The Deletist - Biography
The Deletist is a deliberately obscure project, wrapped in various and gauzy layers of subterfuge, intrigue, and obfuscation. There’s a distinct undercurrent of pride in the overtly stated, noncommercial stance of Deletist, but at times it’s a prominent display of underground grime on an otherwise spotless sleeve. Actually, when you clear away the protestations and avant aspirations, Deletist is often reasonably pleasant stuff, gothic-tinged instrumentals and breathy female vocals that won’t rock the Viking longship for fans of Current 93, Danielle Dax, Cocteau Twins, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, etc., etc. At other points, the music can venture into widely varied realms: lush minimalism; belligerent electronic post-punk; Hansa-by-the-Wall gurgles; spooky, four-in-the-morning nocturnes; quietly screeching, black-eyeliner recriminations; faux-orchestrated lullabies; doom-laden, homemade Gymnopedies; and even electro-thump swagger that occasionally fragments into techno-informed, beats-per-minute bluster. That stylistic barrage is a major selling point for the Deletist oeuvre. Don’t care for the style du jour? Versatility is the boss here, so stay buckled in — things are guaranteed to shift gears.
The Deletist is the solo endeavor of San Francisco, California resident Bitter Pie; she is also the proprietor of Bitter Pie Comix, and the illustrator of the scatological and nihilistic comic of the same name. Elsewhere, Ms. Pie is the patron and producer of the “Free Noise and Doom” music series referred to as Bleakhaus, which hosts intimate events in the SF Mission District on a semi-regular basis (i.e., it’s a monthly gig in the living room of her flat). While Bitter Pie and Deletist are both carefully cultivated hedges of anonymity, she certainly isn’t suffering from agoraphobia. Much of the material on the recent Relive (2007 Beats per Revolution) was culled from a world-wide tour, in which Deletist forged open-format collaborations with a wide arrange of international artists and engineers, including participants from and with Motion, Filthmilk, Skullcaster and Iron and Wine.
Any curious bystander who really wants the encapsulated version of the Deletist modus operandi might as well go straight to Third Class (2009 Revolution per Minute). The album contains an inspired series of covers that seems absurd until you hear the reinterpretations via the Deletist aesthetic: “Jordan Minnesota” by Big Black; “Trouble” by Cat Stevens; “Nervous Breakdown” by Black Flag; “Pull Out the Pin” by Kate Bush; “Human Cannonball” by the Butthole Surfers; “Sonata #14” by Ludwig von Beethoven; “Stranger Than Kindness” by Nick Cave; and “Prelude in C Minor” by Sergei Rachmanikoff. These tracks also highlight excellent piano performances by Deletist, who, within her eclectic, sprawling tastes reveals a possible and oh-so-not-punk background as a classically trained musician. For all of the skuzzy electronics and gnashing of teeth, is it plausible that the Deletist deleted from her resume a stint at conservatory…?
The Deletist/Motion pairing also appears on Alice Project (2008 Connecta), a compilation that highlights Asian Dub Foundation, Chumbawumba, Bill Laswell, DJ Spooky, and industrial stalwarts Coil. Deletist is also the ongoing curator for the international [:] p l u g s [:] festival, a streaming presentation of live, interactive performances shared exclusively through headphones; it’s produced in conjunction with the annual LePlacard International Headphone Festival from Paris, and is indicative of Deletist’s wildly creative nature. Just don’t expect a flurry of cringe-inducing, Facebook-style, self-indulgent biographical details from Deletist. Dig deep enough into the Bitter Pie website, and in a secluded corner you’ll find a link to her bio. It simply states: “I was born in Germany on October 20, 1969. One day I’m gonna die.” Fair enough. Until then, expect a devoted and diligent outpouring of hand-crafted, trans-media subversion.