November 2018


Eleven years in the making, Fazio has produced a very different album unlike any in his history. A 70’s art / rock / ambient sensibility seen through the eyes of an artist with a reverence as well as a lightheartedness for the historical importance of our shared musical experiences. Through the past, fondly.

Fazio, known foremost for his beloved orchestramaxfieldparrish ambient project, is a veteran of the downtown NYC experimental performance scene of the 1980’s and college radio alt rock scene of the 1990’s has been part of hundreds of recordings, independent film soundtracks and modern dance recital music.

The Vast Apart is Fazio’s 35th recording on his Faith Strange imprint since 1992. Limited CD pressing in gatefold card sleeve | unlimited DL

Exquisitely recorded and mastered in 24bit / 96k high fidelity.

“Never one to overindulge himself, Fazio's textures and patterns service the tune far more than
any egotistical self-journey.” - Brainwashed

“Artfully navigating the interstices between experimental ambient and a distillate of neo-classical.” - Igloo Magazine

“Fazio’s hand is more than capable.” - WHITE_LINE

“This is music that is beautiful, powerful, intimate and cinematographic; the end of a great trilogy of some of
the finest ambient music; in whatever form Mike Fazio wishes to play this. He shows he has a few tricks up his sleeve.” - Vital Weekly

“In a perfect world, there would be a place for explorative music of such genuine quality
in thousands of receptive listeners' homes, but such a world, alas, doesn't seem to be the one we inhabit.” - textura

“one more reason to consider him amongst what I consider to be the unsung contemporary masters
of the Musique Concrete style of experimentalism alongside more well-known names such as Daniel Menche.” - Heathen Harvest

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Mike Fazio: The Vast Apart Faith Strange
The Vast Apart presents a different and somewhat unexpected side of Mike Fazio's music-making but an immensely satisfying one nonetheless. In contrast to the long-form soundscapes associated with his orchestramaxfieldparrish alias, the new release is dominated by models of concision, vignettes that in some cases last little more than two minutes at a time. Calling it new, by the way, requires some clarification: as Fazio explains on the inner sleeve, the album's ten tracks originated as demo tracks (three or four albums' worth, apparently, and half of it obscure covers) recorded in 2007 for an intended live band project involving Fazio's (since-deceased) colleague Jeff Ladd. With that project never reaching fruition, the material remained archived until 2017-18 when Fazio rescued it from the vault to midwife it into its now-issued form.

The material exudes an ease and confidence that are natural byproducts of experience, which Fazio has in spades: the release is the thirty-fifth independent recording to have appeared on his Faith Strange imprint since 1992, and during his career he's participated in hundreds of sessions, soundtracks, dance productions, and independent live theater presentations. Fazio himself describes the album as “a collection of oddities,” though endearingly; originally conceived with the LP format in mind,
The Vast Apart's tracks, brief by design, accord nicely with the two sides of a vinyl release, though the ten also work well when played sans interruption in the CD presentation.

A strong case could be made for
The Vast Apart as a guitar album, but, ever the anti-traditionalist, the New Yorker rarely plays the instrument straight-up, preferring instead to reprocess its sound using digital filters and granular synthesis. Guitar histrionics are eschewed in favour of textural explorations, Fazio's focus as much on atmosphere as rhythm and compositional development. Such treatments lend the material a seductive quality that draws one in to attend closely and better appreciate the artistry in play. Such an approach also gives the tracks a rather stealthy character in the way they get under one's skin: what at first might seem a sketch or work-in-progress, reveals itself after repeated exposure to be subtly crafted sound design. In “The Empath (And Other Love Stories),” for instance, limpid lead guitar playing naturally functions as the primary focal point, but the pitch-shifting swirls and warbles fluttering in the background prove just as interesting.

The album's not without surprises, too. During “Traveling South by Southwest Just Me and My Baby in a Pink Cadillac (Big Hit Single),” Fazio lays across a relaxed 4/4 groove funky, wah-wah shadings that wouldn't sound out of place on a Meters record; he also includes his own singing on the cover of “Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair (Funny How Time Flies),” and while his delivery of the still-legible words has been liberally altered into ghostly form by treatments, the vocal is nevertheless haunting. Needless to say, the oft-recorded traditional has never been interpreted quite like this before, one more sign that Fazio never stops evolving and exploring.
January 2019

Vital Weekly:

So far Mike Fazio is best known for the work carried out under such guises as Gods Of Elecricity
(Vital Weekly
527), A Guide For Reason (Vital Weekly 793, 886, 978) and Orchestramaxfieldparrish
(Vital Weekly
1054 and 1057), and this one is under his own name, even when there were a few as
Fazio before (Vital Weekly
826, 834), but he promises this would be something entirely different.
Fazio was part of Chill Faction in the 80s, and "forming the improvisatory backbone behind the
unique poet performance artist Copernicus", and was a studio guitarist for Black 47, although I
must none of that means anything me. His work, whichever name he uses, is a journey among
many musical styles. Ambient, microsound, rhythm; it is all no strange land for him, so to announce
an album that is "a very different album unlike any in his history", is of course quite the
announcement. It took him eleven years to complete this album and I am sure not all time was
spent on this one. The big question is: how different is it? That is a hard to answer one, probably
because Fazio covered so much terrain already and the ten heavily guitar oriented pieces here
are rooted deeply in the world of ambient music. There is a substantial amount of reverb to be
noted here, but also quite a bit of computer treatments, chopping the sound up and downwards,
inside and out, yet all of this is kept to mild proportions.

