big clouds in the sky today |cs047








































The next two are both unknown to me: Doug Theriault plays 'sensor guitar controlling and live electronics' and Bryan Eubanks 'open circuit electronics'. The two tracks on their 'Big Clouds In The Sky Today' were recorded live in Portland, Oregon on the April 16 and 23rd 2005. Their music is by and large electronic, and although it has some improvisational elements, like abrupt cuts and changes, it's much more electronic than the usual releases on Creative Sources. At times the music is pretty noisy. […] Frans de Waard (Vital)

Doug Theriault and Bryan Eubanks, both names new to me, work the guitar/electronics drone field. Two cuts are presented here, 21 and 41 minutes long, giving the duo plenty of time for allowing ideas to unfurl. Generally speaking, a quasi-tonal, often pipe organ-y drone stretches along a piece’s length, overlaid by harsher, slashing electronica. The details vary and different moods are established, but this approach—an entirely respectable one—is pretty much maintained throughout. This doesn’t preclude some fine sections. The first piece concludes by splintering effectively into shards of noise and the second reaches a wonderful point where foghorn-caliber blasts cross with sizzling sparks. But I hear more “effects” than a unified whole, than a thought-about creation. I’ve opined before that, over the last few years, this level of adequacy seems to me to be pretty readily attained, that a reasonably captivating sound matrix can be achieved without…not “effort”—I don’t want to give that spin to it—but without so much “reason for being”. For these ears, that urgency needs to materialize somehow (not that quantifying it is so easy), something I hear, for example, in works from earlier this year by Tomas Korber or Brendan Murray. The pieces of “Big Clouds in the Sky Today” are perfectly fine but, in the context of other recordings being produced these days, fail to distinguish themselves as something meriting special attention. A lot going on, not enough being said. Brian Olewnick (Bagatellen)

Two tracks recorded live in Portland this April, improvised by Theriault at "sensor guitar controlling" and live electronics and Eubanks at "open circuit electronics", which I have honestly no clue about - maybe it's a kind of synth, or some self-built effect. The two pieces, "don't worry about the future" and "a majestic", are quite massive in length (21 and 41 minutes respectively), and unfortunately quite similar in the sound amalgamation: harsh and granular guitar noise and equally noisy electronic interventions. [...] Eugenio Maggi (Chain DLK)

[…] Doug Theriault e Bryan Eubanks esses sim, movimentam-se no domínio electrónico, mas não com verdadeiros instrumentos. Em “Big Clouds in the Sky Today”, talvez o mais “noisy” dos álbuns da Creative Sources, o primeiro fica-se por um enigmático “sensor guitar controlling” e por alguns “gadgets” e o outro intervém com o que descreve somente como “circuitos abertos”. Estamos em pleno domínio da “bricolage”. […] Rui Eduardo Paes (JL)

Interference knows no hesitation, manifesting itself through circumstantial entanglements of unusual phenomena which may or may not be caused by human choices. Through their work with electronics, controlled by a sensor guitar and by an "open circuit" respectively, Theriault and Eubanks give birth to an earnest album of incendiary dissonance; yet, the desperate anguish of extended distorted frequencies and incumbent radioactive rainfalls often finds openings towards a strange agonizing calm, in which the "big clouds" seem to leave some space to the noise of a motor airplane in between the siren-like calls of distant car alarms whose battery will die only after an eternity of tormented ecstasy. Discouraging any try to transform their sound in a cheap appreciation of the mere experiment, the couple works intently trying to dictate some new rules for the abrasion of tranquillity, leaving our ear-aching pretence of knowledge without its crutches when silence finally falls. Massimo Ricci (Touching Extremes)

Nice to see that Ernesto Rodrigues is now casting his net further afield than old Europe for wild and wonderful new sounds. These come from Portland Oregon, where they were recorded live in the studio in May 2005 by Doug Theriault (Sensor Guitar controlling live electronics, it says here) and Bryan Eubanks (Open Circuit Electronics). There are two extended tracks, "Don't worry about the future" (21'04") and "A majestic" (40'51"), and don't be fooled by the slow start into thinking this is just another play-it-safe post-AMM laminal trawl. There are some pretty nasty surprises in store, and Theriault and Eubanks steer dangerously close to the edge (I think we can say with some certainty then that an Erstwhile release for this pair is sadly out of the question for the foreseeable future..). Open circuit electronics are, as Vic Rawlings can tell you, notoriously unpredictable, and Eubanks unleashes some particularly painful dentist chair nightmare shrieks from time to time (having just undergone protracted dental work myself, this stuff certainly strikes a chord, I can tell you), but there's a sense of commitment and feeling for large scale form that has me coming back for more. After all, it's worth several trips to the dentist if you end up with a beautiful gleaming new crown. Unlike much European EAI, which is painstakingly airbrushed and ProTooled into ever more pristine composed structures, there's a roughness and rawness here that sounds distinctly improvised. And that's also true of the very best AMM albums, lest we forget. Dan Warburton (Paris Transatlantic)

