David Lee Myers: Arcane Device - Engines Of Myth (2003)
Once you get beyond any preoccupation with methodology, this music has passing resemblances to the work of both Morton Subotnick and Richard Teitelbaum. Indeed, what's particularly pertinent is the latter's duo music with Anthony Braxton, where Braxton's singularly human presence makes for more organic music than what's to be found here. In fact, this particular collection consists of nothing but feedback: the out plug becomes the in plug, and vice versa.
That said, "Pink Porous Rock" has a playful quality about it that could only stem from human input, whilst the human presence of Myers is discernable on "Terra Incognita," and to such a degree that it raises issues about the instrumental make-up of improvised music, particularly with reference to the likes of Evan Parker's solo soprano sax marathons.
Elsewhere, the likes of the snappily-titled "Mg 24.312" are a lot less obviously informed by human involvement in a way that's a kind of tribute to the diversity of settings and sounds that Myers can wring from his presumably deliberately restricted sources, a point underscored by "Lathe," where the atmosphere is permeated by the possible sounds of machines communicating with each other, so minimal is the human presence.
As such, the improvisation factor is crucial here, as it's the only overt link with jazz methodology – at the same time as the music is likely to have all but the most broad-minded leaving the room, despite the fact that the avant-garde, almost by dint of sheer longevity, has become an aspect of the tradition in itself. Viewed in this context, the music works in far more subtle and varied ways than five or six people playing simultaneously all the time and in a way that, for all of its human input, succeeds in saying next to nothing. Maybe we should start hailing the machines, just in case......
Track Listing: 1. Lathe 2. Engine Of Myth 3. Mg 24.312 4. Prayer Cloth 5. The Heavenly Discourse 6. Jumpstart 7. Keen Tooth 8. Terra Incognita 9. Pink Porous Rock 10. Rare Power 11. Deaf Men Hear No Tales 12. Studio-Front 13. Studio-Back 14. Live-Front 15. Live-Back
Personnel: David Lee Myers, improvisations for feedback within and between time delay electronics.