Fazio's more improvised playing is present as before. It begs the question: is it that different from his earlier work and of course I am an outsider and I know how a musician can feel about importantdifferences not perceived by listeners. I for one don't hear these vastly different approaches to music. It is, again, some great, daring ambient music, one that isn't playing by the book, with it's improvised textures and sometimes even a dash of Porter Ricks' like rhythm sample of that very same guitar; sometimes Fazio even has a trip hop like rhythm to play with. Maybe that's new? But is than that new?

The most remarkable track is 'Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair (Funny How Time Flies)',
which has a shower like vocal reminding me of 'I Wander' by Berio's ‘Folksongs’. Hauntingly
beautiful. The other nine are equally good, spacious and powerful. (FdwW)


August 2018

The new album entitled 'The Vast Apart (A Collection Of Arcane Scenarios - Volume Two)' has been approved for pressing. This will be a very limited CD pressing of 100 copies in a 4 panel mini-Japanese style wallet. End of September release date is scheduled.

December 2016

orchestramaxfieldparrish - A Midsummer's Night voted one of the
Best Of 2016 at textura

October 2016

Two new orchestramaxfieldparrish titles released mid-October 2016 on Faith Strange. Details on the
orchestramaxfieldparrish page. Cheers.

June 2015


On ongoing music diary (or journal of sorts) has been started in order to release new music in digital form only (for the time being at least) without the constraints and costs of traditional pressing plants can be found

January 2015

A new interview with guitarist Mike Fazio has been published in
Musique Machine.

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May 2013:

Fazio - Interiors (fs17)
(24 bit digital and 16 bit digital albums)

Originally recorded during the long hot summer of 2010 and part of Music From The Strange Box, which was a small micro, private pressing of a 4 cd box set, only given to record labels for promotional use only. The first 50 copies of A Guide For Reason - Iconography will have a printed insert with a free download code for 16 bit FLAC (or MP3, AAC, etc) digital files for Interiors. Interiors is also available separately as either a 24 bit digital album or as a 16 bit digital album in the faith strange shop.

Interiors as well as A Guide For Reason - Iconography will be released in 24 bit and 16 bit digital file sets and both levels of fidelity sound wonderful, whichever one chooses, and we feel the deluxe edition of Iconography that include copies of Interiors will be a nice surprise for those who purchase Iconography and a special thank you for their interest. Interiors consists of 3 tracks and are guitar based whereas Iconography consists of 4 (lp side long tracks) and is predominately electronic based, making the deluxe version the equivalent to 3 albums for the price of one.

The deluxe version of Iconography with Interiors is now sold out. There is a very limited number of the regular version left. To purchase the regular version of Iconography, please see the faith strange shop page.

Iconography will also be available separately in 24 bit or 16 bit digital albums as of July. The CD version in gatefold sleeve is an extremely limited run and will not be reprinted once it is sold out.

We feel the FLAC formats have the closest fidelity to the original hi definition studio recordings and strongly recommend these over mp3s or Apple Lossless. iTunes can play FLAC files with an easy update if your installed version does not have it already. For further information about FLAC digital files please see:
160 kbps soundclips:
faith strange recordings on soundcloud


Mike Fazio's artistic journey continues, with this time the guitarist / sound sculptor making two albums available under different names. Consistent with the artist credit and album title, Interiors is an intimate portrait that reveals much of Fazio's personality, whereas the third A Guide For Reason release feels more like the sound of Fazio exploring different possibilities in his home laboratory. Consistent with the past output of the master craftsman, both are treats for audiophiles, having been recorded and mastered with immense care and attention to detail (note that the first fifty copies of Iconography include a free download code for Interiors).

