Biography

PAK is back! With a new reincarnation combining powerful avant metal, the complexity of prog rock, and inspired moments of improvisation. For more than fifteen years of touring and recording, PAK’s music stands unique. Ron Anderson is back on guitar with a more powerful heavier sound. New members Steve Blanco (Imperial Triumphant) on bass and Larry Kwartowitz (Cleric) on drums are helping in stretching the bands previous boundaries pushing PAK to new sonic directions.

Ron Anderson was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1959. He is a self-taught rock composer who starting while still in high school in the mid 1970’s experimenting with new concepts for utilizing rock music with noise, free improvisation. In 1980 he was one of the founding members of Rat At Rat R in Philadelphia. He moved to New York City’s Lower East Side in 1982. There he started working in his home recording studio and continued to experiment with tape editing, found sounds, noise, and improvisation. He combined these elements with compositions and released his first LP entitled Fever Dream in 1987. Anderson moved to Oakland, California in 1989 were he formed The Molecules, who would go on to release a total of six albums. The Molecules were introduced to the European music community at the Musique Action Festival in Nancy, France in 1993, and since then, Anderson has been a regular on the European festival and club circuit, as well as touring in Japan and North America. After living in Geneva, Switzerland for one year he moved back to New York City in 1999 where he formed PAK. He has collaborated with many musicians on numerous projects. He appears on over seventy releases, most recently Oblique Quartet’s Tlaloc Beat on Alphatauri.

Steve Blanco is a multi-instrumentalist – primarily bass and piano/keys – as well as composer and filmmaker based in NYC. He is well versed in many styles of music ranging from jazz to metal to ambient and beyond. Performing, recording, and touring are a regular part of his creative existence, and he is involved in several projects as leader or sideman. Blanco’s resume also includes composition and film scoring, as well as music instruction. Blanco is the bass player for Imperial Triumphant and ZRIKU in addition to PAK.

Larry Kwartowitz has been drumming since the age of three or four and has been composing and performing live music since he was a teenager. One of the founding members of the tri-state area based avant-metal band, Cleric, Kwartowitz is known for playing many styles that range from hip hop and funk to jazz and the heaviest of rock. Since Cleric’s first full-length album was released on Trey Spruance’s label, Web of Mimicry, they have toured most of the United States and Canada and most recently have been working on their sophomore album as well as a Masada record for John Zorn. John Zorn has taken them under his wind as proteges, which has opened them up to many opportunities, including a residency at his New York club, The Stone, as well as international shows including Colombia, Switzerland, and most recently, Mexico. In addition to Cleric, Kwartowitz has been playing in side projects with musicians that include PAK’s Ron Anderson and Steve Blanco, Mick Barr and Matt Mottel (Gulag) and Brandon Seabrook and Johnny DeBlaze (Neuronomicon). He also has plans for future collaborations with Colin Marston, Uri Caine, and more.

Media

News

PAK Announces October West Coast Tour; Bestial Full-Length By New York City Trio Out Now Through Nefarious Industries – Earsplit Compound

Ron Anderson - photo by Peter Gannushkin
[photo by Peter Gannushki]

New York City-based math/prog/experimental outfit PAK announces an October tour of the West Coast US. The long-running act, with members of The Molecules, Cleric, Imperial Triumphant, and more formulating the current lineup, will be playing abroad in support of their Bestial full-length, released earlier this year via Nefarious Industries.

Produced by Ron Anderson, Bestial was recorded in two days at Menegroth, The Thousand Caves, in Queens, New York City with Colin Marston. The album was mixed and mastered by Anderson and completed with artwork by Will Argunas and layout by Greg Meisenberg. Bestial is a must-hear for fans of John Zorn, Dysrhythmia, Melvins, Stinking Lizaveta, and Gore.

Following sporadic live appearances across the East Coast in the wake of Bestial’s release, PAK now hits the West Coast US this fall. From October 10th through 20th PAK runs through California, Oregon, and Washington on a seven-city tour. Along the way they’ll share the stage with labelmates Oxx and Zvi as well as Mountaineer, Disastroid, and more.

