Boyd Rice/Non | Mike VanPortfleet

There are musicians, and then there are artists. Blessed with a name befitting a gourmet cook, Southern California sound professor Boyd Rice instead took no name at all. He recorded his first batch of hypnotic looped-tape sound collages in 1975, adopting the name Non soon thereafter to describe his mission of creating "something that blanks out your brain." He achieved this peculiar goal through layered manipulations of mangled vinyl scratches, gutted guitars and inverted sheets of white noise. Rice is many things: short filmmaker, writer and even public Church of Satan advocate (really), but this retrospective deals solely with the surgically precise sheets of organically produced nothingness that would help give rise to an entire genre of ambient bedroom music. Thirty years later, dark ambient is its own well-established underground genre. Arizona's Mike VanPortfleet emerges from a 15-year career fronting the hauntingly atmospheric gothic rock band Lycia to produce one of the best dark ambient collections in recent memory. The more thickly atmospheric Beyond the Horizon Line conjures spirits in an ethereally purposeful afterlife phalanx, where Non evokes a vague, uncertain purgatory. Horizon tracks such as "Echoes of the Lost Sea" and "Unsettled New Day" are vivid like the indigo glare from the first wisps of daybreak. This stuff is the gateway to another place entirely. No reservations required.
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Michael Chamy