Greg Kelley: Flesh to Metal
AAJ: Do you feel you express emotion in Nmperign or your solo work?
GK: I think so. I think even in spite of itself that will happen what kind of emotion is a different thing. It's closer to the way I experience emotion, in that it's complicated. We'd have to agree for one thing on which emotion.
AAJ: And that would be anathema to your whole project.
GK: Right. That doesn't mean emotion is stricken from the proceedings but that has more to do with the interaction between the musicians, and with the listener.
From left: Greg Kelley, Doug Theriault, Kelvin Pittman
AAJ: Your new solo CD, Self-Hate Index (Semata, 2008), seems like an angry album.
GK: People took that as an angry title, too, but it's an index, a scale. I don't think that's an angry record.
AAJ: It seems like a difficult listen, unlike your other work. Which isn't a bad thing, just a unique thing.
GK: Some of the Heathen Shame [with guitarists Kate Village and Wayne Rogers] stuff is like that but it's actually some of our most exuberant material.
AAJ: Going back to the CDs we discussed earlier: the one with Muller has that static quality, like a cloud hovering over a landscape; whereas the one with Lescalleet has that orchestral development. Did this happen consciously or was it business as usual?
GK: I don't think we have a "business as usual"or "business as usual" is trying to create problems, throwing a wrench into things and working ourselves out of it...The Muller record was very different because the bulk of it was one concert, and then a solo recording by him and a duo with us; whereas the one with Jason happened after seven or eight years of working together.
AAJ: So it has to do with evolution....Can you reveal what "Nmperign" means or is that a secret?
GK: It's not a secret. There's a Latin phrase, "ignotum per ignotius," which means, "the unknown through the more unknown," and Bhob took some letters out of that.
AAJ: There's a word for that type of compression. In the middle ages, they would take quotes from the Bible and take letters out of them so they would fit on a relic. So maybe there's a religious quality to your work?
GK: Maybe there is.
AAJ: You're very contemplative.
GK: One of our records did have stuff from the Dead Sea scrolls in it, too. That was another one where because of the deterioration of the document itself, there would be whole sections of it they couldn't translate so they just put an ellipsis, so you just get these fragments. I think it was Bhob who thought it would be good to have a name with more consonants than vowels.
AAJ: These paradigms tell a lot about your music, all these "buried secrets." Any interest in alchemy?
GK: A little bitbut I don't think we're trying to turn anything into gold.
AAJ: Alchemy can have other meanings...Nietzsche characterized certain men as alchemists.
GK: And what were the qualities of that man?
AAJ: Someone who could take a bad hand and turn it into a royal flush.
AAJ: You're doing a pretty good job of that.
Nmperign, Ommatidia (Intransitive, 2009)
Nmperign with Jake Meginsky, Selected Occasions of Handsome Deceit (Rel, 2010)
Hair Police, Our Minds Problem Vol. 4 (self-produced, 2009)
Weasel Walter, Apocalyptic Paranoia (Gaffer, 2009)
Life Partners, Men Are Talking (Ride The Snake, 2009)
Alex Neilson and Greg Kelley, Passport to Satori (Goldenlab, 2009)
Anthony Braxton, Nine Compositions 2003 (Rastascam, 2008)
Greg Kelley, Self-Hate Index (Semata, 2008)
Greg Kelley, Religious Electronics (No Fun, 2008)
Cold Bleak Heat, Simitu (Family Vineyard, 2007)
Nmperign/Jason Lescalleet, Love Me Two Times (Intransitive, 2006)
Greg Kelley, One hour as something that didn't turn out the way I intended it to (I'm not Anti-Music, Music's Anti-Me) (Chocolate Monk, 2006)
Heathen Shame, Speed the Parting Guest (Twisted Village, 2005)
Axel Dorner, Greg Kelley, Andrea Neumann and Bhob Rainey, Thanks, Cash (Sedimental, 2004)
Nmperign, We Devote Every Effort To Offer You The Best That You Deserve To Have For Your Enjoyment (Siwa, 2003)
Nmperign with Gunter Muller, More Gloom, More Light (Rossbin, 2003)
Greg Kelley, If I never meet you in this life, let me feel the lack (Rossbin, 2002)
Bhob Rainey and Greg Kelley, Nmperign (Selektion, 2001)
Greg Kelley and Jason Lescalleet, Forlorn Green (Erstwhile, 2001)
Greg Kelley, Trumpet (Meniscus, 2000)
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