Elevator Bath and Sedimental are honored to release the newest work from legendary Texas-based electronic musician Rick Reed, arguably the linchpin of Austin’s experimental scene for the past few decades. Reed’s distinguished reputation has been justifiably lauded, making this new collection of works cause for celebration.
“The Symmetry of Telemetry,” Reed’s first new release since 2018, was recorded at his home studio during 2020 and 2021. Reed employs Buchla and Moog synthesizers, organ, vocoder, and found radio sounds. “I’ve long been fascinated by the radio” says Reed. “But usually more atmospheric blasts like short wave static, rather than accidental juxtapositions of ironic voices or music.” Reed’s mastery lies in his matchless ability to combine these disparate elements into tightly organized audio collages, each bearing his stamp of singularity: “I tend to record ‘parts’ when I compose, then when I think I have enough material and can link them together in a way that tells a story, a new piece is born.” The resultant album contains three new stories conveyed as highly distinctive, personal electronic music.
Side A’s “Dysania” is an atmospheric rumination on the lethargy so prevalent during the early days of the pandemic. Tinged with melancholy, it is an occasionally serene but deceptively complex study – and one of Reed’s finest compositions to date.
Side B kicks off with “Space Age Radio Love Song,” a dense pastiche of Buchla bleeps and bloops with frequent radio interruptions and a ring-modulated vocal coda. It’s a varied and surprisingly vulnerable construction, a love song in its essence.
Side B ends with the moody and intriguing “Leave a Light on for Tony,” dedicated to the great artist of light projections, Tony Martin, who passed away the same day Reed finished this piece.
The gorgeous artwork on the album’s cover consists of two recent paintings by Reed, the most fitting visual accompaniment imaginable for his music (and vice versa). The images are presented here on a heavy, full-color jacket with spot gloss printing, designed by Colin Andrew Sheffield. The vinyl (black or limited edition clear) is housed in a poly-lined inner sleeve with beautiful full-color labels.
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Rick Reed (1957) is a self-taught composer and improviser who has been recording in solo and collaborative settings since the 1980s. Based in Austin since 1990, Reed’s focused compositional approach refines long-form structures with real-time use of sine waves, field recordings, short-wave radio, and Moog synthesizer (among other sources), creating dense but restrained sonic environments. Reed’s fascination with cosmic ephemera, day and night sky activity, and his deep love of electronic music since the 1950s, informs his music, photography, and visual art. His knowledge of experimental film is also essential to his aesthetic, manifesting in a remarkable collaboration with pioneering filmmaker Ken Jacobs in the mid-2000s. Reed has defined his sound over the years performing both solo and with various groups including Frequency Curtain and the Abrasion Ensemble, as well as with artists such as Keith Rowe and Bill Thompson. Reed’s work came to the broader attention of underground experimental music followers in 1997 with the release of a collection of his work on Byron Coley and Thurston Moore’s “Center of the Ass Run” series. His works are intuitive studies of electricity, frequency fluctuations, and improvised solutions to symmetry problems in electronic sound.