Though he had been recording experimental/noise music since the late 1980s, beginning in 1994, Peter Keller began releasing tapes under the name Bacillus on his own label, Clotted Meat Portioning. Thematically focused on disease, infection, and biological decay, Bacillus was quickly absorbed into the burgeoning Americanoise scene, with releases on Self Abuse, Deadline Recordings, and Slaughter Productions. Bacillus also appeared on a collaboration release with Macronympha (Macrobacillus) and the Underground USA compilation released by Mother Savage Noise Productions. The Bacillus sound was dirty, warped, and densely textured with amorphous samples culled from mangled analog media sources, gnarled and distorted by lo-fi equipment. Keller’s music was taut and focused, with each C-20 cassette divided into sharp, succinct tracks and packaged in unique, hand-made sleeves aesthetically tethered to the subject matter. Indeed, Bacillus was among the most thematically, visually, and sonically complete projects to emerge during the 1990s.
Released in conjunction with Mistape and Keller’s own new label, Patient Records, the “In Retrograde” 5-tape box set collects the most significant and elusive Bacillus material: the four C-20 tapes Keller released on CMP in 1994-1995—”Pregnant Disease Formation,” “The Second Shock Left the Patient Dead,” “Epidemic,” and “Black Plague”—and a previously unreleased recording, “Microbiological Takeover,” made in 1996, originally intended for release as a 7”. All of the recordings have been recently restored and remastered by James Plotkin. The tapes are housed inside a medical kit and have been individually repackaged in O-cards featuring new layouts designed by Dan Fried, with images provided by Keller. Also included is a 24-page booklet containing rare photos, scans of the original artwork, and essays by Keller, Jason Campbell (Influencing Machine Records), and Sam McKinlay (The Rita).