Man Goat Star


Chris Strickland
Animal Expert

Demonic goat star constellation sleeve art? Check. An illustration of a thirteenth century (?) aesthete exposing his liver and gibleture? Erm, check. Are these images selected to infer certain moods and atmospheres? … a meeting point between the kozmik and the visceral perhaps? Or am I clutching at straws? It certainly feels that way, as any factual tidbits concerning Chris Strickland, an elusive Montreal-based field recorder/collagist-type, are pretty damn thin on the proverbials, with the search engine bloodhounds clearly failing to pick up much of his scent. Though whether this is by happy accident or design is again unknown. Flying blind like this, one still can’t help letting the spools of the imagination run just a little bit faster over this wide- ranging patchwork soundquilt. And they certainly do.

A five years in the making labour of love is “A.E.” and was pieced together in two separate bouts: from 2006 to 2007 and then from 2011 to 2013. So with the artist’s own words in mind…please “disengage the loudness button (this is a very dynamic music…”) and descend into the opening chasm, “Vanity Arc”, where speaker-levitating drones and tiny glowing needlepoints of static electricity vie with bursts of shortwave jabber and what seems to be the INAgrm studios sustaining attacks from wave upon wave of electric bees. Pretty much a run of the mill day in the Land of Strick by all accounts. This, and the jarring jump cuts and “Woundesque” pug-uglitudes of “Mammoth Husbandry” both employing various sound files from the archives of Toronto-based experimentalist Joda Clément. Again, following close to type, the closer “Vaguely Human”; a fragmentary, monochrome behemoth of 24.54 length employs there goes the neighbourhood, sub-bass rumblings, which are interwoven with numerous dots, dashes, commas and colons, which try to give sense/reason to a chaotic, info-drenched sentence. A heroic act, but one doomed to failure as disorder wins hands down.

This was available in a scroogily frugal run that just scraped into three figures, which probably means that its visibility is now reduced to a mere fuzzy half memory. A burning shame really, as Chris’s work thus far, is certainly worth searching out. But don’t consider cancelling any future appointments in the hope of nabbing a quick follow up, as I have a feeling that could be a long time in coming.

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