Bestial is streaming and available on digital and CD; find merch and bundles RIGHT HERE.

PAK West Coast USA Tour:
10/10/2019 The Uptown – Oakland, CA w/ Disastroid, PG13, Onkos [info]
10/11/2019 Til-Two Club – San Diego, CA w/ Dreambro5, Peymaar [info]
10/13/2019 Sweet Springs – Los Osos, CA w/ Oxx, Mountaineer [info]
10/14/2019 Dwellpoint – Sacramento, CA w/ Gentleman Surfer [info]
10/16/2019 Turn Turn Turn – Portland, OR w/ Shahzad Ismaily, Zvi [info]
10/17/2019  Parliament Tavern – Seattle, WA w/ Sulphur [info]
10/20/2019 Winters – Pacifica, CA w/ Disastorid, Utopian Trap

Watch for new PAK live performances and tour dates to be announced later in the year.

For more than fifteen years of touring and recording, PAK has released six recordings on labels including Ra Sounds, Magaibutsu Japan, Tzadik, and others. Combining powerful avant metal, the complexity of prog rock, and inspired moments of improvisation, PAK’s music stands unique. Founder Ron Anderson is back on guitar with a more powerful heavier sound, while new recruits, bassist Steve Blanco (Imperial Triumphant) and drummer Larry Kwartowitz (Cleric) are helping in stretching the band’s previous boundaries, pushing PAK to new sonic directions.

PAK’s newest album Bestial is a surreal and cerebral experience. Feeling simultaneously both free-form and focused, familiar but unaccustomed, border-free but not without direction, the album flows through white-knuckled rhythm whiplash, otherworldly tones, tranquil plains of organic rock, and straight-up slamming, jarring jams. Seven expansive, explosive songs harness more than fifty-two minutes of immersive metallic, experimental rock, much of which remains primarily instrumental.

PAK-Bestial

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Review: PAK – Bestial (2019)

PAK can perform some crushing progressive music, along side a few prattle bars, carousel discord, and general conflict. After listening to the years of various incarnations of Ron Anderson and friends, I now understand this band can do anything they put their minds to, and maybe a bit more. As a trio, Bestial is in sublime mode, a darker meeting of Primus, Killing Spree, Massacre, and the likes, blowing up their own version of metallic/skronk/progressive avant-rock, with some added electronic space cadet. And all at once meticulous, irrepressible, and elite.” – Lee Henderson, Big Beautiful Noise

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Full Length Review: PAK Bestial (Nefarious Industries) by Dave Wolff – Autoeroticasphyxium Zine

“…jazz, progressive rock, ambient, avant garde metal, math metal, experimental and improvisational. Whatever you consider it, PAK’s new full length Bestial is undeniably new, uncommon, and unique. The creation of [Ron Anderson] and like-minded partners (Steve Blanco of Imperial Triumphant, Larry Kwartowitz of Cleric) who recognize no boundaries between genres worlds apart and seemingly impossible to liquesce and cement at the core. […] Its boundless unpredictability is what makes it accessible to anyone willing to travel the deepest unfathomed depths of songwriting. The transitions in mood from ethereal to hypnotic to somber to aggressive, in which it’s uncertain what comes next, may seem disjointed and harrowing to you during the first couple of tracks. By the time the epic track “Prophesies of the Sybil” is underway a method to the madness is revealed, you start to realize how carefully crafted the album is and you understand the reasoning behind the radical mood changes. You wouldn’t believe the album was recorded in just two days considering the extensive preparation that went into writing and arranging the songs.” – Dave Wolff / Autoeroticasphyxium Zine

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PAK: New York City Avant/Progressive Trio Releases Bestial CD Through Nefarious Industries This Week – Earsplit Compound

PAK-photo-by-Edward-Rollin[photos by Edward Rollin]

Nefarious Industries this week releases Bestial, the latest album from long-running New York City-based math/prog/experimental outfit PAK, its current lineup containing members of The Molecules, Cleric, Imperial Triumphant, and more. The diverse and damaging album is now available on CD and all digital platforms, streaming in its entirety.

