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Randy Greif, Robin Storey and Nigel Ayers – Oedipus Brain Foil

Label: Soleilmoon Format: 3xCD

Robin Storey and Nigel Ayers - Perfidious AlbionBundled together as a boxed set, these three releases bring together the three artists concerned in pairs on each CD via postal exchange of recordings, with the aim of creating a whole which draws more than merely the sum of its parts together. Packaged in appropriately earthy, decaying hues of green, brown and grey environmental close-ups, the set will also be released as individual CDs after the initial run.

To start at random, Robin Storey (AKA Rapoon) and Nigel Ayers ( better known as Nocturnal Emissions) bring an dark, circuitous hissiness to the somewhat rain-drenched disc Perfidious Albion. Kicking off with a monotonous, relentless heartbeat drum machine of “Spiritaully Appraising Things”, and building swirling ambiences and orchestrations from there, their disc brings Storey’s interest in traditional instruments from around the world into conjunction with Ayer’s fondness for the microcosmic shifts in electronic rhythms., though not always at the same time. As with the latter’s recent Omphalos, there’s sometimes too much obvious keyboard electronics going on for full satisfaction – but it has to be said that the digital sounds have had their phoney-sounding edges largely rubbed off for this collaboration, and the depth of darkling, primal gloom and echoing caverns the duo produce can be quite effective, particularly through the slowly transforming middle sections, which even burst into scratchy breakbeats for the fizzily near-Motorik pulser “Wraiths And Eidolons”.

Randy Greif & Robin Storey - Nail Of Pious BrideStorey and Greif‘s work Nail Of Pious Bride works at an even slower pace, with tectonically-developing machine drones and effected loops making for a shifting, hynpotic sound. Eerily ambient, this CD works best when following the dictum that subtle, elusive (i.e. Ambient) music should be played loud for best appreciation of its deeper-buried textures. With volume, the opening “Infinite Eye” really does become almost engulfing in its surround-sound of hulking, deep-space grandeur. With the minimal use of vocals and/or samples at on or below the usual threshold of audible speech, incremental analogue synthesis of the gurgling, liquid variety and the boulder-like groan of collossal-sounding noises, “Pious Bride” wortks at the most nameless, pre-mythological level of the triptych. Shamanic enough to spark imagery of animistic spirits at the same time as the passing of geological ages within an hour’s duration, the album is positively archæological, with the Industrial age providing a twenty-minute lift-off into heavily-processed orbit on the concluding track “This Impossible Room”.

Randy Greif and Nigel Ayers - Build A Poison FireFor Build A Poison Fire, Greif and Ayers take on the mantles of alchemist mathematicians, if titles such as “Morphogen,” “Algorithmics” or “Stochastic Motion” are anything to go by. Together they contrive to manufacture and set in motion almost glittering dreamscapes with the ebb and flow dynamics of music part-created by a form of virtual Brownian Motion. Here, the digital sounds are even less obtrusive, working well as abstracted sounds, avoiding the easy option of the preset or casually programmed tone-variation. Oddly compelling at times, Poison Fire works at the level of organic electronics, scrambling cold toeholds into some of the more vertiginous areas of non- linear music. As a set, Oedipus Brain Foil is a sometimes stirring, half-compelling, half distanced, even alienated, series of examples of the art of multiple collaboration. It’s particularly interesting to examine the differing results each artist draws from the process, and their individual connections within the matrix they create; what emerges is a quite overwhelming work of sometimes seismic proportions.

-Antron S. Meister-

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