from either act to see release under the diverse Nefarious Industries banner, will be set loose upon the public in early October. PopMatters is now streaming the record’s title track ahead of its street date.

Created in several sessions in 2017 and early 2018, Tasukete was fully performed, recorded, and mixed by GRIDFAILURE’s David Brenner at The Compound in Rockland County, New York and MEGALOPHOBE’s Benjamin Levitt at Forked Audio in Brooklyn, New York. With eight tracks ranging between two and nine minutes in length, the two artists employ a barrage of random recording tactics, capturing the abuse of electric and acoustic guitars, bass, drums, keys, synth, accordion, harmonica, and more, with a bombardment of vocal styles, all generally wired with enough effect to dam the Hudson. Levitt’s brother Rob Levitt performs on several of the tracks, and the cover art was handled by Paul Tierman and David Brenner.

With the premiere of title track of the record, the artists offer, “On the song ‘Tasukete,’ we pour layers of processed field recordings and mistreated electronics into a tense four minutes and twenty seconds of madness. The lyrics, a twisted cry for help referencing the translation of the title (Japanese for ‘help me’), are delivered by both of us, our vocals bent and battered into near oblivion. We felt that as the title track, it should represent the eclectic character of the rest of the album and it manages to do that while, fittingly, it resembles none of the rest of it. As the industrial rhythm materializes and then melts down and oozes into the track’s end, it reveals itself as the perfect song to accompany a total breakdown; play it at work and see for yourself.”

PopMatters writes in part, “’Tasukete’, the song itself is a noisy nightmare, a soundscape to the struggle of the soul in the contemporary urban climate, the sound of late capitalism trapped in a spit bubble and a discarded piece of chewing gum on a subway platform… This isn’t music as much as it is Cinema Verite as imagined by two auteurs who’ve been raised on a steady diet of Wolf Eyes and the sounds of Hell’s Kitchen in the early 1980s.”

Stream “Tasukete” by GRIDFAILURE & MEGALOPHOBE at PopMatters RIGHT HERE.

Nefarious Industries will release Tasukete on all digital platforms and via limited-run eco-wallet CD on October 5th. Find preorders at the label webshop HERE, and stream the first single “Agoraphobic Claustrophobia” with preorders at GRIDFAILURE’s Bandcamp HERE or MEGALOPHOBE’s Bandcamp HERE,

Watch for additional audio previews, videos, and more from Tasukete to be issued in the days ahead.

Levitt continues to join Brenner’s live lineup of GRIDFAILURE, with more being plotted for the fall months. MEGALOPHOBE and collaborative live sets for the Tasukete record will be organized.

GRIDFAILURE Live:
10/27/2018 Huggy Bear Manor – Philadelphia, PA

The connections between these two rogue units run essentially to the core of both. Shortly after the genesis of GRIDFAILURE in 2016, creator David Brenner and friend Benjamin Levitt hooked up a random recording session, which spawned not only contributions from Levitt to several GRIDFAILURE releases, it also cemented MEGALOPHOBE as an entity, and led to the first collaborative album, Dendritic, self-released in April 2017. MEGALOPHOBE has since released its eponymous debut EP which included contributions from Brenner, GRIDFAILURE has morphed into a live entity which includes Levitt, and the two have been constantly at work on a plethora of new collaborative material.

GRIDFAILURE and MEGALOPHOBE’s unplanned first joint album, Dendritic, was released in early 2017, and it was not long after that the material which would evolve into their second unplanned album was birthed. During recording sessions for another upcoming collaboration, some of the material became too deranged for the planned concept and was quickly corralled into a separate wing of the testing facility and reclassified as Tasukete – Japanese for “help me” – as seen in the language lab in the movie The Exorcist. While Dendritic bore spacious, nature-oriented movements flooded with field recordings, Tasukete runs rampant with unhinged confusion, contorted executions, and explosive self-immolation through strenuous psychosis, as the two artists treat themselves as self-crash-test dummies strapped into their own torqued contraptions.

GRIDFAILURE & MEGALOPHOBE - Tasukete

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GRIDFAILURE and MEGALOPHOBE Explore the Frayed Ends of Sanity on “Tasukete” (premiere) – PopMatters

“A noisy nightmare, a soundscape to the struggle of the soul in the contemporary urban climate, the sound of late capitalism trapped in a spit bubble and a discarded piece of chewing gum on a subway platform. It all comes together there, in the moments before we are hurled into a long tunnel. In the end, there is a light. It either carries us into the fires of our eternal tormentor or into the arms of a benevolent being who will coddle our baby souls with the sounds of Neurosis and King Diamond for the entirety of our afterlife. This isn’t music as much as it is Cinema Verite as imagined by two auteurs who’ve been raised on a steady diet of Wolf Eyes and the sounds of Hell’s Kitchen in the early 1980s.” – PopMatters