Big Clouds in the Sky Today (CS 047) comes courtesy of a pair of Oregonians, Doug Theriault (sensor guitar controlling and live electronics) and well-regarded saxophonist Bryan Eubanks (here manipulating open circuit electronics). As these two play such lush, spacious music and do so in very long form (two improvisations fill out this hour-long disc), I’m half tempted to compare them—in sensibility if not actual sound—to Portland “rock” band Growing. Long drones brim with microscopic details and occasionally flash with something like anger, restlessness, or instability. At times there are warm analog sounds which recall organ or even farfisa, but for the most part this is dense, thoroughly electronic stuff. These guys probably had folks like poire_z and Voice Crack in mind when creating this music, but I was actually reminded most of the (not entirely successful) meeting between Pan Sonic and Merzbow. The pair sound most comfortable when the music is at its most noisy and aggressive, as the quieter passages are almost nervously filled with chatter and information. Indeed, though this is a pleasant enough recording, the music lacks a sense of gelassenheit (though at times the bustle of the 40 minute “A Majestic” gets close). Jason Bivins (One Final Note)

Ultimamente, quem tem dado cartas neste domínio da improvisação de base electronica, têm sido principalmente artistas europeus e japoneses, descendentes na linha recta ou na linha colateral do trio britânico AMM (a “old school” da improvisação electrónica e electroacústica). No caso vertente, é de Portland, EUA, que provêm Doug Theriault (“sensor guitar controlling live electronics”, mantendo a designação original) e Bryan Eubanks (electrónica em circuito aberto), também saxofonista (como tal, actuou recentemente em Lisboa), embora aqui se fique apenas pelos botões da maquinaria. Duas longas exposições, "Don't Worry About the Future" (21’04) e "A Majestic" (40’53), preenchem por inteiro o programa de "Big Clouds in the Sky Today" (cs047). Considerando a densidade da música e a longa duração dos temas, o disco não é pêra doce nem sequer para o ouvinte habituado a este tipo de ambientes electrónicos, do género que abunda na norte-americana Erstwhile, por exemplo. No entanto, transcorridas as primeiras, digamos, duas audições, que prepararão a mente para a descida às profundezas, a partir daí, tudo começa a ficar mais nítido, a tomar o devido lugar e a fazer sentido, saltando a microscopia sonora, até então escondida por entre a massa saturada dos drones, do segundo plano para a frente do cenário, a deixar perceber toda a riqueza do detalhe. Pan Sonic, sem os aspectos mais imediatamente ligados ao techno, poderia ser uma referência comparativa a ter em conta. Alguma falta de direcção no longo drone final acaba por ser compensada com os inúmeros “acidentes” que, aqui e ali, inesperadamente surgem no caminho, transformando a imensa panóplia de sons de construção electrónica em música estimulante, simultaneamente densa e delicada. Gravado ao vivo em Abril de 2005. Edição da Creative Sources Recordings. Eduardo Chagas (Jazz e Arredores)

He's pushed the envelope of improvisation and electronic music actualization on a smattering of outsider CDR mini-labels (Toast and Jam Recordings, Animist, Fargone Records), but that shouldn't deter more adventurous sorts from seeking out Doug Theriault's transmutative gesticulations. His chief soundmaker is nicked the Sensor Guitar, the trigger for a battery of live electronics and effects (much like a MIDI controller) that virtually succeeds in wiping out the guitar's understood syntax in one fell swoop. His partner is Bryan Eubanks, formerly of Portland, Oregon but now based in New York, who is fascinated by the "psycho-acoustics" of sound, realized quite emphatically through his own panoply of open circuit electronics. Together, these two carve out a mighty mass of voltage-generated impulses that stretch the elastic bands binding structure and noise, from which can be gleaned the finest drops of Stockhausen to Oliveros, Merzbow to Günter Müller, Charles Cohen to Elliott Sharp.
Of the two extant tracks, it's relatively easy to get lost in this recording's opening 21-minute workout, paying heed to the advice of "Don't Worry About the Future." If Theriault and Eubanks are making any kind of statement here, it's that not only will events inevitably unfold, but that such upcoming sequences will be played out in the maw of some heretofore great electric beast. Circuits bent to breaking points, the duo seem to deeply probe, then promptly eviscerate and savage, our planet's cosmic electrical skeleton, redirecting energies outward so that the very protons become visible. Mind you, this isn't merely an exercise in onanism through noise-mongering, nor is it anywhere near the realms of ambient; rather, Theriault and Eubanks take their equipment to task, forging scruffy drones, pulsating hums, and carefully orchestrated distortions pulled tautly across aural cavities like rubberized silicon. It's electronic music subverted from within, circuit-vented and pulled apart with obvious relish.
The disc's concluding piece, "A Majestic," unfurls and sprawls across a gargantuan 40-plus minutes. It's erratic outbursts instantly establishing time, place and space. More distortions explode like miniature atomic blasts, sounds surge and seethe in encroaching tsunamis of raw power, yet the duo appear to take great pains/pleasure in creating an expansive, if geologically wrecked, landscape. Many of these chaotic, tensile sounds conjure all manners of literary analogs: by way of sheets of frazzled metal, ticking contours, and myriad unidentifiable squeaks and waveforms, I instantly flash on Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, or perhaps some of Philip K. Dick's various apocalyptic scenarios, so absolutely mechanistic these tableau become. Unlike typical genre music, this stuff is frightening in scope, defiantly in-your-face: blitzkrieg electro-punk-improv, short-circuiting genre and sensibilities alike. Darren Bergstein (The Squid's Ear)