Mamaleek’s Eric Alan Livingston Dies at 38

Eric Alan Livingston, a member of the experimental metal group Mamaleek, has died, the band wrote on social media yesterday. The multi-instrumentalist had played with the group since 2015 and joined as a full-time member in 2019. The musician’s cause of death has not been announced. Livingston was 38 years old.

Mamaleek emerged as a duo in 2008 and released a pair of albums in quick succession, one self-titled, the other called Fever Dream. Mamaleek acknowledged links to Beirut and San Francisco’s Bay Area and were said to be brothers. But, in the black metal tradition, they kept their identities vague—even as subsequent releases, like the Enemies List LP Kurdaitcha, drew them further afield from the genre. They collected influences from jazz and spirituals, sometimes incorporating hip-hop electronics. For their 2014 album, He Never Spoke a Mumblin’ Word, they signed to extreme music label The Flenser, where they have remained for four more albums, most recently last year’s Diner Coffee.

Eric Alan Livingston’s first work with Mamaleek came as a percussionist on 2015’s Via Dolorosa. He continued by contributing percussion, keyboards, saxophone, and violin to 2020’s Come & See Me and 2022’s Diner Coffee. He also made the cover artwork for the latter LP.

As a visual artist, Livingston made Mamaleek’s 2020 music video for “Elsewhere.” He also made videos for the Mike Patton projects Mr. Bungle and Dead Cross. He created the visual, too, for “Satanic Planet,” the eponymous song from a project by Lucien Greaves, Luke Henshaw, Dave Lombardo, and Justin Pearson.

In 2019, Livingston created an action figure for Pearson’s band the Locust. The next year, he teamed up with Pearson and his band Deaf Club to design a T-shirt in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. “Please hold your friends and family close. Our time on this planet is limited,” Pearson tweeted after learning of Livingston’s death. “I will forever miss Eric.”

Jonathan Tuite, founder of The Flenser, said in a statement shared with Pitchfork, “We are deeply saddened by the sudden departure of Eric Alan Livingston and extend our heartfelt condolences to his fellow bandmates in Mamaleek, as well as his friends and loved ones.” He continued, “Eric’s extraordinary talent as a visual artist and his ability to inspire and support fellow artists will be unmatched. His infectious personality and positive attitude made him a pleasure to be around and his absence will be deeply felt.”

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