Elevator Bath

This is one of those discs that I fall in love with after a few minutes. Rick Reed is a self-taught composer based in Austin Texas who uses sinewave generators, field recordings, shortwaves and Moog to build crawling soundscapes in which every event is masterfully placed and highlighted for several long minutes before being gradually replaced by the next one. Trapped under a thick crust of sonic detritus, Reed’s frame-by-frame succession of slow, electric calls and subterranean concentration defines its identity over the course of these three long compositions, of which the title track is somehow the most transcendentally “relaxing”, constructed as it is upon deep drones and low-end movements. Dark Skies at Noon is also the soundtrack to filmmaker Ken Jacobs’ recent work, described in the press release as “otherwordly” (never having seen it myself, I can only take their word for it). Travis Weller adds violin in the most dramatic parts (reminiscent of Christoph Heemann’s albums like Aftersolstice or Days of the Eclipse), and another illustrious presence in “Ceremony” is Keith Rowe. His prepared guitar is immediately recognizable, but the track certainly doesn’t sound like an AMM offshoot and Rowe works the piece without compromising Reed’s personality. The record ends with the harsher atmospheres of “Ghosts of Energy”, where Reed’s dissonant narrative zigzags across the straight streets of logical expectation, its blurred spurts of barely repressed violence finally rechanneled to produce positive energy.

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