Boomkat Product Review:
Reissue of ‘MZUI’, the audio document of an A/V installation by (then ex-) Wire and (current) Dome members Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis, and artist Russell Mills, whose illustration and designs adorned records by Eno, Japan, Yazoo ++
‘MZUI’ the installation was held at Waterloo Gallery in central London between 8-31st August, 1981. This was one year after Wire disbanded for the first time, and Gilbert and Lewis had spent the interim constructing the Dome studio at the legendary Blackwing facilities. They had met Russell Mills during the Wire days and invited him into their Kupol performances, leading to his participation on ‘MZUI’, where the trio made use of a 5000 sq. feet former meat-packing warehouse space, turning its detritus into artworks including a meadow of smashed glass, and also installed a PA and recording equipment to capture and use any public interaction. It was all in near pitch darkness and so risky that visitors had to sign a disclaimer before entry.
The music contained on ‘MZUI’ the release is not intended as a direct representation of the installation, rather it’s presented “as a landscape, as articulating a sense of place” according to Kevin S. Eden’s liner notes. In that respect, the album’s two 20 minute+ pieces offer a spectral tour of the warehouse, its contents and the installation’s attendees, with spare, aleatoric clangs, muffled voices, distant percussion and industrial eruptions occurring in acres of billowing negative space. It’s not hard to hear the vast dimensions of the space in the recordings in the first piece, which is compelling enough, but it really gets interesting in the 2nd part where they hold to longer, coherent section of curdled carnival music and noise, or particularly the mid-section of sepulchral choral drones and its transition into a looped quote of Marcel Duchamp intoning “in spite of myself, I’m a meticulous man.”
More than a curio, this is a fascinating example of the Dome guys at their loosest and most intuitively experimental.