James Schidlowsky
(Montréal, Canada)

contact: email

also see:

Muzik Aktiv, James' main base and faux label
Artist page on No Type
Artist page on actuellecd
James' photo exhibit

BricoLodge Projects:    
brico008: Jammage audio
brico020: Wood and Wires audio

James Schidlowsky started playing guitar in his teens, battering away at his lovely 6-string acoustic steel-string guitar in what eventually mutated into a mixture of f**ked up blues, folk, rock and roll, jazz, funk and general sloppiness. 20 years later, still playing in his livingroom for an audience of nobody, his technique was further refined using bizarre tunings, messed up sounds and further sloppiness. This he called "my style", which he used to excess on long improvisations that ran the gamut of all manner of everything. Then suddenly in late 1998, during a period of acute thurstonitus, he decided to kill his idols and began messing around with his cheap electric guitar with borrowed effects and AM radio interferences.

Discovering this ubiquitous and free source of mind-numbing sound, the abstract AM radio, drone, he spent a good deal of time creating lo-fi, monolithic pieces, scavenging radios from the dumpster. This expanded to the use of more (borrowed) effects, feedback, contact microphones, cassette tape players, and all manner of wires and adaptors connecting anything that could be connected together in order to investigate what sounds could be produced. Parallel to this noise-making was some rudimentary prepared guitar work, mainly in the form of mallet guitar. First concerts involved the duo The Live Wires, providing background noise for spoken-word man Matt Bain.

2000 : Some primitive solo shows, then the fortuitous and fruitful meeting up with the No Type crew, when the emphasis switched to prepared guitar and free jazz/noise, playing with Philémon & A_Dontigny as they worked for the great but unfornutately unknown composer, Yves Hudon. During these adventures, Schidlowsky began to play live and work with a great many people, in various projects, such as QuiJoueQuoi? with Magali Babin, and various noise projects with A_Dontigny (Micro désastre) and Érick D'Orion (Trio Saccacomie), and outdoor jams with Monstre and JRobot.

2001 involved more live events with different people like Camp, Sam Shalabi, John Heward, Alexandre St-Onge, Guillaume Théroux Rancourt. Much work with abstract radio sounds, culminating in a week-long residence at the Avatar studios in Quebec City, producing the radio-only piece "Radios par Radio" for the Excavation Sonore radio show.

2002 saw James refining his prepared guitar technique, developping a more abstract and quieter sound, returning to his beloved mind-numbing drones and a more meditative state, often working in a nameless duo with bass-trombonist Jacques Gravel, and another nameless duo with experimental singer Zazalie Z..

In early 2003, inspired by Klaxon Gueule's Grain album, James developped a more "electronic" technique of prepared guitar, incorporating the abstract droney stuff with jagged and bizarre sounds, due to the addition of a contact mic and mixer. This was showcased at the Machines08 event, and documented on the Wood & Wires CDR. Meeting up with the natacha's recordings and Rivers and Mountains collectives kept him going, playing various instruments in several crazy hippie/disco type events. Toward the end of the year, Schidlowsky dropped out of the scene, terminating most projects, giving up prepared guitar and returning to his roots of the acoustic guitar (now a lovely 12-string).

2004... Maintaining a low profile, James is slowly getting back to working on the pile of solo projects that were on hold. As for collaborations, only two remain. Playing prepared zither, the bizarre psychedelic acoustic-electronic duo with Alexandre St-Onge formed in 2003 continues, expanding into further strangeness with more people. Another duo started in 2003 with Alexis Bellavance (of the périphériques collective) continues to examine the little-heard sounds in the context of conceptual sound investigations.

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