Initially known for co-founding Miami noise-rockers Harry Pussy during the early 1990s, guitarist Bill Orcutt re-emerged in 2009, releasing a critically acclaimed series of albums offering a singular take on blues-based guitar improvisation.
Long interested in cutting-edge art, Orcutt had a Master's in English and had made several experimental short films, one of which sold to MTV in 1990. He also played in several local punk bands, most notably the Trash Monkeys, before forming Harry Pussy in 1992 with his then-wife, drummer Adris Hoyos. They worked together for the next five years, releasing a series of uncompromising and confrontational recordings on small labels and gaining acclaim from the likes of Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Sebadoh's Lou Barlow. Toward the tail-end of Harry Pussy's existence in 1996, Orcutt completed his first solo recording, titled simply Solo CD (or otherwise referred to as Untitled). It was issued by the New York-based Audible Hiss label, and featured guest vocals from Hoyos as well as instrumental contributions from drummer Danny Arad and saxman Joe Cohen, among others.
Following Harry Pussy's breakup and the couple's divorce, Orcutt moved to San Francisco took an extended break from music in order to concentrate on filmmaking. He resumed performing and releasing records in 2009, forming a label called Palilalia Records in order to issue his work. His style had developed into a brash, startling variation on blues playing, performed mainly on acoustic guitar. Following several limited 7" and LP releases and a well-received performance on freeform radio station WFMU (recorded in the station's bathroom), Editions Mego began issuing Orcutt's work in 2011. The Austrian label reissued his 2009 album A New Way to Pay Old Debts, and released its follow-up How the Thing Sings, as well as 2013's A History of Every One, which included unrecognizable renditions of songs such as "White Christmas" and "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah."
Orcutt performed at numerous festivals as a solo artist, and he also collaborated with several other well-regarded experimental musicians, including drummer Chris Corsano, free jazz artist Peter Brötzmann, and cellist Okkyung Lee. Orcutt also released a split LP with Sir Richard Bishop (formerly of Sun City Girls) in 2014, and electric album Colonial Donuts with drummer Jacob Felix Heule in 2015. In 2017, Orcutt released a self-titled electric album which was surprisingly less abrasive than his acoustic work. ~ Steve Huey & Paul Simpson, Rovi