10.7.11

Rick Reed 'The Way Things Go' 2LP (Elevator Bath, 2011)

Needless to say, my focus lately has been somewhere other than writing reviews for this blog. Sometimes a hiatus is really necessary and I'm all for trying to maintain sanity at this point. I've been happy and busy just trying to go out and enjoy what finally feels like summer, and most importantly, making my own music. Luckily, writing for Dusted has at least managed to keep the creative juices flowing a bit. The final three posts for the women's series are still to come, along with a handful of already slated reviews that will appear either here or on Dusted. The more structured review writing for Dusted has allowed me to tone down some of the formalities here, so you may notice a bit more of a casual approach to reviews. Not to say that I've decided to forego all structure, just easing up a bit.


Here we have a nice luxury item thanks to Colin Andrew Sheffield and his humble, yet ever impressive, Elevator Bath label. Rick Reed is no stranger to the scrapyard – I reviewed his picture disc way back in august of '09 and also his marvelous 4cd retrospective in December of last year. The Way Things Go is the perfect document for fans who missed out on that retrospective (which was probably a lot of you considering it was limited to 50 copies). 2/3 of what is probably the best material scattered throughout those discs can also be found here. This is a must have, 180 gram vinyl housed in black inner sleeves and a very well designed gate-fold jacket.

Reed's recordings have continuously displayed a remarkable talent for composition. His ability to evoke mood through his brand of dark synthesis is unmatched by contemporaries, though I'm wondering if Reed's sensibilities have kept him from receiving the recognition he deserves, because it's certainly not his talent holding him back. There really is nothing bubbly or new-agey about his music, which I suspect is probably the appeal for a lot of people when getting into this stuff. Noise buffs into Daniel Menche, Kevin Drumm and Chop Shop could easily get into this, especially the second track, Capitalism: Child Labor – a soundtrack Reed produced for a film by Ken Jacobs – which easily bridges the line between kosmische and noise.

Despite his compelling forays into "noise", Reed shines brightest when he starts with the volume turned down and builds it up. Celestial Mudpie, In a Hazy Field of Gray and Green and The Way Things Go, are all good examples of Reed's seemingly effortless ability to weave beaming synth lines with granular percolations and motor-like flourishes. Occasionally, Reed will pull everything back in a track and go in a completely different direction, which happens to be the case for the closing moments of the album, a looping carnival-esque melody spiraling out and then collapsing in on itself. Great work all around and a nice archival document of some of the best synth driven music available.

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