Joseph Budenholzer/Backworld biography
Backworld founder Joseph Budenholzer grew up in Nebraska, immersed in the rural lore and religious traditions of the region. He attended parochial school where he was taught by nuns to play the guitar for folk Mass. He worked for years as composer in residence at The Omaha Magic Theatre, an offshoot of Joseph Chaikin's Open Theatre, before finally moving New York in the mid-1980s. There he began performing at St Mark's Poetry Project, collaborating with dance performer Brian Moran, aka Blood Boy, creating sampled soundscapes for a series of confrontational Actionist assaults in the downtown club scene, and composing soundtracks for "Cinema of Transgression" filmmakers Richard Kern, Beth B, and Tessa Hughs-Freeland, and composer JG Thirlwell (Foetus, The Venture Brothers, Manorexia). Eventually a series of collaborations with Lydia Lunch resulted, culminating in the double CD, Matrikamantra, a work of psycho-acoustic theatre in the form of a homage to Romanian philosopher poet EM Cioran.
In 1993 Budenholzer entered the New York University Electronic Music Department, and the Experimental Theatre Wing (ETW), in conjunction with the Gallatin School for Individual Study and traveled to Russia and Bulgaria, studying Stanislavsky, Vaktangov, and Meyerhold at the Nikitsky Gates School, Moscow, and puppetry and mime at the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts, Sofia. Out of this experience Budenholzer formed Backworld, as a conceptual audio theatre project and to date seven albums have resulted: Holy Fire (1996), Isles of the Blest (1997), Anthems from the Pleasure Park (1999), Of Silver Sleep (2001), The Fourth Wall (2001 live at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London), Good Infection (2007), and Come The Bells (2011)
Backworld's albums and live performances throughout the U.S. and Europe and have featured a changing roster of players but the course is still steered by Budenholzer's consistent fascination with the religious fringe, ecstatic spiritual yearnings, and otherworldly visionaries. Collaborators and guest performers have included Jarboe of Swans and Michael Cashmore of Current 93, Isobel Campbell (Belle & Sebastian, Gentle Waves), David Tibet (Current 93) and Drew McDowall (Coil) to contribute vocals and other textures to the sessions. Other notable collaborations include playing in Current 93 and co-writing and producing the Little Annie album "Songs from the Coal Mine Canary" with Antony Hegarty (Antony and The Johnsons), soundtrack credits with experimental filmmaker Amos Poe, as well as acting as assistant director for three time OBIE award winning director Bob McGrath (Ridge Theatre) on his production of Neil LaBute's adaptation of "Woyzeck."