Recorded during 2010 and originally included in a private pressing of the four-CD box set Music From The Strange Box, Interiors isn't fresh out of the box, so to speak, but it sounds no less fresh than had it been laid down yesterday. Armed with electric guitar, pedal steel, tapes, synthesizer, electronics, e-bow fretless bass, and 78-RPM records, Fazio presents three long-form settings of contrasting character and episodic design. A playful side surfaces in the opening moments of "The Start. The Shift. The Cleave." when a half-minute sample of early-20th-century jazz appears before the needle lifts and the channel switches to guitar-based soundscaping. Time slows as gently swelling six-string washes spread themselves across the open fields, their creep so subtle as to seem imperceptible and distortion subtly seeping into some of the overall soundfield. The addition of synthesizer to "The Slow Night. The Scented Room. The Outside In." gives the material a deep space dimension, while the clipped voice samples, evoking the cinematic character of a '50s detective mystery, alter the tone dramatically once again. The most striking thing about the piece, however, is the guitar playing, which offers a rare sampling of Fazio soloing. Eschewing effects, the bluesy playing feels extemporaneous, as if he's responding spontaneously to the previously constructed backdrop. A brief sample of "Mood Indigo" ends the track, after which epic swirls of haze and mist in "The Unanswered. The Lost Words. The End." plunge the listener even further into deep space.

Worked into the arrangement is the voice of a scholarly elder pontificating on entropy and death, with one phrase in particular--"It wears out"--repeated over and over. Fazio's self-described "collection of arcane scenarios" adds up to a striking and highly personalized portrait, each piece contributing something different to the listener's impression.

If Interiors' foundation is guitar more than anything else, Iconography shifts the focus to electronics and the simulation of explorative small group interaction. Fazio liberally stretches out on the recording's four tracks, which are perfectly tailored for a double-vinyl format with three in the seventeen-minute ballpark and the fourth twenty-two. In the opening "Hero," drums and bass lock into a fleet-footed krautrock groove that remains in place throughout, even if it does shape-shift and gradually merge with the mutating electronic elements within the piece. By contrast, "Heroin" eschews conventional bass-and-drum rhythms altogether, opting instead for a full-on foray into electronic experimentation--think seventeen minutes of trippy whirrs, warbles, and whooshes--before rhythm elements subtly sneak back in during the track's second half. Dub-associated sound design also works its way into the recording, specifically at the end of track two, and Fazio changes things up even more by powering the third track "Goddess" with a funk groove, of all things (when, that is, it's not being derailed by constant smatterings of electronic smears and ripples). Certainly the recording lives up to A Guide For Reason's billing as "abstract, exploratory, and left-field" music; explorative in the extreme, it suggests some degree of affinity with the works of early electronic pioneers who allowed their pursuits to take them into the boldest of realms (Iconography's final piece, "Godman," is especially indicative of the tendency, despite the ethereal setting's generally soothing tone). But, as interesting a listen as Iconography is and while it's no doubt as personal a project for its creator as Interiors, it's the latter that I'll return to more often, largely because it offers a more guitar-oriented portrait of Fazio's music-making.

August-September 2013

from Avant Music News:

A sprawling project slimmed down by an elegant solution. "Iconography" is the latest recording in an "ongoing abstract, exploratory and left-field" endeavour named A Guide for Reason, launched by American artist Mike Fazio in 2009 but rarely shared outside a small circle. This edition contains four lengthy tracks of amorphous, tentatively-searching electronica which, as the Faith Strange motto has it, "has no purpose other than it is", which one supposes is existentially reasonable enough. Broadly ranging and never in a hurry, more perplexing than the almost altruistic and thoroughly engrossing "Élégie" of last year, "Iconography" will eventually find pressure points in the imagination of the right listener. For this one, it was the lambent ambience of the final track, "Godman".

Accompanying the package is an insert upon which is printed the digital download code for the album "Interiors", taken from a limited edition, four-disc set called "Music From The Strange Box". It begins with the rude snatching of the tone arm off an amiable bit of antique jazz fluff, but in stark contrast to the tattered collages of "Iconography", these tracks are guitar-based and focused, rough and smooth drones, late-night introspective vamp, swarming electric haze. There is a thread of pop culture nostalgia running through the samples, including quotes from forties noir B-movie The Dark Corner and what sounds like a very depressed philosopher or biologist resigned to the fact that all life just wears out, ends in death.

Past project music can be accessed from the Faith Strange website and future editions are promised.

Stephen Fruitman


May 2012:

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ct-collective - One Minute

Released through the Chain Tape Collective, 'One Minute' is a new collection of one minute pieces without any other rules. Coordinated by Michael Peters, this collection brings together the following artists from throughout the world: Ben Powell, Anton Mobin, Sylvain Poitras, David Cooper Orton, Jeff Lomas, Jeff Duke, Jeffrey Latterly, Michael Peters, Matthias Ebbinghaus, Michael Frank, Nick Robinson, Josh Ronsen, Rinus van Alebeek, Georgina Brett, brekekekexkoaxkoax, Mike Fazio, Jeff Pavelec, Ronny Waernes, Rick Walker & Anders Östberg. The entire collection can be streamed or downloaded at:

ct-one minute

March 2012:

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Fazio -
All At Once The Remote Go Forth My Soul And My Seeking, The Unknowable Becomes Known

The second of two guitar works released March 2012, this one on
Quiet World out of the U.K., is now available. This new work consists of improvisations for guitar, recorded in one pass on the beautiful morning of August 21, 2011. A unique collection of sublime, mystical and thought provoking guitarsonics. The track 'Extending Wings' can be heard here.

