What to make of David Lee Myers' (aka Arcane Device) profile and blank stare on the booklet cover of these rescued A.D. relics from the past? He looks deep in thought and contemplation, yet at the same time there's a remove, a sort of distance that he wishes to convey. Is this portrait supposed to find some sort of analogue in the music, serious yet static? If so, then it's a reasonably wrought image. It also adds something of a human element to a systems music, a feedback music specifically, that is realized well within the recesses of Myers' early looping machines, emphasizing the human being presiding over, sculpting, and manipulating the neuro-feedback of circuitry being folded back onto itself.
This double-disc set of A.D. work spans twenty years and collects together tracks hatched across numerous now defunct labels and their compilations, yet it is to Myers' credit that the individual pieces flow effortlessly together with the same momentum as a fully legit "album." Though there are marked differences in many of these pieces, some of which were early enough in Myers' career that the sharp listener can detect where the artist was finding his footing, there exists enough intuition and creative moxie about the works that suggests he knew what he was doing all along.
Never mind the pretense — there is some genuinely arresting and disturbing noises afoot here. Myers' machines tend to clank about like something disinterred from a Ron Goulart novel; like that SF author's usually agog creations, what traipses across Myers' sound fields can be anything from menacing (the ectoplasmic drones and strangulated cries of "Tendril") to the outright daft, Id-Monster antics of "Bunker", where the machine's pathologies arise straight out of a blasted Cyberdyne world. The magnificent halls of echo and reverb you are plunged down on the fourteen-minute "Solo Voce" conjure up all sorts of macrocephalic nightmares, while the brittle piercings and dry tones of "Aviary" play across wide swathes of aching high frequencies. However welcome these tracks may be, raving Myers fanatics will no doubt want this set for the second disc's "Feedback Symphony", over 70 minutes of fragile glissando, sparkling alien cosmologies, and more indescribable tics and mutterances than any one artist has the right to claim. Left to his own Devices, Myers never fails to baffle and bristle — he remains a true original.
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