Pay Dirt
Error Theft Disco (C45)
Blue Screen 2020

Side A:
1. Ala Modem in Modernity
2. Brutal Hygiene
3. Harrier Spray

Side B:
1. Mouthsh

Electronics/Sounds: Victoria Shen and Bryan Day
Recorded in Boston and San Francisco, Summer 2020.


(Lost In A Sea Of Sound) The margins of sonic safety have been shredded. Sound creators and manipulators under the project Pay Dirt stand on the far side of an aural density. With gleaming hand made scythes, Victoria Shen and Bryan Day have collected a windrow of noise from fields of infinite possibilities. Raw and unprocessed, Error Theft Disco has been bundled and compositions sent out to connoisseurs, scholars and specialists for analysis. The informal results being a microwave burst of tumultuous radioactive clarity. The how and why can not be explained, but the message is clear, this is progress. Drifting on the edge of the galactic barrier (the negative energy field from Star Trek), Error Theft Disco seems to be a collection of chaotic creativity. Massed together, these sounds form an almost impenetrable partition for listeners to cross and explore. Like many en devours, patience is the asset needed to find a path into the noise field. With this strength, the sounds become individualized, details surface and become uniquely special. The formidable forty minutes of Error Theft Disco becomes a journey of many wonders. The fluidity and congruence of the sounds in whole will be topics for pupils in creative noise programs of future generations. Released on the new label Bluescreen from Shanghai, China. The label has releases by Globe Discount Center + Das Torpedoes, Yan Jun and Pay Dirt so far. Error Theft Disco is in an edition of fifty cassettes. Copies are currently available. - Robot Rattle

(Disaster Amnesiac) Incomiiiiiiing!!!!! It's always nice to get a new package of sounds from Public Eyesore/eh? Records, and recently Disaster Amnesiac opened the mail box to a thick package of goodies from that fine label. Three brand new cassettes, shrink wrapped and everything, ready to be unsealed and dug into. I'll be doing separate posts on each of them, starting with Pay Dirt's Error Theft Disco. This duo, made up of Victoria Shen and Bryan Day, both of whom are inventors of instruments, was recorded in summer of 2020. As Disaster Amnesiac has listened, I've definitely wondered if these were done in personal proximity or through file sharing. No information as to this aspect is given, and I'm curious because the two get a very "live" sound with their various rigs. This sound is one that ranges from large scale junkyard machine scraping action to smaller scale disembodied voices that chitter and then flutter away. Big clangs alternate with pregnant pauses and outright silence. Whooshing, grinding sounds bubble up from the ether. Muzzy feedback clashes with bright bleeps. Error Theft Disco's overall feel has me thinking about older sounds from what was called Industrial Music; jeez, there are so many sub-genres of it now, but Pay Dirt seem to hearken back to the roots of it, the sounds of mad scientist engineers cobbling together wonderful machines in quiet isolation, the kind of machines that make a lotta noise. Multiple listens have revealed layers of sounds and the interactions between Shen and Day. I'd advise that one take the time to do them, as for me, the more I've listened, the deeper these layers go and the more sound surprises emerge from their mixing. It goes without saying that Disaster Amnesiac really wishes that I could see and hear Pay Dirt and their self-made machines in a live setting, as I've felt that that would reveal a lot about the auditory clues thrown around throughout Error Theft Disco and its four tracks. Until such a time, it's fun to puzzle at the sounds of their duo action via this cassette. - Mark Pino

(Brainwashed) A duo between California artists Victoria Shen and Bryan Day (by way of Nebraska), Error Theft Disco is noise in its purist sense. A disorienting blend of electronics, distortion, and found sounds that never settles down from the first few seconds, the constant flow gives the tape a captivating sense of inertia that functions well in the loud harsh noise vein as well as it does the nuanced, complex sound art one.This is one of those tapes where there is no sense in trying to deconstruct instrumentation or sound design techniques, because there is simply too much going on. Which is made all the more difficult given that both Shen and Day build many of their own instruments as well. Right from the squeaky, waxy noises that begin “Ala Modem in Modernity” the duo throw a bit of everything out there. Crunchy, almost rhythms collide with shrill outbursts, and modular electronics all propel the piece along. This kinematic approach barrels into "Brutal Hygene," which is all chirpy sounds, found voices, and heavy bass thumps. The third piece on the first side, "Harrier Spray," is just as active, but does feature the duo allowing some of the passages to breath a bit. Comparably more loop-ish in nature, there is a somewhat more noteworthy sense of structure amidst the distorted pulsations. "Mouthsh" covers the entire second half of the tape, and also features a bit more restraint from the two. There are still large amounts of subsonic bass and shrill electronic beeps and tones, but overall there is a slower creep that nudges along the overdriven electronics. There are a healthy proportion of extreme frequencies to be found, but never does it feel oppressive or painful. Pay Dirt’s Error Theft Disco is a noise tape in its most distilled form. There is little that is identifiable and there does not seem to be any specific theme running through the four pieces. However, a great noise tape never needs any of these things, and that is certainly the case here. It is a hyperactive burst that never relents, and with so much activity happening from second to second, the depth is just as engaging as the chaos. - Creaig Dunton

