Bill Brovold

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Guitarist, composer, and producer known for his work in the '80s N.Y.C. no wave scene and with Michigan experimental group Larval.
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Artist Biography by

Guitarist, composer, painter, and producer Bill Brovold was involved in early-'80s N.Y.C. no wave bands, including Rhys Chatham groups, and later headed Larval, a Michigan-based band signed to the Knitting Factory Works and Cuneiform labels. Born in 1957 in Tacoma, Washington, Brovold first began playing the guitar in the early '70s, initially focusing on country music. He moved to New York to attend the School of Visual Arts, graduated in 1982, and the following year became a guitarist for the Rhys Chatham Ensemble, a gig that would last the next five years. Throughout his involvement in this band, however, Brovold also collaborated with many other downtown bands, including the East Village Orchestra, Fast Forward, and the Zen Vikings with Ernie Brooks and James Lo. Through the 1980s, Brovold also wrote music for performance artists and filmmakers.

Obedience
Brovold left N.Y.C., eventually landing in the Detroit area, where he began the group Larval in the mid-'90s. With this project, Brovold released recordings on John Zorn's Japanese label Avant and N.Y.C.'s Knitting Factory Works. By the late '90s, Brovold had opened his own Koko Studios in Royal Oak, Michigan, where he produced and recorded not only Larval's music but also recordings by ex-Modern Lovers guitarist John Felice, John Lamb, and Poignant Plecostomus. He also paints, and his works have been shown at Detroit's C-Pop Gallery, among others. In 2000, Tzadik released an album by Brovold as part of the label's modern composers series. Arriving in 2003, the Obedience LP marked Larval's debut on Cuneiform Records, which would also release the band's two-disc set Surviving Death/Alive Why? in 2007. Brovold remained active writing and recording over the next decade, playing occasional shows with Larval and eventually resurfacing in 2017 with The Serenity Knolls, a collaboration with experimental keyboardist Jamie Saft released by RareNoise Records. A surprising turn for both musicians, the understated album featured Saft on Dobro and Brovold on electric guitar, presenting a minimalist and almost meditative folk-indebted style.