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Eric Glick Rieman - "Ten to the Googolplex"

Style: Avant Garde
Sound: *** 1/2 Composition: *** 1/2 Musicianship: *** 1/2 Performance: **** Total rating: 14 1/2
What the hell is it with the Accretions label? As curators, they, like Soleilmoon, are incredibly discerning, assembling some of the most brilliant peripheral musics a consumer could hope for. Take this guy, a one man cross twixt Morphogenesis and barbled-out space music, creating engrossing compositions arising from, in his words, chimes, tings, crunches, drones, chiffs and flaps. Narcotic somnambu-stumble for aesthetes on the nod,the four long compositions on this CD are hyper-Nyquil for the addictive.

In some ways he's close to what Chuck Van Zyl was creating in his scintillatingly soporific moments, though Rieman's not the optimist Chuck was. Rather, he's a detached scoentist. where Soleilmoon's roster fetishized Stygia, Rieman wanders forlorn sterile spaceways, often staggering the listener with the vast emptiness of galactic gulfs. A drug for drifting into perplexing dreams, Googolplex is just right for prog insomniacs. don't look for leviathan spaceships, chittering aliens, or or overwhelming planetary vistas, here, you'll be stationed a long way from home, stunned, enraptured, and content to voyeurize.

      - Marc Tucker, Progression

In contrast, Eric Glick Rieman's "Ten to the Googolplex" (sounds like he's been reading Rudy Rucker's "Mind Tools") is a 55-minute exploration of a Rhodes electric piano prepared with various objects. The sounds are very pretty and often sound nothing like you'd expect from their source instrument, but the listener's attention quickly wanders in the cavernous reverb of Rieman's mix - it all sounds like it could be the perfect soundtrack to a TV documentary about subaquatic plants. That said, I'd be curious to hear Rieman use the instrument in an ensemble context with his colleagues upstate in Mills college, where he's currently based.

      - Dan Warburton (Signal to Noise, Fall 2001)

It would be all too easy to write this review using the information on the cover of this astonishing release: and I am yielding to some temptation, with interpolations.

Backcover: This recording was made using a rhodes electric piano which i prepared, modified, and extended by adding nails, zinc and steel rods, rubber washers and figurines, clothespins, paperclips, peanuts and other stuff. i play it with my hands, rocks, bolts, tools, a bass bow, marbles, bottle caps and sometimes even the keyboard! (& - not very often with the keyboard! The cover gives a hint of what the instrument looks like.)

Insidecover: whimbrel on white linen (1) long wails (& - the bit before the number is the title, the bit after Rieman's description. And its pretty accurate, this seven minute track comprises long tones, which are gentle and keening. Delicate and quite lovely). coiled plumbbob (2) scratch and throb (& - yes, this one is much more percussive and clattery, probably the various bits and bobs being hit, but maintains a strong musicality) whigmaleerian duologue (3) hornbow, chiff, flap, squeak, and chime (& - horns and percussion: simple noises are delicately placed in an organic growth. the mood continues to be largely melancholic or reflective, slowly paced, long tones, contemplative). planarian egress (4) crunch, drone and ting (& - not sure if it is the crunch or the ting, but the piano as piano occurs in this long piece [28 minutes to the others 10 or less, and not a minute too long]. the whole album is a exemplar of what Rieman can extract from his prepared piano, here perhaps the most extensive as it slowly and gently develops, soft and harsh tones flowing from the instrument, a darker ambient atmosphere emerging/created. Perhaps it is as a contrast to the more edgy improv stuff, but this really drew me in.)

The instrument draws you to this album, but the intense dense dark and moody ambient music that Rieman creates will keep this one returning to the cdplayer drawer. Beautiful, mysterious and organic, closer to Radulovich's missing thumb album in the Accretions list (its great to see labels stretch our preconceptions of their directions), this deserves to be heard and played far and wide. Gorgeous.

     - Jeremy Keens, Ampersand Etcetera

Eric Glick Rieman may be unknown to us but over the Atlantic in the US he's renowned for his minimalist works. A keen scholar in all things musical Eric's latest long player - Ten To The Googolplex - will introduce us to his surreal world filled with Hammond organ sounds, electronic bleeps, twisted tones and deep atmosphere. It's almost like this was the soundtrack to the latest slasher flick to grace the silver screen. The album is heavy on the suspense factor and seems to have a dark and daunting feel to it. Imagine Resident Evil meets Evil Dead - need I say any more?

