Ron Rice's Transmissions I-V is the culmination of years of art, media, and musical experimentation, from a Seattle resident who prides himself on his deeply cultured background. An MFA in film allowed the post-industrial/ambient musician many opportunities to explore his creative side, and previously he has released experimental rock music under half a dozen pseudonyms.
Now, Rice is exploring brand new territory that is always complex and sometimes completely abstract, but still accessible. Not only is this intensely avant-garde album full of flickering, crackling ambient white noise, it is only a small fragment of a much larger project which Rice has fully committed himself to. It includes not only music but also numerous other mediums, including visual art, painting, sculpture, assemblage, and live performance, and seeks to provoke thought regarding the relationship between signal and noise in auditory communication.
While "Transmission I" sounds very much like a malfunctioning radio, "Transmission II" calls to mind the sounds of a large airport, with roars, hums, drones, and occasional bursts of chaotically arbitrary noise to break the uneasy stillness. It sounds like a fantastic dream and a terrible nightmare all at once, and the fact that every strange and frightening sound was created with a simple analog synthesizer seems difficult to fathom.
By the time "Transmission III" begins, whirring like an engine and beeping like an alarm, punctuated by moments of stark silence, you will likely already have formed an opinion one way or another. But either way, it is unlikely you will feel unmoved in some way by this album. This style of music seeks deep within, providing subconscious and utterly primal answers to the questions we all grapple with during our lifetimes. It disturbs us and startles us into awareness.
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