Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

The Sound of Music 

1391727.t.jpg
Old Time Relijun isn't a band that lends itself to pat descriptions. Even Arrington De Dionyso, the leader of the Olympia, Washington noisemakers, has a difficult time describing the sound. "There are so many ways of putting it," he says, before taking a long pause. "We make music that manages to perform a kind of alchemy with opposites and extremes. We combine beautiful sounds with ugly sounds. Our songs present something that is very sexy and very scary at the same time. It's almost like an erotic tension of opposites that pull and push against each other."

In the early '90s, De Dionyso started recording music on a four-track machine in his bedroom and released cassettes on his own label. In 1995, a pair of musically compatible pals started helping out on assorted instruments and Old Time Relijun was born. "We're conducting our own type of electricity in the performances," says De Dionyso. "This might not even be about the music, but the energy that's being conducted."

The dozen tracks on 2012, the band's latest album, feature lots of free-form guitar riffs and sound like something birthed in an unconscious state. But don't mistake all the arbitrary tonal blasts for disorder and lack of structure, cautions De Dionyso. There's a method to his musical madness — especially onstage, where, despite the lack of set lists, songs play out pretty much as planned. "We have some pieces that leave room for improvisation," he says. "But we're very well rehearsed."

Another springboard for De Dionyso's aural explorations is the studio. Songs are rarely finished by the time the trio (which expands to a quartet in concert with the addition of a sax player) begins recording. Like his top influences — free-form jazzman Ornette Coleman and freak-out rocker Captain Beefheart — De Dionyso lets the work set its own direction once the tape starts rolling. "The studio is our creative playground," he says. "It's usually ‘Oh, this is what we came up with, and it sounds like this.'"
Sun., May 28, 2 p.m.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Speaking of Highlights

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation