Minimalist ambient drone...

Who, what, and why...

The TLDR answer:

Luciftias is an experimental ambient/drone project from Meadville, Pennsylvania.

The full story:

Luciftias formed in 2000 as a side project of the black metal band, Vukodlak. Conceptually, however, it dates to a handful of noise recordings I made in the summer of 1993. Back then, living in a small town in the pre-Internet days, I didn't know what noise, ambient, or experimental music was. I just rested my guitar against a pair of hightop sneakers so that it would create feedback from my little Fender practice amp and twiddled the knobs of various effect pedals and captured the magic with a Kmart microphone and a portable tapedeck.

But the real origin goes back further, even before I ever picked up a musical instrument. Between the ages of 2 and 7, my bedroom shared a wall with my family's washing machine and dryer. The sound was soothing and put me to sleep. Likewise, I found solace in the ambience of rain hitting the metal roof of our mobile home and the drone of the Interstate highway as I laid down in the back of our station wagon on the way home from my grandparents' house in Ohio.

It's only in hindsight did I put these influences together with why I am drawn to tones and textures. A lot of the music I've done outside Luciftias has been rock and metal oriented. I had always considered myself to be a "metal guitar player", gravitating towards the bands I grew up with: Kiss, Black Sabbath, Metallica, etc. At a certain point, black metal became the subgenre of metal that resonated the most with me. Maybe it was the emphasis on feeling over technique, maybe it was the absolute catharsis I felt when trem picking at those faster tempos, or maybe it was the beauty I found in its darkness. So I shifted gears from playing thrash and "classic metal" and devoted myself to pursuing what became Vukodlak.

The late 90s were a great time for the Internet. It was like an electronic frontier, and all of a sudden, musicians started having more of an online presence. I recall the first time I uploaded a RealAudio file so that visitors could listen to that initial Vukodlak recording: rough, lo-fi, and glorious. I also remember getting ahold of new music via Napster and I absorbed it all, delving into the most obscure music I could find. That's when I discovered that other people were doing the type of experientation I did back in high school. Noise. I first heard NON's "Total War" as an Acheron cover. I was in contact with Vincent Crowley as I was helping Acheron with their website. He pointed me in the direction of the original, and I embarked down another rabbit hole. I quickly started to emulate this style in earnest, and Luciftias was born! As stated above, it was just supposed to be a one-off side project. I even credited myself as Lord Akhkharu (the pseudonymn I adopted with Vukodlak) and a track from the Via Diabolis demo ("Nowonmai") ended up on that first album.

Material came slowly over the next few years. 2003 saw an appearance on the Grain compilation and a re-release of Suspension of Disbelief, and an ill-fated split with Vomit Orchestra ended up with my half being released as Darkness Absolute in 2006. It was this timeframe though that several seeds were planted which impacted the direction I would eventually take. First, I was introduced to drone doom via Sunn O))). The results of that can be heard on The Great Gray Beast and Christeos Luciftias. The second was the Argedco Dosig g Manin project with my cousin, which involved a great amount of experimentation and files being emailed back and forth. This is where I began moving away from the earlier sound of Luciftias and towards the drones that characterize most of my work.

By 2009, the sound I was aiming for was starting to get dialed in and my first album-length piece appeared in the form of Scio Me Nihil Scire. I was incorporating eBowed guitars, heavy post effects and manipulation, and brainwave synchronization into my output. This continued for a few years until, in 2014, I got an invitation to perform at an art exhibit in New York City.

My usual modus operandi involved an extensive amount of post-production. Unfortunately, this meant that replicating those textures in a live setting would have been difficult at best. How then to achieve an ambient/drone sound without resorting to synthesizers? In the past, I had recorded tracks using an eBow, guitar and effects setup but have always incorporated many overdubs in the final version. However, by mixing this method with Robert Fripp-style delay effects, I found that I was able to build layer upon layer to approximate a similar sound. Due to scheduling issues, I was not able to perform at the exhibit. However, the thought process I went through in preparing a live performance setup was documented as All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. From there, most of my recorded output has been focused on guitar-oriented drones which were played not just created through layers of manipulation.

To be continued...