For more than fifteen years of touring and recording, PAK has released six recordings on labels including Ra Sounds, Magaibutsu Japan, Tzadik, and others. Combining powerful avant metal, the complexity of prog rock, and inspired moments of improvisation, PAK’s music stands unique. Founder Ron Anderson is back on guitar with a more powerful heavier sound, while new recruits, bassist Steve Blanco (Imperial Triumphant) and drummer Larry Kwartowitz (Cleric) are helping in stretching the band’s previous boundaries, pushing PAK to new sonic directions.

PAK’s newest album Bestial is a surreal and cerebral experience. Feeling simultaneously both free-form and focused, familiar but unaccustomed, border-free but not without direction, the album flows through white-knuckled rhythm whiplash, otherworldly tones, tranquil plains of organic rock, and straight-up slamming, jarring jams. Seven expansive, explosive songs harness more than fifty-two minutes of immersive metallic, experimental rock, much of which remains primarily instrumental.

Produced by Ron Anderson, Bestial was recorded in two days in September 2018, captured at Menegroth, The Thousand Caves, in Queens, New York City with Colin Marston. The album was mixed and mastered by Anderson and completed with artwork by Will Argunas and layout by Greg Meisenberg. PAK is definitely back, and Bestial is a must-hear for fans of John Zorn, Dysrhythmia, Melvins, Mörglbl, Stinking Lizaveta, Gore, and other noncompliant and exploratory acts.

Bestial is now available on all digital platforms, and in a four-panel eco-wallet CD alongside merch and bundle options RIGHT HERE.

Watch for new PAK live performances and tour dates across North America and Japan to be announced later in the year.

PAK-Bestial

Bestial Track Listing:
1. Attrition
2. Repent Recoil
3. Prophesies Of The Sybil
4. Chiaroscuro
5. Sub Specie Aeternitatis
6. Reflection Consumer
7. Triskaidekaphobia

PAK:
Steve Blanco – bass, synthesizer, voice
Larry Kwartowitz – drums
Ron Anderson – guitar, voice

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PAK: New York City Avant/Progressive Trio Joins Nefarious Industries Roster; Band To Play New York City And Philadelphia Shows This Week – Earsplit Compound

PAK

Long-running New York City-based math/prog/experimental outfit PAK – with members of The Molecules, Cleric, Imperial Triumphant, and more – has joined the Nefarious Industries family. To date, PAK has released six recordings on the labels Ra Sounds, Magaibutsu Japan, and Tzadik, with their newest full-length, Bestial, now set for impending release through Nefarious Industries. The album will see spring release while the band confirms concerts and tour dates across North America and Japan for the year.

PAK is back! With a new reincarnation combining powerful avant metal, the complexity of prog rock, and inspired moments of improvisation. For more than fifteen years of touring and recording, PAK’s music stands unique. Ron Anderson is back on guitar with a more powerful heavier sound. New members Steve Blanco (Imperial Triumphant) on bass and Larry Kwartowitz (Cleric) on drums are helping in stretching the bands previous boundaries pushing PAK to new sonic directions.

As the final details and street date for Bestial are being confirmed, PAK will play two shows this week, leading with a Nefarious Industries showcase at Trans Pecos in Queens, New York City this Sunday, May 3rd alongside labelmates Zevious and Zvi. Next Saturday, March 9th, PAK will play Philadelphia, supporting the mighty Stinking Lizaveta and more. See the current listings below and watch for new tour dates and release info to be posted shortly.

