|The core of Atoms and Void is formed in the friendship and songwriting partnership of Arlie Carstens and Eric Fisher. The duo’s origins can be traced back to the early 90’s, when guitarist and lyricist Arlie Carstens first heard Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock. “Ever since first hearing those albums I’ve wanted to do a band like this, something that has a distinct sound and vision but that is not the work of a specific group of musicians; something that’s not a ‘band’ necessarily,” Carstens stated in an interview in 2005.
With that idea in mind, Carstens (formerly of Seattle post-punk band Juno) asked longtime friend and audio engineer Eric Fisher to join as his songwriting and production partner. Whenever time allowed, the two began recording songs onto 4-tracks, answering machines, micro-cassette recorders, laptops and iPhones. They recorded in cramped apartments, empty houses and tiny rehearsal spaces in Los Angeles. They recorded in real and make believe studios in Seattle, Shoreline, Sunland, Santa Monica, Studio City, Echo Park, Angelino Heights, Highland Park and downtown Los Angeles. They recorded in Portland, San Francisco, Boston, Austin, Mexico City and New York…for years.
The resulting scope of their debut album And Nothing Else is much bigger than the work of just two musicians. The cast of additional instrumentalists and audio engineers that helped to bring their compositions to life includes (but is not limited to): Nate Mendel (Sunny Day Real Estate, Foo Fighters, Juno, Lieutenant), Gabe Carter (Juno), Jay Clarke (Pretty Girls Make Graves, Jaguar Love), Cory Murchy (Minus the Bear), Morgan Henderson (Blood Brothers, Fleet Foxes, Cave Singers), Rosie Thomas (Sufjan Stevens), Eric Akre (Treepeople, Built To Spill, Juno), Joel Cuplin (Constant Lovers, Triumph of Lethargy), Josh Myers (The Fire Theft, Jeremy Enigk, Rosie Thomas), Drew O’Doherty (Ted Leo & the Pharmacists), Griffin Rodriguez (Icy Demons, Need New Body), Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Big Business, Lieutenant), Kory Kruckenberg (J. Tillman, The Revenant), Jenna Conrad (Avians Alight, Damien Jurado), and Lena Simon (Pollens, La Luz, Kairos) among others.
To date, Atoms and Void has recorded 33 songs. Along the way they’ve had a laptop stolen in Toronto and crashed a hard drive in Seattle, circumstances which have caused the duo to pause for years at a stretch while figuring out how best to record the album. Twice. Early versions of some of these songs have floated around the Internet for years, (“Destroyed,” “The Sword of St. Michael,” “Lay Down Your Weapons,” and “Waves of Blood”). Folks rip them, trade them, and write social media odes to them. For a handful of listeners, the album has taken on an almost mythic resonance.
And Nothing Else has in this sense already created a life of it’s own, and was recently released to the Internet world in-full by way of Bandcamp. The hushed release gained resonance organically, and one year later, Fisher and Carstens were approached by Arctic Rodeo Recordings for a proper vinyl pressing. Thus, And Nothing Else will take on a new life on May 20, when the album will be made available on limited edition pink and marsh blue-green vinyl. Helmed by two deeply introverted weirdos and their beloved cadre of session players (all with an astounding level of trust and determination), the 12 tracks within offer a dark, slow, heady and heartbreaking world of sounds and experiences.
“The two collaborators, once emotionally raw and angry in Juno and during its immediate aftermath, are now just emotionally raw. The result – the newfound sonic palette, the experimental touches, the inclination to let the music rather than words do the communicating – is a harrowing and heartbreaking document, an ode to a darker place, and a realization of and reaction to knowing that you don’t know anything, and most people around you know even less.” – Critical Masses Media