(Bad Alchemy) Wie kommt Bryan Day, der Macher von eh? und Public Eyesore, auf ein Label in Shanghai? Nun, erstens liegt der Ferne Osten von der East Bay aus nicht so fern, und zweitens liegt Charles LaReau aka Das Torpedoes, Days alter Kumpel in Naturaliste (und eigentlich als Leser von Miroslav Krleza, Musil und Der­rida ein Kapitel für sich), dort vor Anker und bringt Kassetten auf Foreign Lands und Blue Screen heraus. Days Partnerin dabei ist die in Massachusetts und San Francisco mit Analog Modular Synthies, Amplified Objects & Self-Built Electronics aktive Victoria Shen, die 2020 mit "Hair Birth" ihr Solodebut vorlegte. Ihr Clou ist es, statt cool an Knöpfchen zu drehen, sich als weißblondes Riot Grrrl in Hotpants rein­zuknien in ihre Gerätschaften, sich in ihre Kabel zu verstricken und sogar zu ver­beißen und damit rumzutoben für eine Harshness und physische Verve im asia­tischen Stil. Mit Day inszeniert sie knur­schige Konvulsionen von granular bro­delnden Noisepartikeln, durchsirrt und durchschrillt von ätzendem Alienblut, ge­nüsslich zwitschernd, rau scharrend, im­pulsiv pulsend. Als synapsenschrubbende, rachenputzerische, darmspülende 'Brutal Hygiene', grobkörnig und vibratorisch, mit dreckigem Grinsen der verweichlichten Postmoderne verordnet als Radikalkur, wenn nicht sadistisch, dann doch sarkas­tisch. Sprachfitzel werden im Soundwolf geschreddert, rhythmische Pixel zerpicken die schnarrend versprühte Kakophonie. Wie einst die Wale in den schwimmenden Schlachthäusern werden hier erlegte Kaijū zu Tran und Noise-Gulasch verarbeitet. Ähnlich wird beim die B-Seite füllenden 'Mouthsh' Medienton verhackstückt und zersuppt, mit einer twangenden Gitarre ge­würzt, mit knacksendem Vinyl, sprudeln­dem Gezwitscher, nadeligen Fluktuationen und weiteren zerschrillten Stimmen ver­rührt. Mir kommen Eric Lundes "Ghost by Mouth" und Le Scrambled Debutante in den Sinn. Aber so wie Evicshen zwischen Dreckspatz, Domina, Elektrolurch und Geek zwittert sonst niemand. - Rigo Dittmann

(Wire) First release by a duo comprised of Victoria Shen and Bryan Day. Both have been active in the Bay Area free noise scene, but Shen is based in New England these days, so I’m guessing this collaboration may have been remote. They both work abusive ends of the sonic palette, using homemade and/or altered electronics with occasional flashes of other sound sources. The results are a mix of harshly surfaced noise events, interlaced with some Los Angeles Free Music Society-style screwballism. This keeps the results from having the overbearing meat presence such work can often display. - Byron Coley

(Vital Weekly)  Noise music is on the cassette by Pay Dirt, a duo of Bryan Day and Victoria Shen. The latter is from San Francisco and works with analogue modular synthesizers, amplified objects and invented instruments and Day is the man behind Eh? Records and well-known for his instrument building out of junk material. Their noise is one of distortion, of chaos and destruction but it is not the sort of noise that stays on end in the same place. Things scratch and tick, burst and crack all the time, and I was reminded me of a nervous shaking Merzbow with a lot of objects, say towards the end of the '80s. I don't think I heard much other work by Victoria Shen, but I did from Day and this is certainly something different for him. At least, I don't recall much noise from him and as such, this is a fine break from the more carefully planned music I know him for. It's four tracks, forty minutes in total and quite a beast. What can I say? Play it as loud as you can. - Frans de Waard

