OBAKE is a word which refers to a class of Yokai, Japanese preternatural creatures, and whose strict translation is “A Thing That Changes” or “Shapeshifter” but is often also loosely taken to mean “Ghost” or “Ghost of a deceased human being”. It is also the name of the band formed by experimental guitarist and producer Eraldo Bernocchi, opera, experimental singer and producer Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari aka Lef, Hungarian drummer Balazs Pandi and bass player Jason Könhen aka Bong-Ra
Obake represents the meeting point of four impressive strands of musicianship and four remarkable careers spanning very diverse genres of music, careers which include performances alongside a variety of renowned musicians such as Mike Patton, Justin Broadrick, Bill Laswell and Merzbow. Obake absorbs all of these influences into a cohesive and wildly powerful new whole and the result is one almighty debut which has been ranked number 6 among the Rock-a-rolla’s top 50 album of 2011.
Also the name of their self-titled debut, Obake is the place where the energies of Doom and Drone Metal fuse with ambient electronica, noise, the exactness of math-rock, the groove of blues undercurrents harking back to the dawn of hard-rock and the fluid lyrical delivery and musings of a commanding operatic voice. Obake build on the foundations of these different genres and creatively meld them with expert precision, the amalgam of musical elements come together most aptly on the tracks ‘Human Genome Project’ and ‘The Omega Point’, both of which can be sampled on the Rare Noise Jukebox
Imposing in its darkness, encompassing in its beauty and always powerful, Obake is a captivating listen from start to end and a highly impressive debut. A record that will surely appeal to fans of Sunn 0))), Popul Vuh, Ashra Tempel as much as Slayer, Melvins and Coil.
Eraldo Bernocchi (guitars)
Eraldo Bernocchi is an Italian composer, arranger, producer and guitarist. His music career started around 1977, as a guitarist in independent punk bands. In 1985 he founded the conceptual audio project and eventual international cult act Sigillum-S with Paolo Bandera and Luca di Giorgio.
In 1985, together with his wife Petulia Mattioli, he founded the cultural project Verba Corrige Productions, which became a home for a raft of notable audio visual projects and collaborations: over the succeeding decades and until now, Eraldo Bernocchi has collaborated with Mick Harris (SIMM, Black Engine), James Plotkin, Bill Laswell (Somma, Charged, Ashes and numerous others), Nils Petter Molvaer, Harold Budd (Fragments from the Inside), Russell Mills, Toshinori Kondo (Charged), Raiz, Almamegretta, Thomas Fehlmann, Zu (as Black Engine), DJ Olive, Markus Stockhausen (Costituto – with Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari), Giovanni Lindo Ferretti (as producer) and numerous others.
During the 90’s Eraldo composed film music for Oscar winner Gabriele Salvatores’ Denti and produced numerous art installations with Petulia Mattioli and Russell Mills. In 2008 he was co-founder in UK record label RareNoiseRecords. The label has since released a number of his recordings, including ambient guitar duo Parched (with Davide Tiso), Somma (with Nils Petter Molvaer, Bill Laswell, Raiz and Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari).
Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari (voice/keyboards/fx)
Is a vocalist and composer from Bologna, Italy, who, over the last decade has had notable collaborations with Bill Laswell, Hamid Drake, Trevor Dunn, Jamie Saft, Eivind Aarset, Nils Petter Molvaer, Eraldo Bernocchi, Markus Stockhausen, Tony Wakeford, Giovanni Lindo Ferretti, Raiz, Quintorigo, Pat Mastelotto, Gianni Maroccolo, Faraualla, Simone Zanchini, Enrico Gabrielli, Sigillum S, Ephel Duath, Lorenzo Feliciati and Fabrizio Puglisi.
Over the last decade, Lorenzo performed in prestigious Italian festivals and theatre stages among which we count the Teatro Vittoria in Roma, the Teatro Grande in Brescia, the Cappella Paolina del Quirinale live broadcasted on Rai Radio3, the Teatro di Correggio, the Teatro Comunale in Modena, the P.zza Santo Stefano in Bologna, the Teatro Piccolo Regio in Torino, the Festival delle Colline in Prato, the Piazza Prampolini in Reggio Emilia, the Forte Exilles in Torino, the Premio Ciampi in Livorno, the “Festival della Filosofia” in modena, the teatro Miela in Trieste, the Estragon in Bologna, the Alpheus in Roma, the “Festival della Letteratura” in Mantova, the Festival della Creatività in Firenze, the Villa Ada in Roma, the Teatro Dal Verme di Milano, the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, the Teatro Comunale in Ferrara, the Wave Gothic Treffen in Leipsig.
In 2004 he started working together with Eraldo Bernocchi with whom produced the album “Unisono in collaboration with Bill Laswell. During the same year, Lorenzo gave birth to the “Vaga L’Am” project with Quintorigo, Giovanni Lindo Ferretti, Enrico Gabrielli and Transgender.
In 2007 he took part in the Somma project with Eraldo Bernocchi, Bill Laswell, Raiz, Hamid Drake, Nils Petter Molvaer, Faraualla and seven Tibetan Monks.
In 2008, again with Eraldo Bernocchi, he co-produced the remix album for Ephel Duath’s “Pain Remixes the Known”.
In 2009 he wrote soundtracks for “La torre riflette”, a video installation on the Due Torri in Bologna that was appreciated by the many thousands of people who amassed together into the main street of the city to enjoy the event. In the same year he produced “Costituto” with Bernocchi, Markus Stockhausen and Giovanni Lindo Ferretti, a 700 years celebration album for the Costituto of Siena.
