The death of Bill Rieflin in march of this year sent ripples through the industrial music community; one of the scene’s most prolific and accomplished musicians, it would almost be more appropriate to ask which bands he hadn’t been a part of at one point or another. With today – September 30, 2020 – marking what would have been Rieflin’s 60th birthday, his friend and regular musical partner Chris Connelly has created with renowned harpist Jessica Gallo a loving tribute with the song “Prayer.” Originally written for the Largo collaborative album between Rieflin and Connelly released in 1996, Gallo created a new instrumental harp arrangement for the song, which prompted Connelly to at last add lyrics and vocals to the song; according to Connelly, “I have some hazy memories of trying to come up with lyrics and deciding mutually that it should remain an instrumental for the album. The idea struck me that I should try and write lyrics now, and record them with Jessica and do something that would have absolutely delighted Bill.” With the participation of engineer Don Gunn, “Prayer” is now presented via Bandcamp in both Gallo’s harp instrumental and a vocal version with Connelly’s newly penned lyrics, with a music video created by Gunn. Connelly concludes, “I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Bill’s birthday.”
Like Bill Rieflin was, Jessica Gallo is based in Seattle and is also a certified music practitioner in healthcare settings, becoming a close friend of Rieflin’s during the latter period of his life. Most notably, she worked with him on a cover of the seminal progressive rock anthem “21st Century Schizoid Man” with Toyah and The Humans, originally written and recorded by King Crimson in 1969. Rieflin had joined King Crimson in 2013, and had worked with Toyah Willcox – wife of Robert Fripp – in The Humans, having founded the group with her and Chris Wong in 2007; the cover of “21st Century Schizoid Man” would turn out to be his last recording. His death on March 24 followed little more than a year after the passing of his wife, Francesca Sundsten, on March 9, 2019, although her death would not be announced until the following August; formerly a member of Seattle art punk band The Beakers and a celebrated contemporary artist, Sundsten is most remembered in the industrial scene for her iconic covers for Pigface’s 1990 Gub debut and KMFDM’s 1995 NIHIL album, one of the very few instances of that band’s cover art not being done by Aidan “Brute” Hughes. Both albums featured instrumental contributions by Rieflin, while KMFDM’s 2020 In Dub album is dedicated to him in memoriam.
All proceeds from “Prayer” will be going toward the Virginia Mason Foundation, specifically to the Frank and Delores Jones Cancer Institute of the Virginia Mason Clinic, where Rieflin had been receiving treatment.
Chris Connelly/Shipwrecked Industries
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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)