PAK Live:
3/03/2019 Trans Pecos – Queens, NY *Nefarious Industries showcase w/ Zevious, Zvi [info]
3/09/2019 The Mothership – Philadelphia, PA w/ Stinking Lizaveta, Shardik [info]

Ron Anderson was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1959. He is a self-taught rock composer who starting while still in high school in the mid 1970’s experimenting with new concepts for utilizing rock music with noise, free improvisation. In 1980 he was one of the founding members of Rat At Rat R in Philadelphia. He moved to New York City’s Lower East Side in 1982. There he started working in his home recording studio and continued to experiment with tape editing, found sounds, noise, and improvisation. He combined these elements with compositions and released his first LP entitled Fever Dream in 1987. Anderson moved to Oakland, California in 1989 were he formed The Molecules, who would go on to release a total of six albums. The Molecules were introduced to the European music community at the Musique Action Festival in Nancy, France in 1993, and since then, Anderson has been a regular on the European festival and club circuit, as well as touring in Japan and North America. After living in Geneva, Switzerland for one year he moved back to New York City in 1999 where he formed PAK. He has collaborated with many musicians on numerous projects. He appears on over seventy releases, most recently Oblique Quartet’s Tlaloc Beat on Alphatauri.

Steve Blanco is a multi-instrumentalist – primarily bass and piano/keys – as well as composer and filmmaker based in NYC. He is well versed in many styles of music ranging from jazz to metal to ambient and beyond. Performing, recording, and touring are a regular part of his creative existence, and he is involved in several projects as leader or sideman. Blanco’s resume also includes composition and film scoring, as well as music instruction. Blanco is the bass player for Imperial Triumphant and ZRIKU in addition to PAK.

Larry Kwartowitz has been drumming since the age of three or four and has been composing and performing live music since he was a teenager. One of the founding members of the tri-state area based avant-metal band, Cleric, Kwartowitz is known for playing many styles that range from hip hop and funk to jazz and the heaviest of rock. Since Cleric’s first full-length album was released on Trey Spruance’s label, Web of Mimicry, they have toured most of the United States and Canada and most recently have been working on their sophomore album as well as a Masada record for John Zorn. John Zorn has taken them under his wind as proteges, which has opened them up to many opportunities, including a residency at his New York club, The Stone, as well as international shows including Colombia, Switzerland, and most recently, Mexico. In addition to Cleric, Kwartowitz has been playing in side projects with musicians that include PAK’s Ron Anderson and Steve Blanco, Mick Barr and Matt Mottel (Gulag) and Brandon Seabrook and Johnny DeBlaze (Neuronomicon). He also has plans for future collaborations with Colin Marston, Uri Caine, and more.

Nefarious Industries presents: Zevious, Zvi, PAK live at Trans Pecos, NYC - March 03, 2019

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ZVI: Two-Song Single Including Portishead Cover Streaming Exclusively At PopMatters Ahead Of Friday’s Release Through Nefarious Industries – Earsplit Compound

Zvi - photo by Justina Villanueva
[photo by Justina Villanueva]

New York City’s ZVI – the eclectic solo project of Ron Varod from Kayo Dot, Sabbath Assembly, Psalm Zero, So Is The Tongue, and more – presents a special two-song single through Nefarious Industries. Both new tracks, including the A-side original track “Dear Pink” as well as the B-side special cover of Portishead’s “Undenied,” are now streaming exclusively at PopMatters ahead of the single’s release this Friday. The single precedes ZVI’s new LP which is also nearing release in the weeks ahead.

While previous ZVI material can be interpreted as a minimal experimental drone twist on the traditional singer/songwriter, 2019 ushers in a new era of experimentation with the Deer Pink LP. In collaboration with producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Anna Von Hausswolff, Boris), Varod’s third full-length ZVI offering as well as its precursory “Dear Pink” b/w “Undenied” single introduce psychedelic analog synths and warped drum machines while almost flirting with pop melodies and forms.

