Boomkat Product Review:
“Magenta Line” is the debut recorded offering from the Fox/Soper Duo, consisting of New York City musicians Greg Fox on drums, and Ryan Soper on modular synthesizer.
"Soper, an inventive sculptor, video artist, and modular synthesist makes up one half of the NYC-based performance project Non-Native, and is also a member of the A/V trio Brat Pit. Fox is a prolific drummer known for his work in experimental metal outfit Liturgy, as well as bands such as Guardian Alien and Zs, not to mention countless collaborations ranging from Colin Stetson to Dan Deacon to Hieroglyphic Being.
On “Magenta Line”, the duo takes on a form that is unexpected for an acoustic-meetselectronic style collaboration. Fox’s drums are slightly filtered and engineered to take on an alien, electronic quality that compliments Soper’s organic, expressive execution of his synth, to the point where the two styles meet in the middle to produce fierce and otherworldly results. For an instrument that manipulates purely electronic impulses, Soper manages to play it in an incredibly physical manner, buzzing, squealing, and roaring in all it’s distorted glory like an electric guitar.
Fox’s ability to react and interact naturally with Soper’s synth is remarkable, and a rare feat that few drummers can effectively accomplish. The outcome of this fusion is a style that leans more towards industrial, punk, or metal than it does to jazz or modern improvisation. Unrelenting in it’s exploration, “Magenta Line” gives way to a new style altogether, yielding nearly 45 minutes of uninterrupted gritty and grinding cyborg thrash. Both artists demonstrate a very high level of skill and versatility with their chosen instrument. Fox and Soper each speak their own alien musical language to each other, meeting head-to-head in terms of the range of expression they can achieve with their expansive arsenal of mastered techniques.
At times, Soper’s distorted sequences lock into place, providing the rhythmic backdrop for Fox to drum circles around, while at other times Fox lays down heavy, direct beats for Soper to explore the full range of free electronic shredding his synth is capable of. Musical form is firmly established, while extreme sonic and textural freedom is still allowed. “Magenta Line” is a marathon session where new ground is constantly being broken with powerful, crushing physicality. Although the instrumentation is unorthodox for an improvisational duo, the results are incredibly dynamic and exploratory when left in the hands of masterful musicians."