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Myo – Memory Gospel

Myo - Memory Gospel

CD, Zeromoon, 2010

Myo is the solo project of Cory O’Brien, a self-taught hacker, computer musician and electro-acoustic improviser, whose preferred tools are contact mics on polycarbonate sheets and feedback networks programmed in Pd and Max/MSP. As announced in the press release, “Memory Gospel” was performed and recorded using a laptop (Pure Data, Soundhack Plugins), Dave Smith Evolver, and 1/4″ Lexan polycarbonate sheet. With plenty of old noise scene reminiscences and a touch of electro-acoustic music, “Memory Gospel” sees the musician playing with sound physics using a myriad of techniques to distort, overturn, transmute and discompose, not to mention carrying out other sound experiments appropriate to a sound research laboratory.
On this eight-track album, O’Brien explores numerous sound generation and manipulation techniques, such as sound envelopes, feedback loops, field recordings, static noise, microsounds, ambience and drones. Nevertheless, this is not simply an old-fashioned, ‘too experimental’ harsh noise record; au contraire, the musician demonstrates his ability to create quiet noise landscapes, full of artificiality and coldness, while leading the listener through rugged vistas. This is not an unheard of approach, of course, and it certainly escapes toward the less structured and complex approaches so common to this musical genre.
Starting with highly amplified and flickering pink noise accompanied by tonal variations on “Semiological Guerilla Warfare”, the album passes first through the sound memories remaining in an old, deactivated factory in “Digital Overload – Lipoma 08”, then through something perhaps identified as untuned, filtered liquid water sounds on “Tibersound 01”, only to end up at the crystalline screams of an over-abused machine at the end of its days in “See You Later”. In “Emergent Citrus Feedback Multiphonics – Lipoma 02 V2” we are landing in some remote world where machines are in charge. “Tibersound 02” has a much quieter mood than part one, and in “People are so God Damn Fucking Selfish” we can discern large rocks sliding through a field of concrete. The voyage comes to an end with the harrowing title track, “Memory Gospel”, which fades out slowly.
I must confess that this genre is not my cup of tea, as I consider the experimentalism not as an end but as a means to improve more intricate and innovative compositions with some ingenious layers and other tricks, giving a bonus to non-conventional tracks. Perhaps, as an album, it didn’t convince me; therefore, as a sound research laboratory, it must be recognized that “Memory Gospel” holds a wealth of valuable material, potentially interesting to fans of the genre, as well as to musicians searching for innovative methodologies of sound manipulation in order to create uncommon sound landscapes and thereby enrich their compositions.


— Nelson B.

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