There’s an interesting discussion by the composer Ben Harper here about this release from Spain’s Nueni Records. Eubanks’ album, released a year or so ago, is 50 one-minute feedback circuit pieces, presented unadorned and without fanfare. “It carries a type of logic, but it does feel a bit like Eubanks is dodging the whole question of how the Suite may be considered as music”, says Harper, which kind of hits the nail on the head. He concludes:
“The CD really presents a dilemma. Do you hear it as a disconnected catalogue of technical exercises, or as a suite of etudes elaborating on a common theme?”
I sense a certain frustration here. And he has a point. The bare-bones presentation of these pieces really doesn’t give us much to hang onto as listeners as we navigate the sounds that buzz and crackle out of the speakers and into our brain-boxes.
But, you know what? Despite that I like it. Maybe it’s the many years I’ve spent listening to various punk bands, those grumpy urchins gleefully pissing everyone off with their lo-fi, hamfisted antics that makes me think that, yeah, this is pretty awesomely grouchy too. Eubanks lays out as it comes, and we can take it or leave it, adding our own stories and metaphors to it or just digging the whazzed out sounds. Open circuit, open work, as Umberto Eco would probably never have said, even if he was into minimal electroacoustic music.
There’s a little of the deadpan cheekiness of the VA AA LR crew here, too, which is also appealing, in a kind of poke-your-finger-in-the-socket-and-see-what-happens way, although the spitting, fizzing sounds that Eubanks generates are a bit livelier than that trio’s crackle raves. The album is pacey, too, which I quite like, all those one-minute pieces barrelling past (although number 26 is a bit moody). I have a rather soft spot for number 37, whose double-time yowl reminds me of some lost early Oneohtrix point never cut. In fact, one feels positively breathless after the first few tracks, before you modulate your own internal rhythms to get with the fizz and enjoy the ride. And the fact that you could probably do everything Eubanks is doing at home with some very basic kit matters not one jot. Me and Harper are going to have to differ on the enjoyability of this record. But that’s ok. I’m a lover, not a fighter.