"For the past few years I've been the lucky recipient of a series of stunning (both visually and aurally) albums from New York musician Mike Fazio. Working under an array of pseudonyms - 'Gods Of Electricity', 'orchestramaxfieldparrish', 'A Guide For Reason' - he has provided me with hours of immersive fun. Now simply using his surname, Mike has provided us with a stunning set of improvised solo guitar pieces that will bend your head in all mannner of interesting ways."

Quiet World label description

Album Of The Month (May 2012) -

Sounds Behind The Corner:

Fazio - “All At Once The Remote Go Forth My Soul And My Seeking, The Unknowable Becomes Known”
(Anno 2012 – Quiet World)

Avete mai salutato il Sole al tramonto, lasciando che i raggi caldi v’inondino il viso, vi scendano come fluidi calorosi dentro il corpo come serpenti nutrienti?

Provatelo e capirete che la musica di Fazio in questo album, in questo monicker (ricordiamo tale dorato plettro figlio della Grande Mela anche come A Guide For Reason oppure nella orchestramaxfieldparrish di cui è direttore e parterre!!).

ìNelle prime due tracce, “Extending Wings” e ”Apologia”, l’estasi è percepibile epidermicamente, una sensazione di stasi ebbra sotto la nostra stella regina dei cieli diurni, una cascata di micro-particelle che attraversano l’epidermide per fluire ovunque, dentro.

Due brani in downtempo come tutti i rimanenti, ma qui, nella loro flemmatica meraviglia, dronica ed armonica, un flusso radiale di calda energia sonora potrà ricordarvi davvero quel raggio del tramonto, un suono pieno, quasi un idillio fluttuante, due brani aperti su landscape senza frontiere, scritti per orizzonti vasti.

C’è molta sintonia in questo tra l’artista newyorkese e la label del Galles, ricordate Sujo ed il suo piccolo Cdr dal grande valore meditativo. La chitarra di Mike Fazio diviene protagonista con “The Pearl Of The Sea” tramite piccole plettrate delicatamente ‘wang’, creando un ambient/shoegaze bucolico, appeso ad immagini rilassanti, ammiccando alla pigra bellezza di chitarra dei Cocteau Twins di “Victorialand” o immersi con Harold Budd nel porgere omaggio alla Luna.

Nella seconda parte del brano inizia a crescere potente un versante totalmente shoegaze e quei raggi di sole precedenti divengono ora accecanti, nel successivo brano dal titolo lunghissimo (una rivincita per un album sempre silente), “Truly The Light Is Sweet, And A Pleasant Thing It Is For The Eyes To Behold The Sun”, dopo quel forte raggio precedente, torna la calma di un lungo tramonto vissuto tramite il suono, filtro perfetto per un brano ora quasi nebbioso, “Be Not Darkened, Nor The Clouds Return After The Rain” è quasi speculo notturno delle tracce precedenti, ancora fortemente estatica.

Ora avete tre opzioni: la prima prevede un saluto al Sole del tramonto, carico di energie che vi scalderanno il viso e l’anima, la seconda prevede l’ascolto di questo lavoro in sei tracce di Fazio, la terza è la conseguenza e vi vuole rilassati in entrambe le soluzioni, attraverso la musica, immersi nella Natura.

Nicola Tenani


March 2012


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The first of two guitar works for March 2012, Mike Fazio steps out of his orchestramaxfieldparrish nom de plume and delivers a work of riveting guitarsonics for the ages. Expanding on the concept of abstract guitar improvisation started on the Actualities Tapes series from the 1980's New York underground DIY scene, and later on widespread cd form with 2008's
The Silent Breath Of Emptiness, Élégie takes this concept one step further into three, long form, electric guitar compositions. Part of a planned series of abstract guitar recordings to be released in the future.

Strictly limited one time cd edition of 200 in a matte finished digipak, handmade booklet & vellum wrap.

Recorded and mastered in 96K / 24 bit audiophile audio.

This exquisite guitar work can be purchased in the
Faith Strange shop.
Soundbites can be heard on the

Fazio -


from Musique Machine:

Experimental, often ambient textural guitarist Mike Fazio has been active since the 80's, and recently grabbed my attention with a string of thoughtful, emotional and out of the box recordings under various aliases including orchestramaxfieldparrish, ÆRA and A Guide for Reason. His music is filled with glassy melodious tones of ambiguous origin: if they were truly all sourced from guitar, that is a feat indeed.

"Élégie", containing three lengthy free rhythm soundscapes, proved quickly to be a worthy installment in Mike Fazio's catalogue, containing generous portions of the contemplative melancholy and expansive soundspace I love him for.

