GRIDFAILURE & MEGALOPHOBE: The Sleeping Shaman Premieres “Burn Pits” Video; Guest-Filled Third Collaborative Album, Harbinger Winds, Nears September Release Through Nefarious Industries

photos by David Brenner

As New York-based experimentalists GRIDFAILURE and MEGALOPHOBE prepare to release their third joint collaborative album, Harbinger Winds, through Nefarious Industries in early September, The Sleeping Shaman is today hosting an exclusive premiere of the record’s second single, with a video for the song “Burn Pits.”

Engineered, recorded, and mixed by GRIDFAILURE’s David Brenner at The Compound in Rockland County and MEGALOPHOBE’s Benjamin Levitt at Forked Audio in Brooklyn, the two contribute a wide array of vocals, guitars and basses, keys and synth, drums and percussion, accordion, theremin, cello, harmonica, and more, electronics/effects, tape manipulation, nature recordings, and more. The cover art, photography, and videos for Harbinger Winds were created by Brenner, with additional photos and video by Levitt, the album then mastered by Dan Emery at Black Matter Mastering (Kool Keith, Lost Dog Street Band, Thetan).

Harbinger Winds also features wide array of guest contributors helping shape this album’s post/avant lo-fi jazz direction, including platinum session musician/performer Mac Gollehon (Duran Duran, Chaka Khan, Buddy Rich, David Bowie, Blondie, Onyx, more), Leila Abdul-Rauf (Vastum, Ionophore), Sally Gates (Titan To Tachyons, ex-Orbweaver), Christian Molenaar (Those Darn Gnomes), Morgan Evans (Walking Bombs), Matt Bacon, Rosa Henriquez, Rob Levitt, and Denise Fillion. The fourteen-minute closing title track sees all nine guest collaborators converging with Brenner and Levitt.

With the “Burn Pits” video premiere, Brenner reveals, “On this track, Ben plays accordion and cello, his brother Rob provides the guitar solo, and I’ve provided bass, percussion, harmonica, as well as the vocals and samples of incineration, my lyrics including, Smoldering hillsides, how lovely a hue. Seductive smoke collides with new winds which blew. Reminiscent of what we once breathed. It’s fading, isn’t it? A brief reprieve. Returning our gaze back to the pits, our remaining days shall all end like this. After we tire from smoldering away, walk into the pyre, but the burn pits will stay. The Sixth Mass-Extinction is undeniably underway, and those selfish and blind humans who still reject the reality of this ongoing global climate crisis should be the first to be cast into the Burn Pits.”

Levitt adds, “We tried to keep a sparse and open kind of vibe through this one, which isn’t easy with the number of elements we have in the mix. This track has some of the starkest contrast between the harshness of the vocals, here all Dave, and layers of mostly acoustic instruments. My accordion is processed on this, but kept lush, approaching something like an organ or a synth. With Dave’s harmonica floating through there and Rob’s burst of guitar, there’s almost a campfire feel to it, but with enough tension to take us to a place where we feel it isn’t a bonfire burning, it’s everything.”

The Sleeping Shaman writes, “Is this a collaboration made in heaven or hell? A question you should consider as once again Messrs Brenner and Levitt, along with a plethora of guest musicians, have teamed up to bring us their latest foray into the world of haunting soundscapes and dark ambience with the new long-player Harbinger Winds…”

Watch GRIDFAILURE & MEGALOPHOBE’s “Burn Pits” video first courtesy of The Sleeping Shaman now at THIS LOCATION.

Harbinger Winds will see release September 9th through all digital providers and as a limited Opaque Red cassette. Find preorder/merch options at Nefarious Industries where the video for the title track is also playing HERE.

Watch for additional videos from Harbinger Winds to be issued over the weeks ahead.

GRIDFAILURE has announced its first show since March of 2020, days before NYC lockdowns were put into place, confirming a gig with Darsombra in Brooklyn on September 7th. Watch for additional live news to post shortly.

9/07/2022 Mama Tried – Brooklyn, NY w/ Darsombra, Breeeze

Shortly after both acts formed in 2016, GRIDFAILURE’s David Brenner and MEGALOPHOBE’s Benjamin Levitt began recording together and became incredibly close-knit, contributing to each other’s albums, Levitt being a live member of GRIDFAILURE, Brenner creating videos for MEGALOPHOBE, and so on, and they issued their first collaborative album, Dendritic, in April of 2017. By the time Dendritic saw release, they had already amassed additional material, and ideas began flowing, expanding upon some of the more ambient and jazz elements of Dendritic. The Harbinger Winds concept was born, and additional sessions immediately took place, yet, during the process, some of the material became more volatile and spastic, than the concept they’d envisioned: Harbinger Winds was put on hold and the two created the schizophrenic Tasukete, releasing the album through Nefarious Industries in October of 2018. Returning to the Harbinger Winds material, the album was finally completed in February of 2022, concluding nearly five years of work.