(Decaycast) Pay Dirt “Error Theft Disco” is a collaboration between Victoria Shen and Bryan Day released on Shanghai based imprint Bluescreen. The sounds on “Error Theft Disco” escape rigid classification by all traditional methods. These are new and futuristic sounds stemming from what has obviously manifested as a highly effective collaborative process between these two prolific and renowned solo artists exploring a wide range within harsh / noise and experimental compositions. The pieces on “Error Theft Disco” hold a unique tension and create plenty of space for the listener to enter, but enter at their own risk, as their. sounds move and shake like a gauntlet made of swords the listener must navigate to a safe completion. Pregnant pauses of 60hz hum give way to explosions of feedback and chaos, but there’s also smaller and more delicate sounds to boot as well. - Michael Dadonna

(Raised by Cassettes) There is a constant hum when this cassette begins- like a motor. It has some windy static feeling going on with it, but then it increases, louder and louder until it's just full blown sharpness and the levels of the distortion plus sharpness are enough to make someone upset when they are not expecting it. It calms down a little bit but still feels like we're just fumbling through radio stations, trying to find one playing our song. As the electronics come through again, it sounds like the beeping is trying to say "Wall-E" but cannot. It's a little sad. Sharp frequencies and distorted blasts have this one not being for the faint of heart. A quieter rattling now, like we're circling the drain, and then as everything seemingly fades down you can still hear the engine drone. The way the next set of tones come through distorted makes me feel like we're listening to some sort of glitching electronics, possibly a vacuum cleaner sucking up a robot and, hey, that might be the key to us surviving the "Terminator" when the time comes. It definitely sounds as if we're going around a racetrack now at top speeds as the beeps and bloops come into the field. Beeping and screeching, this one gets tired now, as if the car is running out of gas. Bass distorted beats bring in the songs of birds. An acoustic drum makes way for an audio sample now, as you can hear someone speaking. Twists and turns as the birds fly. Loud sharpness and it feels as if that driving drone from earlier is not hitting an error. As it gets quiet, it bursts right back into loud sharpness and so at times you'll feel like you're getting comfortable and relaxing, but then are almost instantly ripped right out of that lull and made to be awake and at full attention. Even as it calms near the end you can still hear the harshness trying to come through, never really letting you sleep. What I think of as the bird sounds are growing increasingly loud now and have this sort of abrasive way about them where they've somehow managed to become harsh. I'm not sure how birds sound when they're aggressive but this feels like that. "The Birds" is one of my favorite movies but I don't remember anything quite like this. I feel like if you played this for birds they would be outraged and I just would not recommend that. As it dips down into a slight sense of quiet, it comes right back up, louder and with all of the feelings of a broken pinball machine. The screeches and squeals return as this one is just right back to being harsh on the ears. A deep bass also exists behind this all, like "Jaws". A quieter static starts off the flip side. We have what sounds like a steady engine behind this one as well, as it just feels like we're about to blast off into space. The frequencies twist and turn, sharper and sharper, and then audio clips are brought in to where sometimes you can hear words but they don't always seem to form sentences and seem more pieced together like patchwork. The banging of a drum now. I feel like I heard the audio clip say "finch" and "wings" and so I do believe this audio clip is about birds. As it repeats it might be saying "calming bird" or "humming bird" but I am not sure. There is a beeping glitch now, as if a game of Pong has gone wrong. Still some electronics coming through sharply, a soft drum and whistle. It sounds as if a guitar is being softly strum now as insects fly around it. Back and forth notes, this could be a country song where someone uses a washboard and a bucket. Static of the bugs increases louder and louder as the picking of strings becomes less heard. This feels more like the insects are taking over than the birds but imagine both birds and bugs (which can fly) taking over human life and that might be something we should be concerned about one day. The beeps of a pinball game with choppy wind behind it. This feels like it could break out into an electronic song like The Prodigy at any moment now. Audio clips return as do some more sharp cuts. It's the bouncing of a ball and feeling like everything around you is falling to pieces. Echoing through that trippy outerspace it feels as if we're trying to speak but this one is just lost in the void. A strumming or perhaps banging of a drum as the words return behind all of this electronic scrambles. A steady beat like a bouncing ball. Distorted whooshes. There is a video game way about this now, but something from an arcade. The engine creates a rapid fire sound as the frequency changes. Words come through like a distorted informational video. We're stuck in a bit of a loop here and I think it's saying "four tones" before we get into this distorted drive which seems to wipe us off the map. It feels as if we're taking turns between those distorted landmines and frequency lasers. Words still try to form and I feel like we're in a pinball game which is erroring right before we have all the distortion and electronics of a modem. I'm still not certain what the words are trying to tell us, but with some blasts we reach the end and as much as I hope that the humans have survived I'm even more concerned about the birds. This just felt like a war on flight. - Joshua Macala