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GRIDFAILURE + MEGALOPHOBE: Tasukete – Two Guys Metal Reviews

“There is a sort of existential pain that drives the work of these two artists and their willingness to be grating and oppressive thrills me and terrifies the shit out of my cat. That’s a huge part of the appeal of noise though, especially how these guys do it, it’s about leaving you with your skin crawling. Tasukete is a record that does exactly that. It’s the sort of music that makes you ask yourself why this type of music was even created in the first place. But because of its sheer devilishness you know, you know you were meant to succumb to this glorious fucked up oppression. Twisted and dark, GRIDFAILURE and MEGALOPHOBE have an intimate understanding of the horrors of the human race.” – Two Guys Metal Reviews

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GRIDFAILURE & MEGALOPHOBE: Tasukete Collaborative Album To See Release Via Nefarious Industries In October; “Agoraphobic Claustrophobia” Streaming At Svbterranean – Earsplit Compound

GRIDFAILURE & MEGALOPHOBE Bushwick Panic Day shoot COMBO

New York-based solo experimental outfits GRIDFAILURE and MEGALOPHOBE have recoalesced to dispatch their second fully collaborative album, Tasukete. The album will be released via Nefarious Industries in early October, and the album’s spastic “Agoraphobic Claustrophobia” has been debuted at Svbterranean.

Set for release less than a year-and-a-half after GRIDFAILURE and MEGALOPHOBE’s first joint album, Dendritic, the Tasukete record was another unplanned collaborative album from the two outfits. During recording sessions for a different impending collaboration, some of the material became too schizophrenic for the concept and was quickly corralled into a separate wing of the testing facility. These harvested accidents were reclassified under Tasukete – Japanese for “help me” – as seen in the language lab in the movie The Exorcist. While Dendritic bore spacious, nature-oriented movements flooded with field recordings, Tasukete is on the deranged opposite end of the spectrum; an album ripe with confusion, unhinged with contorted visions, and explosive self-immolation through strenuous psychosis, as the two artists treat themselves as self-crash-test dummies strapped into their own torqued contraptions.

Tasukete was self-recorded, mixed, and mastered, created in several sessions at MEGALOPHOBE’s Benjamin Levitt’s Forked Audio in Brooklyn and GRIDFAILURE’s David Brenner’s The Compound in Rockland County. Employing a barrage of random recording tactics, eight tracks ranging from two to nine minutes in length are created through the abuse of electric and acoustic guitars, bass, drums, keys, synth, accordion, harmonica, and various random instruments, as well as a barrage of vocal styles, all generally wired with enough effect to dam the Hudson. Levitt’s brother Rob Levitt performs on several of the tracks, and the cover art was handled by Paul Tierman and Brenner.

Svbterranean is streaming the first single from Tasukete, the boiling madness of “Agoraphobic Claustrophobia.” calling the track, “a nearly five-minute mind-melter of abrasive noise, dizzying atmospheres, pseudo jazz instrumentation, and psychotic vocals. It’s like being trapped in a funhouse while under the influence of illicit substances.”

Stream GRIDFAILURE & MEGALOPHOBE’s “Agoraphobic Claustrophobia” at Svbterranean RIGHT HERE.

Nefarious Industries will release Tasukete on digital and limited CD on October 5th; find preorders at the label shop HERE and via GRIDFAILURE’s Bandcamp HERE and MEGALOPHOBE’s Bandcamp HERE.

Watch for additional audio previews, videos, and more to be issued in the weeks ahead.

GRIDFAILURE has several new solo and various collaborative titles on the verge of completion and new shows being booked for the summer months. MEGALOPHOBE is constructing new material and will morph to a live setting in the coming months. Collaborative Tasukete sets and crossover live actions with both artists should be expected.

The connections between these two rogue units run essentially to the core of both. Shortly after the genesis of GRIDFAILURE in 2016, creator David Brenner and friend Benjamin Levitt hooked up a random recording session, which spawned not only contributions from Levitt to several GRIDFAILURE releases, it also cemented MEGALOPHOBE as an entity, and led to the first collaborative album, Dendritic, self-released in April 2017. MEGALOPHOBE has since released its eponymous debut EP which included contributions from Brenner, GRIDFAILURE has morphed into a live entity which includes Levitt, and the two have been constantly at work on a plethora of new collaborative material.

GRIDFAILURE & MEGALOPHOBE - Tasukete

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SVB Exclusive: GRIDFAILURE & MEGALOPHOBE Debut New Track “Agoraphobic Claustrophobia”

“…a nearly five-minute mind-melter of abrasive noise, dizzying atmospheres, pseudo jazz instrumentation, and psychotic vocals. It’s like being trapped in a funhouse while under the influence of illicit substances.” – Svbterranean

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