The first piece shows Fazio's love of the sound of the human voice, and also the crackling ambiance that comes with sampling vintage film. I suspect Fazio and I may share a favorite in Coil's "The Angelic Conversation". This track has a similar use of Shakespearian snippets over a serene, hushed backdrop. The repetition of lines such as "Come to me in my dreams, and by day I shall be well again" and "Then part my hair and kiss my brow, and say 'My love, why suffrest thou?'" plunge my mind into intense introspection on the nature of romance, emotional dependency, sleep, and dreaming. Similar bits of dialogue were scattered all over the much darker "Interiors" album, which is comparable to this in many ways, but far less inviting, as its samples discussed decay and death.

The guitar sounds in the background are vaporous and fleeting, similar in watery tone to the playing of Robin Guthrie, but somehow more distant, and missing Guthrie's chordal grounding. Fazio whimsically makes whatever sound he feels at the moment, in a sonic sketch of the mind pleasantly wandering. The sound remains consonant and unintrusive, a glistening and transparent current.

The voices are mostly absent in the album's second half, leaving us to focus on the shimmering processed whalesong of Fazio's guitar. The sound meanders from place to place in thoughtless daydream, not as emotionally weighty or engaging, perhaps, as in the beginning, but much easier listening as a result. The sparkling treble-dominant textures nearly reach the pure 'Mount Olympus' feeling of Iasos' music. A couple tiny fragments of opera singing appear here and there, dissolving again into the blissful sea after a second or two; a wonderful effect.

Conclusively, "Élégie" is a wonderful example of why one should investigate Mike Fazio; what better place to start than here? It is ambient music with enough odd unexpected elements floating in its current to remain consistently surprising and intriguing, while lulling one into a deep trance. It has the dreamlike, nocturnal luminescence of my favorite Coil albums. Highly recommended.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Josh Landry

igloo magazine:
Elégie is music of comfort, succor for the weary and perhaps the lonely. It succeeds in being free and amorphous while instantly accessible and engrossing.
Fazio ‘Élégie’

Élégie is comprised of three, relatively long pieces, electric guitar textures bookending a piano piece, following a new “personal musical tangent” Mike Fazio intends on continuing to pursue on coming releases, one which seems to have been staked out as much the result of cogitation on music as on literature and philosophy, given the mentions of Kafka and Kierkegaard in the liner notes (enclosed in one of the season’s most lovely package designs). He has a long career experimenting rather extravagantly with the guitar behind him, but Élégie is a personal and intimate work and I think something of a celebration of the Italian heritage of the New York City native, nostalgic, romantic and fond.

“Il Sognatore È Ancora Addormentato” has a warm, hand-molded atmosphere. Fazio polishes notes hewn out of the most conventional of rock instruments, until they transform utterly, like ice into water. Couplets from Matthew Arnold’s “Longing” are recited, out of order and repetititvely, a fever dream beautifully couched in a phantasmagorical shimmer. With “Dopo Tre Mesi, Tutto è Lo Stesso, Eccetto Un Piccolo Regalo, Quando Arriva L’inverno, Più Disappunti È Dispiacere,” the piano is the narrative voice, clear and clarion, melody hinging on improvisation, with the quiet squall of guitar ambience gusting far in the background, lending the piece impressive depth.

Finally, “Mélodia Per Una Memoria (Faded Now And Half Remembered)” swells and crests in wave after wave, a series of calm troughs that peak with a flourish of exhaltation. Several of these crests toss up the voice of Enrico Caruso, the first international recording star. Deep beneath a sea of crafty turbulence in this melody for a memory, the guitar sounds more palpable than previously on the album, as if to remind you of its presence and centrality

Elégie is music of comfort, succor for the weary and perhaps the lonely. It succeeds in being free and amorphous while instantly accessible and engrossing.

Stephen Fruitman


Bad Alchemy:

FAZIO Élégie (Faith Strange Recording, fs15): Come to me in my dream, and then by day I shall be well again! Der New Yorker Mike Fazio, bekannt mit Orchestramaxfieldparish und A Guide For Reason, ist keiner, der vor Poesie und Pathos oder Namen wie Kafka und Kierkegaard zurückschreckt. Nicht umsonst hat er einst mit Copernicus gespielt. Bei 'Il Sognatore È Ancora Addormentato (Behold, This Dreamer Cometh)' bettet er sein eigenes Raunen und das Flüstern von Clementina Di Ciccolini auf psychopompe Gitarrenschwaden, die einen mit vielerlei Effekten träumerisch dahindriften lassren. Die geraunte Zeile stammt aus dem elegischen 'Longing' von Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) - hoffnungsloses Sehnen gestillt im Traum, nur im Traum. Bei 'Dopo Tre Mesi, Tutto è Lo Stesso, Eccetto Un Piccolo Regalo, Quando Arriva L'inverno, Più Disappunti È Dispiacere (Petey's Song)' grübelt Fazio am Piano, während sich hinter seinem Rücken und über seinem Kopf Dröhnwolken zusammenballen und vorüberziehen. 'Mélodia Per Una Memoria (Faded Now And Half Remembered)' ist mit seinem dröhnenden Gitarrensound und kaskadierenden perkussiven Kratzern wieder mit dem ersten Stück verwandt. Mit Fetzen von Caruso-Arien taucht man 100 Jahre in die Vergangenheit wie nach der versunkenen Titanic. Fazio nagt an seinen italienischen Wurzeln und sie scheinen traurig zu schmecken. [BA 73 rbd]

