David Lee Myers, otherwise known as Arcane Device, a cognomen perhaps reminiscent of an object of cosmic desire in a Clark Ashton Smith or William Gibson story, has been around for a bit and released a number of CDs solo and in collaboration with such prominent off-the-beaten-path musicians as Marco Oppedisano, Tod Dockstader, one of my favorite electronic cats: Vidna Obmana, and others. His latest, Noise Matrix Mantras, is a twofer and, for me, the first disc harks strongly back to PBK (Philip B. Klingler) and his stark but fascinating experiments with sound structures and electrically barren atmospherics. Such work represents, as Myers himself puts it, "neither completely random science nor the gesture of an artist's hand but something between the two" in order to not interfere too thoroughly humanly in "meaningful impressions of unseen worlds".
As might be expected, this initial disc has a Forbidden Planet aspect to it but as though blent with harsh stripped-out atmospherics from the Alien films or, better, from those vicous bastards' home planet itself. However, the mode employed by Arcane Device—which includes DIY digital delays, filters, torn asunder pedals, and unmanageable oscillator circuits—resides in a dimension owing opaque allegiances to Brian Eno (think of his most radical, Swatstika Girls) and Larry Fast (a much terser Computer Experiments with near-violent tendencies and an uncharitable temperment only partially governed by the bipedal intercessor) in the twilit zone of an unsuspected dimension halfway between Jupiter and Procyon. I'm particularly fond of Mantra 05 because it appears to be of a moody thingamajig listening to Glenn Miller and trying to swing or Lindy Hop within a Tanguy painting redone by Mondrian. Should Myers ever decide to riff on this strange meeting of the terrene and metalline for an hour or more in the future, I won't complain one little bit.
Where Disc 1, Noise Matrix Mantras, was created through a Noise Matrix, disc 2, Modular Waves, owes its life's blood to a Mini Modular and indeed builds its architectures in layers and swells, troughs and crests, wave after wave cycling through repeating hypnotic uprisings and recesses. As far as I can tell, Myers creates his own instruments by throwing together whatever strikes his fancy or intent. The gent's website (pulsewidth.com) isn't terribly voluble as, overwhelmingly, creatives working in this gig tend to truncate everything in wordpulses not dissimilar to their sonics, thus I cannot state with surety what's what…which seems perfectly suited to the mysterious nature of such weavings.
It will likely seem bizarre to more sedate music listeners—that is: 99.9% of the public—but there exist eccentric warped personalities, mine for instance, who derive a lot of pleasure and intrigue from such work. Chalk it up to cunningly unhinged minds in that respect, but, perplexing as it may seem, work like this is as much a matter of demento-eco-friendly immersion experience as any New Age rhapsody sitting on the other side of the fence (and the barrier's electrified, so don't try climbing over; you won't be killed, but you will be shocked…in all meanings of that term). I suppose one could say Modular is vaguely like a zoned-out Terry Riley, shellshocked and reaching for the stars while burrowing into the earth, so thus be assured of this: it's by no means music for The Everyman any more than David Lynch is Walt Disney, but, for those to whom the outré is a good deal more than just a posture, well………
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2015, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles