issue 20 :: September 2011

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Review: Rick Reed


The Way Things Go 2xLP [Elevator Bath]

Like his first LP from 1997, A Collection Of Improvised And Experimental Music From Austin, Texas, this double LP is a compilation of sorts, collecting six beautiful pieces of synthesizer and electronic drones created from 2001 through 2010. These drones pulse and waver, carefully layered to expose an energetic roughness in tone. Hypnotically revealing layer upon layer of sound, bursts of static, shortwave radio cuts, machine-like buzzes, each piece embodies a slow evolutionary meltdown (the painting at left could be the spectrographic analysis of the typical track) into distinct and unexpected movements. After hearing many of these pieces when they were performed live or heard on private test mixings over the years, they sound wonderful on vinyl. One of the biggest surprises is the shorter track “Mesmerism,” its rain-on-a-can rhythms and sweeping waves of tones would be perfect for a strange Eastern European science fiction movie from the 1960s. All around, this excellently documents Rick's work over the past decade, and more people, many more people, should be catching up on it.
The front and back cover of the gatefold LP presents 72 two inch square reproductions of Reed's “acid burnout eyeball” paintings, the small size of each neglecting the interesting subtleties of each work, shrunk down from their 5-6 inch original size. But faced with just choosing only 2, 4 or 8 pieces to grace the covers, I too may have opted for the whole kit and caboodle. I think the originals of some of these paintings are still for sale from Rick. You can see more of his artwork in issue 15.
images by Rick Reed from my personal collection
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