One of our favourite artists in the world right now, David Burraston aka NYZ presents the second of two CDs for Entr’acte, each revealing particular aspects of a sprawling practice knitting algorithms, sound installation and self-built synthesisers in some of the strangest recordings imaginable.
As you might have guessed from the title, MCRNTL - a contraction of micro- and macrotonal - catches Burraston divining new ways between the waves, stepping away from systems of 12-tone equal temperament into curdled smears of harmonic mulch and convolution that hold genuinely new and compelling sensations for the listener.
Without, as the promo says, “getting bogged down in any deep, confusing theories about anything whatsoever”, Burraston/NYZ presents nine pieces, some forty minutes of music, all selected for the pure and frankly fucking weird, pleasure of it. Of course, if you need to look at it that way, there is a wealth of complex chain reactions and semi-organic systems at play in MCRTNL, but the glacial pace and somnolent atmospheres serve to reveal those processes in a manageably intuitive, enjoyable manner with broad appeal to listeners who’ve grown bored of so much harmonic convention in electronic and avant-garde music.
Forming a spellbinding exploration of NYZ’s infamous banks of FM synthesisers, each controlled thru his patented Cellular Automata hardware system for generating note and control data, the results range from succinct, rhythmic arabesques to gaseous drones and chattering machine voices that feel at once familiar yet deeply unheimlich at the same time, mostly thanks to the level of detail with which Dave Noyze can control the tuning of individual notes or “generate complete tuning tables in some cases”.
In the cases of MTNAM_2::FM60PP3 and MCRTEO, it sounds like he’s zoomed in and expanded on mercurial moments of AFX or Autechre tracks, focussing in on their nasal drip tang and melted string zing with a delightfully perverse quality, whilst LM_8101MT sounds like a band of brass-touting mice conducted by David Lynch, and MTNAM_7_SRi::station=>MONO feels as though it’s performing otoacoustic origami on yer inner ear, whereas MTNAM_3:: XNOTNL and GRAYMATTA feel as though he’s alternately emulating a lonely ship at sea in your ear canal, and then slowly sealing it in with concrete.
Ultimately, this process allows NYZ to explore a finer range of sounds, and with it a finer spectrum of emotional analogues and the less distinct, more ambiguous spaces between the notes. It can be taken like a kinda counterintuitive form of jazz played by machines, or oblique abstract sketches rendered in colours imperceptible to the eye, but either way they’re some of the oddest, unsettling works in circulation.