Review: Reid Karris – Divinatio Exitium

Reid Karris - Divinatio Exitium - cover“I would describe it as acoustic blow out junk noise, prepared guitar drone, drums and bowls falling down ten flights of stairs.”

That’s what Reid Karris tells me. I’ve always loved this principle of pushing instruments down the stairs. That “push”, metaphorical or not, stands for so much. It’s a deliberate waiver of artistic control, leaving rhythm and velocity at the mercy of gravity, stair material, stair width, the angle of impact etc. It’s dismissive. Violent. The instruments are pushed down and away, banished to a gruesome fate of dented chassis and somersaulting, dislocating appendages; symbolically punished in a retort against musical mastery and the cerebral labour of compositional scrutiny. In other words, Divinatio Exitium is a spillage of solid object, bleeding microtonal resonances all the while, with percussion torn apart in some sort of junkyard hyena feast.

Of course, this act of reckless deconstruction bears exquisite fruit: reverse chimes kiss eachother in slanted metallic slurps, cymbals accidentally enter a frenetic be-bop swing and then splay into the nonsense they always were, guitar drones singing in an eerie, computer-sabotaged dawn chorus. There is no structure here. Just noise and principle. A solitary concept pursued for 30 minutes. An unwavering testament to a faith in pure chance, throwing instruments into a state of sonorous possibility and leaving serendipity to work its charm. Thanks to the power of long duration – couple with the sheer deluge of instruments placed through physical and digitally-aided deconstruction – the odds are undoubtedly in Karris’ favour. Somewhere within the relentless shower of computer flatulence, crockery smash and upturned attic boxes, little gems of musicality form of their own fortuitous accord: tiny glints of form amidst a ceaseless, ultimately shapeless downpour.