Back when I scribed for national print magazines (Sound Choice, OPtion, Progression, E/I, Expose, etc.—excepting Signal to Noise, a great mag despite its shit-heel editor), David Lee Myers was known as 'Arcane Device' and much prized by electro-enthusiast editors who did all they could to keep the guy's cassettes and CDs out of the rank and file's hands and in their beggarly own. Such, I'm afraid, dear reader, was and still is the milieu of the prog-mag, and why I now am read in FAME, Perfect Sound Forever, The Buzz About, and one or two other locations of my choosing. The main of the insipid 'progstablishment' is as warped, corrupt, and banal as could possibly be imagined.
One of the pleasanter elements in departing the stultified realm is the ability now to expose it in dribs and drabs, as I've just done here and there, hither, and yon, part and parcel of an attempt to rescue the genre back into the hands of the intelligent, the talented, the capable, and the aesthetically literate, rather than a coterie of beer-swilling dweebs butt-buddying and bun-boying equally bizarre publishers and editors. Progressive musics haven't been well served, in fact betrayed, by such, and I frankly, like Schopenhauer, cite the arts as man's only possible rescue from the killing banalities of conservatism, politics, business, and religion (a four-way redundancy, when you think about it).
I tender this peek behind the curtain so it's understood why CDs like Tesla at Coney Island, and to a far greater degree Marco Oppedisano's tortured and insanely cool Mechanical Uprising (here), go wanting while inferior product gets lauded to the skies by lizards and worms, my "brethren" of ink.
Myers claims the antecedents of Subotnick and such, and perhaps that's so, but the manifestation is more of Fjellestad, Czukay, Moebius, Eno, Montgomery, and other ambientalists, upon which Oppedisano endows strings, sometimes highly processed, and samples, with vocal garni occasionally tossed in by Kimberly Feidelman and Barbara Dartley. The result is a pool of laid back and often peripherally unsettling electronica warping itself just outside the fields we know. Sometimes that means complete fragmentation, but other times a Neu-ish mello-riff such as Drastic Magical Transport, my fave track, can take you by surprise.
A little cultural fluency never hurts either, as when the two gents cop from P.K. Dick ("Roog") or inflow what they call 'heavy metal not-so-intelligent dance music (HMNSIDM)' in Throttle Body Lifter (take that, Martin Popoff and NWOBHM!). Tesla is an episodic work with no center and no theme but metric tons of atmosphere, melancholy in a Shelleyan fashion, had Percy found himself managing a 21st century factory overlooking pastoral byways as the executive structure offshored itself in toto and left him holding the bag. Feeling that way yourself lately? A lot of us are, Bunky, so this just might be yer cuppa solace. One could even call it meditational, but only for the introspectively adventurous, not a gaggle of Gurdjieff/Ouspensky New Age puddingheads. Rather than Subotnick, I'd cite the reflective sides of Erb, Carlos, Fast, and others, especially in their less known ventures, opuses lurking at the boundary of definability but seductive, sirens from a side dimension, enigmatic but compelling in ways rarely grasped and in flavors untasted.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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