Machine Listener Colubrid
Published Sep 27, 2019Arts-inclined visitors to Cleveland who seek to skip the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should pay a visit to Research & Development, the studio and performance space occupied by Matthew Gallagher. Besides hosting shows and screenings, the "performance lab" acts as an artistic nucleus, where Gallagher and collaborator Marcia Custer experiment, while also attracting like-minded creative individuals to join them.
Gallagher is an artist and musician who has created slippery noise-based sonics as Machine Listener for most of this decade. His ability to conjure magical textures from a host of bent or broken devices allows him to craft a singular sense of calm amidst a sea of scathing abrasiveness found elsewhere in the scene.
Colubrid is Gallagher's most focused work so far, and is rife with serpentine rhythms, befitting its title. (Colubridae are the largest family of snake species.) The synth charmer has stripped away some of his noise-drone tendencies, searching out patterns of glitch and techno-inspired beat arrangements.
The pace of the entire cassette seesaws between quickly executed cyborg jitter and a more sluggish sort of Martian dub, which is appealing. Gallagher doesn't seek to overwhelm. He's interested in ensnaring his audience rather than bombarding folks with an unnecessary intensity. The respite provided is more than welcome. (Hausu Mountain)