- Rigobert Dittmann


Mike Fazio would seem to have retired his orchestramaxfieldparrish persona, for the time being if not permanently, but admirers of the wondrous work he's issued under that name needn't worry: the two recent works released under the Fazio name could just as easily have appeared under the orchestramaxfieldparrish guise, the Quiet World set especially. A purely instrumental recording, All At Once the Remote Go Forth My Soul and My Seeking, The Unknowable Becomes Known, was “improvised and recorded on the beautiful morning of August 21, 2011, somewhere in New York City,” and presents Fazio's artistry at its purest: one man and one guitar, and all of its forty-one minutes recorded live. The range of sounds Fazio coaxes from that single instrument is remarkable, however. In the first of six parts, “Extending Wings,” thick washes hover ominously overhead, spreading out until they encompass one's full range of vision. Though his guitar sound might be described as metallic, it's never abrasive or alienating. Instead, there's a warmth to Fazio's tone that draws the listener in, something particularly evident during “The Pearl of the Sea,” where his crystalline picking reverberates against a cloud-like mass for a sublime eleven minutes, and “Truly the Light is Sweet, and a Pleasant Thing it is for the Eye to Behold the Sun,” where the impression created is of someone blinded by the sun's radiance. The album's closing pair, “Be Not Darkened, Nor the Clouds Return After the Rain” and “A Place for Giving,” offer a satisfying dénouement in offering a meditative and calm exeunt. Transporting, mystical, celestial, and majestic are some of the words that come to mind as one listens to the recording.

By comparison, Élégie is less strictly guitar-based but is no less satisfying for being so. In this case, Fazio adds piano, percussion, and pedal steel guitar to the recording's instrumental totality and incorporates speaking voices (his own and Clementina Di Ciccolini's) and even samples (from recordings made in 1912 and 1916) of tenor legend Caruso. The structure of the recording is arresting, too, in that two long-form meditations (each of them nineteen minutes) frame a central, piano-based setting. The opening piece, “Il Sognatore È Ancora Addormentato (Behold, This Dreamer Cometh),” establishes an immersive, dream-like ambiance from the outset, with billowing swathes of guitar haze accompanied by the hypnotic incantations of Fazio, his deep, crackle-drenched voice intoning “Come to me in my dreams and then by day I shall be well again,” and Di Ciccolini, who, like some fairy-tale apparition, coos “Run away with me, run away with me, my love, for you are my one true love / Let's go where we can be together and stay that way forever, forever…” The music unfolds unhurriedly, with Fazio using various effects to continually modify the instrumental core throughout the alternations between instrumental and voice sequences. The middle piece, “Dopo Tre Mesi, Tutto è Lo Stesso, Eccetto Un Piccolo Regalo, Quando Arriva L'inverno, Più Disappunti È Dispiacere (Petey's Song),” is, as mentioned, primarily a piano meditation, though its ruminative explorations are accompanied by ambient-drone atmospherics, presumably guitar- and effects-generated. “Mélodia Per Una Memoria (Faded Now and Half Remembered)” returns us to the sound-world of the opening piece but this time with Caruso's full-throated vocalizing in place of the earlier voiceovers. Like the album as a whole, it's mesmerizing stuff, to be sure, and the listener is swept away by the material, especially when heard at a high volume. Both recordings invite the listener into Fazio's sound-world, and one comes away from them marveling once again at how seamlessly the artistry of certain creators, Fazio among them, flows directly out of them.
May 2012

a closer listen:

The recorded output of Mike Fazio (orchestramaxfieldparrish) has often been called “difficult music”, but Élégie is surprisingly accessible – at least when compared to A Guide For Reason I-VI, the first volume of the
Music From The Strange Box series. The reason is fairly obvious: Élégie is primarily an album of electric guitar, holding court with poetry, opera and piano. It seems like a logical progression from “One Of These Is True. This Is True”, the closing selection on A Guide For Reason VII-VIII. The big difference: this time there’s a hook.