     - JD 7, Wax

The artist's own description of his doings is ample food for thought: "This recording was made using a Rhodes electric piano which I prepared, modified and extended by adding nails, zinc and steel rods, rubber washers and figurines, clothespins, paperclips, peanuts and other stuff... I play it with my hands, rocks, bolts, tools, a bass bow, marbles, bottle caps and sometimes even the keyboard!"

This description alone immediately directs my associations towards Swedish hero of the household audio; Sune Karlsson of Danderyd, Stockholm, who produced 12 hours of sounds he found in - or evoked out of - his small Scandinavian apartment in 1988. He called his gargantuan feat "Phonia Domestica", and had Mr. Karlsson been just a little less meek and withdrawn from the world of commerce, his sonic insights into our closest surroundings would have reached the top of the out-of-wack charts globally!

Rieman is no newcomer to the field of manipulated and extended audio, as he has recently earned an MFA in electronic music at honorable Mills College, and as some of his co-workers of sound wave explorations go by the names of Fred Frith, Wadadad Leo Smith and Pauline Oliveros.

The first of his four pieces on this CD is called "whimbrel on white linen", and as an indication he adds "long wails".What you get at the outset is a tubular kind of movement, like a dreamy flight through the timbral overtones of a subway train running havoc inside a tunnel of time towards a distant future; a rail-bound force forward, but also a time machine ride to distant places in time and space in a supernatural merger of here and there, now and then, into an atmosphere where all places are here, all times now, in a compassionate Buddha-like insight and understanding of all the parts of the whole, where our petty troubles all have their significance in the pure reflection of light from a tear of God... The timbre-rich, fleeting murmurs and the screeching high pitches roll and float in a spiraling caress down the line, emitting an intense, meditative, contemplative, inward lust, and all a listener has to do is spread his material body across a flat surface and feel how his spiritual self rushes weightlessly and speedily down the eons, where the rest stops of the mind flicker by in a prolonged, pulsating flyby...

Track 2 is "coiled plumbbob", indicated "scratch and throb". Rocks of lime and granite shift position, in an inconspicuous grinding noise, which nonetheless lets on an immense power of matter in motion... Trickles of pinging and ponging soap-bubble events color the earthen sound wares, as murmurs from within, from below the crevassing crust, reach up and out into the fresh air like extended fingers of blind netherworld creatures... Sudden, miniscule rushes of electricity through the worlds of minerals spark and crackle, and ghostlike shapes are trying to arrange their crude building blocks into something of a higher significance, and in the rock an image rests; the image of images, and the shadowy ancestors of Light are trying to free it from the rock, their primitive tools insufficient in their quest for spiritual enlightenment and liberation out of time and matter... and the smoke of the rocks rises in the quarry as the ancients labor on...

Track 3 is called "whigmaleerian duologue", indicated "hornbow, chiff, flap, squeak and chime". Beginning on a lighter note, this emerges like enchanted chamber music out of the world of elves and fairies, molding their silvery bells out of dew and angelic tears, softly ringing their splendid, minuscule tinnitus timbres through your auditory meatus, setting your tympanic membranes in tender vibration, sending soothing, tickling currents of electricity up your nerve-path, to the perceptual halls of auditory bliss inside your cerebrum. Loud, low-pitched throbs, seemingly from a pitched-down tam tam or gamelan, vibrates throughout your anatomy, and this holistic massage of your bodily matter sets your spiritual self, soaring and hovering, in sympathetic motion... and it's all very, very beautiful...

Concluding track 4 is "planarian egress", indicated "crunch, drone and ting" This is by far the longest piece, almost half an hour. Deep, murmuring beats of rubber tree complexions move through a barrier of whisking bamboo, as secretive metallic glances from feline creatures reflect malevolently through the dark...Long, droning, timbre-rich sounds set a slow pace of apprehension and attention, as you listen for all the minute events that whisk and flash on the backdrop of the sweeping drones... You stay in position, hoping you'll see them before they notice you... The timbres form a web of sound extremely rich in detail, in an earth color, macrobiotic tapestry, into which your thoughts and dreams are woven in time with the instinctive inclinations of all the creatures of this planet, and up in the moist, leafy crowns of the trees the insects communicate their pheromones through the nocturnal worlds of Eric Glick Rieman's googolplex, like liaison officers of parallel worlds... and our faces come and go on the surface of human matter through the space-time continuum. Absentminded angelic choirs rise in peripheral perceptions out of shiny, metallic timbres, and the music recedes into reconciliation with itself, joining God in a perpetual motion\ through the galaxy clusters.

     - Ingvar Sono Loco

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