ZVI’s “Dear Pink” track was engineered, produced, and mixed by Randall Dunn who also helped with sound design of the track, with bass from guest musician Toby Driver (Kayo Dot, Maudlin Of The Well, Secret Chiefs 3). On the single’s flip side, the cover of Portishead’s “Undenied” was performed, recorded, and mixed by Varod himself at home. The tracks were mastered by Brian Pyle, and the package created with cover art by Paul Cristina, photography by Justina Villanueva, and layout by Greg Meisenberg.

Varod offers of the material on this special single, “In the summer of 2015 I wrote the guitar at my old Brooklyn rehearsal space and hummed wordless melody into my phone that came to me on my walk back home and didn’t touch it for a long time. Everything from that one session stuck in my head over the course of the next year or so of touring. It became somewhat of a jump off point for when I got home and buckled down and started putting together this record. I performed all the vocals, guitar, synth and did all the drum programming but this track also features Randall Dunn on Buchla as well as Kayo Dot bandmate Toby Driver on bass guitar. The Portishead cover on the B-Side was something I had opened a lot of my shows with while touring my last record and decided to do a home recording of just to document it.”

PopMatters is hosting an exclusive early stream of the single, noting, “’Dear Pink’ builds slowly, moving us from passages that threaten to fade into silence to others that are deeply emotional, cathartic. Guitars buzz and chime, electronic glitches flicker throughout, and the percussion provides the faintest heartbeat against an enigmatic vocal line slow to reveal its secrets. ZVI offers up an intriguing and appropriately dark ‘Undenied’ that’s one part darkened prayer, one part invocation of the muse.”

Stream ZVI’s “Dear Pink” and cover of Portishead’s “Undenied” exclusively at PopMatters RIGHT HERE.

Nefarious Industries will release ZVI’s “Dear Pink” b/w “Undenied” 7” single this Friday, February 22nd in a limited run of 100 copies on pink vinyl. Find preorders at Bandcamp HERE and the label webshop HERE.

Watch for the full details on ZVI’s Deer Pink full-length to be announced in the days ahead.

Varod is booking tour dates in support of the upcoming ZVI releases, leading with a one-off gig with comrades East Of The Wall in Long Branch, New Jersey on February 27th. April sees him crossing the country for a trek through Southern California with four shows April 4th through 7th alongside Jerkagram, followed immediately by a three-date Pacific Northwest run April 11th through 13th with To End It All and Xiphoid Dementia. Watch for additional tour dates to be announced.

ZVI Tour Dates:
2/27/2019 Brighton Bar – Long Branch, NJ w/ East Of The Wall [info]
3/03/2019 Trans Pecos – Queens, NY w/ Zevious, PAK, Hardpan (DJ) [info]
4/04/2019 TBA – San Diego, CA w/ Jerkagram
4/05/2019 @ The Smell – Los Angeles, CA w/ Jerkagram, THIEF
4/06/2019 TBA
4/07/2019 Elbo Room – San Francisco, CA
4/11/2019 Teatro de la Psychomachia – Seattle, WA w/ To End It All, Xiphoid Dementia, Vanessa Skantze, Lye Feast [info]
4/12/2019 Cryptatropa – Olympia, WA w/ To End It All, Xiphoid Dementia, Clayface [info]
4/13/2019 Azoth – Portland, OR w/ To End It All, Xiphoid Dementia, Caustic Touch [info]

Slowly taking shape over the course of a few scarce live outings and recordings dating back to 2004, ZVI’s self-titled debut was finally released in 2014. Death Stops Us All followed in 2016, featuring guest vocalist Alan Dubin (Khanate, Gnaw), engineer Colin Marston (Gorguts, Krallice), and the mastering talents of James Plotkin (Khanate) to better capture Varod’s expansive sonic palate.

The past several years have seen ZVI embark on several tours throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe opening for acts such as The Black Queen, Mouth Of The Architect, Jonah Matranga (Far, etc.), and Telefon Tel Aviv, as well as a slot on the 2018 Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, Netherlands alongside Converge, Godflesh, Zola Jesus, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

ZVI - Dear Pink / Undenied 7"

Zvi, To End It All, Xiphoid Dementia - PNW 2019

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