The poetry of Matthew Arnold is a unique entry point for a long ambient guitar piece; on the opening track, his words are read with differing inflections over a bed of crackle and rust: “Come to me in my dreams, and then by day I shall be well again”, counter-balanced by the longings of a woman who wants to dwell with him forever. There’s only so many times one can hear this exchange, haunted by rustlings, backward masking and church bells, before it starts to get a little creepy: a mutual obsession that may not end well. The word “forever” begins to sound vampiric, at the very least a more intellectual counterpart to “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” (“Do you love me? Will you love me forever?”). As the male voice grows more frantic, pleading sets in. At what point does romance turn a bitter corner? Where is the line between a desirable flirtation and an unwanted approach? The dark timbres and inflections cause the listener to speculate, and perhaps even to fear.

After such a start, the opening piano notes of the second track come as a relief: there’s enough room between the blinds for a little light to shine. While the ear is drawn more to the guitar, the ivories add a softening touch: at times morose, but at times playful, especially at the center, in which it is allowed to dance alone. This piece was initially intended to appear on a different release, but it fits in well here, like a referee holding back two opponents between the bells. In the other corner paces the tenor Caruso, whose vocals were recorded a century ago but still seem sublime.

The effect of hearing antique sources in modern settings is pleasingly disorienting; whether intentional or not, Fazio seems to be questioning the idea of timelessness. Removed from their original contexts, why does one conceit continue to come across as authentic while the other inspires pause? Is more accurate emotion found in words or intonation? Few answers are available on Élégie; the smiling man on the cover seems to know the secret, but he’s not sharing. Perhaps it’s better not to know the answers; this way, the questions retain their intrigue. (Richard Allen)

Vital Weekly:

FAZIO – ELEGIE (CD by Faith Strange)

A Guide For Reason is Mike Fazio and in Vital Weekly 793 I reviewed some of his material which he recorded in 2009. For reasons I am not entirely sure of, this new release is under the name of Fazio, but if I understand well, it was also recorded in 2009. The first and the third piece are just over nineteen minutes and originally intended to be an LP release, but with the second piece added, recorded a bit later, it's now on CD. One reason for using another name is that the music sounds a bit different than on ‘I-VI’ and ’VII-VIII’. Here we have no computer reworking of diesel engines, but I assume the use of guitars, lots of effects, maybe a bit of sound scapes and a repeating voice every now and then, reciting a text, which has a somewhat claustrophobic feeling – and that’s just the opening track. Just like the music actually. Its all quite doom and glum here. As I look out of the window and see the beautiful sunny, spring day, this music doesn’t seem to be fitting to the occasion such a nice day. More music for dramatic occasions, grey winter day.
‘Dopo Tre Mesi, Tutto È Lo Stesso, Eccetto Un Piccolo Regalo, Quando Arriva L’inverno, Più Disappunti È Dispiacere (Petey’s Song)’  is the lengthy title of the second piece and works around a piano and treatments, and has a likewise dark character. In the third track he returns to what he set out in the opening piece: more guitars, bit of percussion with lots of echo, bouncing in and out of the mix, but less any voice material. Good solid dark, atmospheric, drone like music, executed with great care. Different than A Guide For Reason, but equally fascinating. (FdW)


Released January 2009 is ct-generative. The 22 tracks of this project are not meant to be finished pieces, but rather sources for two generative music pieces. For the double CD version, Fabio Anile merged the source tracks into two generative mixes ("Under The Bridge" with 40 tracks, and "Dreaming of dust and water" with 34 tracks). The CDs can be played back in shuffle mode.
On his website, Fabio has provided a
generative room
 that contains players for each source track. You can start and stop the different players, getting new pieces of music every time. The possible combinations are infinite.


Released August 2008 is ct-zodiac. a CD of pieces representing, in any way possible, the signs of the zodiac, plus a bonus track.
Included in this compilation are works by norelpref, David Cooper Orton, Des Slow And The Stop Pills, Anders Östberg, Jeff Lomas, Sebastian Jantz, Rinus Van Alebeek, Subscape Annex, Jeffrey Letterly, Nick Robinson, Dwoogie, Mike Fazio & Ronny Waernes.
The entire album including artwork can be downloaded or streamed at:


Released through CT-Collective.com in 2007 is the dvd production Calgari: An Exquisite Corpse. Eleven composers collaborated in Exquisite Corpse fashion to produce two brand new soundtracks for the German Expressionist classic silent film The Cabinet Of Dr. Calgari.

Included in this compilation are works by Fastus, Mike Fazio, John Auker, Mank, Heavyconfetti, Robert Switzer, David Cooper Orton, Roger Harmar, Tim Nelson, David Page Coffin and Steve Burnett.

The entire video including artwork can be downloaded or streamed at:

Painstakingly coordinated by Fabio Anile is CT - Great Speeches - released 2007. The aim of this project was to compose music to "furnish" a famous speech. A "great speech" is a speech that has a relevant historical, religious, political, or social content. The goal is to realize a music encyclopedia of some important events. Included is an exclusive M. Fazio guitar composition entitled November 18, 1978, in remembrance of the Jonestown cult suicides, incorporating the speech from Jim Jones to his disciples in the last minutes of their lives.

