Eyeball Hurt and the Medicine Art Rock Reflex

Eyeball Hurt and the Medicine Art Rock Reflex
Michael Dumontier and Drue Langlois don't differentiate between the music they create as Eyeball Hurt and the Medicine, and the drawings they produce as core members of Winnipeg's Royal Art Lodge (RAL) collective. "With the Eyeball Hurt stuff, a lot of the songs are about drawings, or we make the drawings about the songs," says Dumontier. "The visual element is really connected. I would say almost everything we do is linked to the music in some way."

The pair's latest scrapbook of Residents-like aural illustrations, All The Beautiful Particles, bears out Dumontier's theory in vivid black and white. The 28-track CD's accompanying booklet features page after page of sketches and diagrams corresponding to song titles like "Whisker's Banjo," "Dog Bit You?" and "Bird-fight on a Wire." But if the relative CD-artwork routine seems at all typical, it's the closest the pair comes to adhering to any creative convention.

"A lot of these songs were recorded in a car while we were driving around the city," says Dumontier, adding he and Langlois were often inspired by objects found on the roadside. "We would just find something and make a song about it and it would become kind of sacred. We would concentrate so much energy on it you could never look at it the same way again."

The duo takes a similarly inspired approach to its home-made, one-of-a-kind instruments, as well. One of Dumontier's favourites is the Auracon, an amplified road case fitted with strings, magnetic pick-ups and pluckable, thumb piano-like metal spikes protruding from its top. Langlois prefers his self-styled Ziggurat, an old carry-on travel case containing what looks like a bisected Fender product. "I had an electric guitar and I didn't want it anymore," says the soft spoken Langlois. "So we took it apart and rebuilt it in this case. It's a lot easier to carry around."

Recorded primarily on portable stereos, All The Beautiful Particles is easily the most lo-fi of a trio of new CDs issued simultaneously in late February by the RAL. The other two discs (Alien Hybrid's Moriarty, and Albatross's Songs of Deprivation Poverty and Regimentation, the latter of which features Langlois as well) feature the collective's most well-known and successful member, Marcel Dzama, whose sought-after drawings currently sell for about $300 U.S. in the States and Europe.
Eyeball Hurt and the Medicine's infrequent live performances usually entail a strong visual art element, too, including projected slides of the duo's drawings and hand-made costumes. "We used to play exclusively in a tent that we made, but that was because of debilitating stage fright on my part," says Dumontier. "Now we usually just wear masks."