“1” (is that what I call 'em, yeah? - the numbers? LOL Ah, no,,, *checks website* -- they've got dated / timestamp titles. Awesome.) strikes me as the most overtly 'made-up' / done on the fly: sine-waves shunted through a series of fx-settings; the audio equivalent of vectored transformations (in the, er, analogue days, a piece like this would've hinted at the 'mathematics' that underpinned its own creation, voltage-to-sound changes – laws, rules, physics – as a switch, button, toggle is applied on a pedal or a shed-made circuit-inna-box; now, well, who knows? Still, Mark makes good, solid choices (“Your technique is good,” as some white-eyebrowed K.Fu master would've once said on a smeary HK VHS). My favourite bit is where the base-palette is transformed into what sounds like water moving through a smallish access tunnel: the soundtrack to a Wessex Water employees Tuesday morning.
Love the zero-second segue into “2” (Noise Concept-Albums, anyone?). // There's a beautiful moment about three minutes into this one where the squirts of noise suddenly fall away for 10 or so seconds leaving a holding-pattern – something like the distant sound of 1960's diesel shunters shifting to 'n' fro in the mix, audio-patination, an after-echo landscape; ghost Dopplersound. //
“3” starts with brittle tones that quickly shift underground. Ramped-up sub-station hum, broken / bitcrunched modem-chatter; getting an after-listen here of one of J. Cale's 1964 organ-chord punk-minimalism drone-pieces, but fractured / refashioned through the digital domain-medium. (Christ, reviewing this makes me sound like a feckin' wine-taster...) Re-versioned Krell machinery // Forbidden Planet soundtrack remade by Florian Hecker: I'm 'getting' that too. It's all jagged digi-edges – sharp, frequency key-shifting / 2400 bit/s action: love that bit t/wards the end where he sounds like Jon Lord pulling shards of drawbar sound this way 'n' that, draggin' it round the room to build up accidental splintered 'chords', dissonant choirs of broken sound that coalesce and collapse, aping the idea that music should have a finale, a crescendo, a climax: the Kaoss-pad recast as the new Hammond organ.
“4” is sandblasted mayhem. Trouble at The Whitenoise Club. A pressure-hose of sound, a coffin going through a car-wash.
“5” starts off sounding (on head-phones) like distant tube-trains; digitised rolling-stock transformed into aural-scree. And again, that hint of the Modem-esque, this time blended with audio-signifiers that suggest high-speed motion: bullet-trains, wind-tunnels, air whistling / roaring past the fuselage of a jet. Later, there are hints of scanner-noise, radio debris, restless-rapid UHF channel-hopping: signal-noise hung out to dry on the Yorkshire Moors.
“6”: more broken, granular data-loading, modembuzzzzzzzzzz; Music for Half-duplex Asynchronous Services. A chamber piece for damaged / modified stylophones. Terrific.
If you haven't guessed already, I love it most when Mark's music accidentally emulates Process or Infrastructure; this is a terrific addition to that canon, but it's also a fine testament to his ability as a free-player that his (presumably) unintentional improvisations feel, for the most part, fully-formed and that they so readily invoke a wide range of narrative conceits, innit.
((Writing this... re-listening to the pieces to suck up their feel once more, my wife starts up a cheap B&Q-bought lawn-mower right next to my office and its drone bleeds straight into Mark's music – unselfconsciously remixes it, which is kinda perfect.))