Included in this collection are works by Nick Robinson, Giuseppe Farinella, Michael Frank, Fabio Anile, Mike Fazio, Michael Peters, Milco Montagna, Anders Östberg and Norelpref.
The entire album including artwork can be downloaded or streamed at:
ct-great speeches


This is a concept album; a collection of different artists furnishing music to accompany famous orations. I liked it so much that it took me a long time to write a review, I've been listening to it all week.

Firstly, there's no question this is full of substance. Presidents, Prime Ministers, despots, visionaries, leaders of change and even cult figures all get their turn. The music varies from non-rhythmic soundscapes, to hip-hop, to pure sonic experimentation, definitely never overtaking the text but never sitting meekly in the background, either.

First is Nick Robinson, accompanying Winston Churchill. The repeating and the vocal treatments point out the musical value in speech, the rhythms and pitches suddenly making sense when presented in a context. Statements like "we shall go on to the end" take on an even more immense gravity when isolated and repeated. The discordant pitches that emerge towards the end belie the horror that awaited many of those who heard these words in their original time. A masterful start.

Next is Giuseppe Farinella, with Benito Mussolini (!). The cheers that follow the statements are pretty creepy, then nicely become part of the gentle tonal bed. When an overdriven, aching guitar solo emerges through the shouts, it sounds like a wordless voice of reason above the din. The baby cries at the end are an unexpected surprise and a great addition. It would be interesting to have heard even more of the rhythmic "Muss-o-lin-i" chants.

Then, a touch of humor from Michael Moore over a stark hip-hop background from Michael Frank, which fits perfectly with the melodramatic declarations. I love the guitar commenting in between his phrases, sometimes hinting at the dark reality behind the funny statements, sometimes chuckling along. (However, I'm pretty sure the powerful voice is Lewis Black reading Moore's text; if I'm correct, it should be noted as so).

Event organizer Fabio Anile is next, providing a beautiful background for Mahatma Gandhi. His accompaniment adds strength to Gandhi's voice which on its own is almost humorously thin, and sometimes a butt of jokes. The distant, minimal drums are wonderful. Really matches the title, "Mysterious Power".

Mike Fazio takes on the unenviable task of dueting with Reverend Jim Jones. The atmospheric, watery background is a great complement, and the well-timed chords, as well as the spacious use of the voice, are very effective. It's quietly terrifying, especially the cries. "If you'll be quiet... if you'll be quiet...". Whew. It's brave to tackle this one.

Back to another great figure, with JFK (and then NASA ground control and astronauts) backed up by Michael Peters. Some crazy vocal treatments here, probably the most unusual use of the voices as raw material. Hearing a spoken word seemingly turn into the sound of a liftoff is astonishing...! Having heard that, it may be that much of the music comes from the voice, I can't really say but it's a bold and otherworldly piece.

Milco Montagna provides a highly "composed" musical passage, with two accounts of the Challenger tragedy superimposed on each channel. Instead of necessarily supporting Reagan's attempt to inspire and encourage the nation with an uplifting soundtrack, the music itself mourns, gravitating more towards underscoring the dry radio commentary with a reading of the true drama. The radio voice covers the event from liftoff to explosion, beginning with the standard liftoff announcements. But then there's a musical pause and strange thump partway through, after which the voices begin to describe the problem - "Obviously a major malfunction. We have no downlink...", and finally, calmly, "The vehicle has exploded". Very moving.

Anders Östberg generates a screaming wash of what seems to be white noise, a real wake-up call, which soon reveals its tonal qualities before subsiding to allow Dr. Albert Hofmann to espouse. The music then returns, bookending the speech, its impossibly high, overtoned flood of sound like a chemical rushing through the cerebral cortex.

Norel Pref then gives us the only multi-voiced piece, a free-wheeling intermixing of presidential quotes, over a flowing, portentous rhythmic background with chordal stabs that sometimes seem to be triggered by the voices themselves, a great effect I'd have liked to hear even more of. It's a rich blend of hilarity and deep thoughts, rather broad in its focus but fascinating.

Anile then returns again, delicately ushering in possibly the most powerful text, taken from Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech (interestingly avoiding the most commonly-heard phrases). It's a great touch to have a long introduction to establish the music and to insert long spaces between statements. The balance of voice to music is excellent, the speech becomes part of the music, as opposed to a film documentary soundtrack that would place the music clearly in second place. A gorgeous piece that works wonderfully with the vocal.

The only suggestions I'd make for improving this concept in the future is that on some tracks, the noise between words, combined with quick cut-offs after a phrase, can be distracting when listening closely. If there is tape hiss from an old recording, it would probably help consistency to find a way to include and integrate it over the whole piece. Also, the inclusion of applause sometimes works, becoming part of the music, and other times seems like an intrusion.

But these are minor quibbles. This is a fully-realized, ingenious project. Kudos to all. Best of all, it may be downloaded free in its entirely.
Daryl Shawn