earthly delights archive


Nigel Ayers, John Everall and Mick Harris
Mesmeric Enabling Device
Soleilmoon Recordings SOL 85 CD (1999)
Track listing

This time it's a collaboration between he of Nocturnal Emissions, Mick Harris of Scorn and John Everall who seems to have been in most bands formed over the last twenty years, but I remember best as one the few writers for the late Music From The Empty Quarter magazine that I could be bothered to read. Nigel does things to pieces supplied by John and Mick, who in turn do things to some of Nigel's stuff.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that this isn't the easiest of music to dance to, beyond doing the Standing Still, and neither could it be described as a relaxing Ambient drone. Although nothing overt or sudden leaps out from the vast fields of reverb, it's too dark to be comforting. If I might digress briefly, I once had the pleasure of knowing Tommy Docherty. Not the football bloke, but a less famous namesake who dabbled in making weird music on cassette. His finest moment was an eight or nine minute track called 'Words Cannot Describe', recorded with hopelessly humble equipment and somehow utilising sounds echoing along the interior of an enormous aluminium pipeline he'd found somewhere. The eerie sustained roar he'd produced bypassed the limitations of his recording equipment, and resulted in one of the few pieces of music I've heard which I was genuinely unable to play with the lights off, unless overcome with some perverse desire to shit myself.

Although I'm older now and less inclined to be spooked by such things, there are parts of Mesmeric Enabling Device which strongly remind me of Tommy Docherty's masterpiece, certainly in terms of power and tonality. Mind you, it isn't all variations on a slab, as the above might suggest. Among the cavernous expanses we find a few elements of the unexpected. There's some distant tinkly melody on the second of the seven untitled tracks, which actually rather detracts from the general atmosphere. Later on we get random heartbeats and a rhythm that suggests someone's typewriter has got sick of all those words and is auditioning for the office supplies Junglist posse. It's a rhythm, but not really a beat.

Mr Ayers seems to do well working in collaboration, and this holds its own alongside previous efforts with C.C.C.C., Robin Storey, and Randy Greif. I haven't tried listening with lights off as yet. It hardly seems a worthwhile experiment. By the end of the last track even a brightly lit room with the midday sun streaming through bay windows will seem like the setting for an H. P. Lovecraft finale. The protagonist finally tracks down the subterranean horrors responsible for the cavity wall insulation of the house he inherited from that uncle, the one nobody liked to talk about.

War Arrow
Sound Projector 7

back to Reviews index

Site Map





Network News