David Lee Myers: all sounds
Introduced by a mere line reciting “new devices, new sound explorations”, this double CD brings Arcane Device back on record after a hiatus lasted, well, quite a while. I, for one, am extremely glad to meet once more forms of sonority that were already raising my spirit high in 1988. At that time, the Recommended Records paper catalog had alerted the curious among us via a synthetic report on Engines Of Myth, a debut release founded on a self-devised apparatus capable of generating feedback-driven cosmic maelstroms from utter nothingness. And here we are today, exulting for a brace of pregnant discs substantiating a research started nearly three decades earlier. Myers has not given up uncovering secrets in the universes of remote pulse, and is still willing to place them at the forefront of our perception.
“Noise Matrix Mantras” comprises fourteen tracks investigating different facets of the relationship between an individual, his/her listening environment, and a mutating course of acoustic shapes whose initial unpredictability gets some sort of semi-regularizing treatment by the deus ex machina’s knob-turning discernment. What immediately strikes in the recent creations is the organic propulsion bathed in tones of sentiency, to the point of envisaging the presence of humans – or even animals – in a couple of instances (“Mantra 06” and “Mantra 08” in particular). However, Myers’ vocation remains that of observing complex drones and stunning figures materialize autonomously upon all types of unconventional patterns; the special kind of electronic stimulant required to unfasten the psyche from low-end superfluity. You can literally sense the grain of extraordinary frequency agglomerations seducing the ears and, unavoidably, increasing the awareness of ever-unspeakable issues.
The unambiguous title “Modular Waves” and its four-part structure – plus the utilization of a looper – tell most everything one needs to know. In this context, Myers leaves ample room for the soundscapes to blossom forth, maintaining complete control on less whimsical (but nonetheless overpowering) dynamics. The tendency to mesmeric stasis is evidently preponderant as opposed to the preceding half, other varieties of signal emerging in spite of a common rootage. Occasionally the stratification possesses an organ-like tonal quality (a long section of “Area II” comes to mind); this resembles more a repayment for previous troubles caused than the impulse of settling down and have a rest. But in “Area III” – possibly the finest piece on offer in its profusion of crossing itineraries and inscrutable depths – we find ourselves again into the realms of sensory verities. Its suggestive properties might scare to death the unfortunates forced to trusting someone’s word to ease the transition to a next phase they will never be primed for.