In 2010 he disclosed an approach to the Bel Canto as he made his debut in Nino Rota’s “Il Principe Porcaro” opera at the Teatro Comunale in Ferrara.
In 2010 he wrote soundtracks for “Cose Naturali” , a Germano Maccioni’s movie with Roberto Herlitzka and Angela Baraldi.
In 2010 and 2011 he won the “Premio Zucchelli” singing Bellini and Verdi.
In 2011 he won the Genova Film Festival award for best original score with the “Cose Naturali” soundtracks. In 2012 Trevor Dunn is on tour with the band subbing for Pupillo. Obake is 6th in the list of 2011’s 50 most important releases in Rock-A-Rolla magazine.
In 2012 Lef wrote music for Saga, a Giovanni Lindo Ferretti’s opera with 14 horses on stage.
In 2013 he started with Lorenzo Feliciati the band Berserk (Rarenoise Records April 2013). Pat Mastelotto, Jamie Saft, Gianluca Petrella, Eivind Aarset, Cristiano Calcagnile, Fabrizio Puglisi, Sandro Satta and Simone Cavina took part in this studio album as well.
In 2013 the Sony released the Giovanni Lindo Ferretti’s Saga cd, composed and produced by Lef.
Balázs Pándi (drums)
Hailiing from Hungary is drummer extraordinaire Balazs Pandi, whose musical career has spanned a multitude of genres, from Punk, grindcore and metal to avant-jazz, jazz-core, noise and avant-electronica.
His most recognised and on going collaboration is with Venetian Snares, dating back to 2006.
Balazs also played numerous shows with Otto von Schirach, a stage collaboration also dating back to 2006. On their last British tour, invited by Aphex Twin, they played for 5,000 people in Manchester. In 2008 they headlined the Dour Festival in Belgium playing to a massive crowd of 10,000.
Recent musical partnerships include Blood of Heroes, a band featuring Bill Laswell, Justin Broadrick, End.user, Submerged and Dr. Israel, Merzbow, and Wormskull.
The collaboration with Merzbow, which has proven to be a total success, has spanned about 20 gigs worldwide, incl. japan and United States. The New York Times reviewed the Merzbow/Pandi performance in NYC very positively.
Wormskull, is a project featuring dutch breakcore mastermind Bong-Ra (also part of the Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble) and Deformer.
Jason Köhnen (bass)
Bong-Ra, Jason Köhnen’s electronic alter ego saw life in 1996. Hailing form The Netherlands, Bong-Ra initially started as a dj, but quickly focussed his priority on producing his own music in 1997.
Djax Records signed Bong-Ra in 1998, proceeding to release the debut album ‘New Millennium Dreadz’ and the 12-inch series ‘Darkbreaks’ Volumes 1 and 2. Bong-Ra at that time was accompanied by MC Guzman on vocals.
In 2001 Clash Records (a hardcore jungle orientated 7-inch label) was set up. In that same year John Peel invited Bong-Ra to do a ‘Peel Session’ which was released on UK label Deathsucker Records. Several vinyl releases followed in the period between 2001 and 2003.
From 2001 to 2004 the ‘Breakcore a Go-Go!’ parties were run and organised by FFF and Bong-Ra becoming one of the first (bi) monthly regular Breakcore nights in Europe. ‘Bikini Bandits, Kill! Kill! Kill!’ the second full length album was released in 2003 on Supertracks Records. This album saw an audiovisual co-operation with US based film company Gyromart. The track ‘666MPH’ was used on the Bikini Bandits DVD and the videoclip to ‘666MPH’ aired on MTV. The Bikini Bandits audiovisual project became an exposition in the Museum of Modern Arts in Arnhem, The Netherlands. That year Bong-Ra also appeared on some of Holland’s biggest Festivals : Lowlands, Metropolis and Eurosonic. Also a small UK tour with DJ Scud and Soundmurderer followed.
In 2004 Bong-Ra set up his second label Kriss Records, focussing on edgier breaks (mostly combining metal and breakbeats). That same year the Center for Electronic Music (CEM) in Amsterdam asked Bong-Ra to produce a special 4 track EP solely using vintage equipment in the CEM studios, resulting in the ‘Colony of Electric Machines’ EP on the Vynalogica label. The ‘Monsters of Mash Up’ European Tour in 2005 with Shitmat (UK) and Enduser (USA) and a Japanese Tour with Parastie (UK) was followed by the third full length ‘I am the God of Hellfire’ released on Very Friendly and Ad Noiseam and the jungle/raggacore CD compilation ‘Warrior Sound’ on Supertracks (NL).
In 2006 a special 4 track remix EP of Venetian Snares’ ‘Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett’ and the debut of Bong-Ra’s main side project The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble were released on Planet Mu (UK). The politically charged album ‘Soldaat van Oranje’ was released on Sublight Records (CAN). Bong-Ra returned for his second Lowlands Festival, becoming one of the highlights of the Festival (according to Dutch magazine OOR). A second European tour and split 12-inc hwith Enduser ‘The Kill’ and a memorable muddy Glastonbury Festival highlighted 2007.
After the succes of Glastonbury, continued 2007 working on a variety of side projects including ; Deathstorm (extreme hypergrind project with japanese noise / grind legend Maruosa). Glowstyx (90’s rave revival album). White Darkness (uberdoom combining funeral doom with classical music). The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation (TKDE live improv sideproject). Köhnen vs Nottelman (improv hardcore electronica jazz core stuff).
2008 saw the legendary Bang Face Weekender take place, a festival with a legendary line up…a classic! The first Bong-Ra US Tour, and a return to the dutch Lowlands Festival.