On Andy Boay's Bandcamp his cassette Music From RIP Eifdn AOD Sulie is tagged as: “devotional hard pop sick ways basho video winter Montréal.” Well, I guess that sums it up, right? Time to pack up my pen of adjectives and go home. All the brain sussing out, ear mining has been done for me (and for you as browsers of the limitless online record store), so what can I tell you that you can't learn from these tags and thirty seconds of streaming?
First, the background. According to Boay's label Ataraxia (which is a new imprint organized by Toronto psych-fiends Telephone Explosion) the tape is the soundtrack to Boay's video art triptych and it was,”birthed whilst tucked in deep and warm during a Montreal sun-less daytime winter storm.” The music was, “recorded live in a single take to VHS at home,” and the performance “utilized a rig of coupled piggyback RCAs, one monitor and a couple of cameras that combine and mutually affect audio and video signals,” which all boils down to trippy music for trippin' trippers to stare at while trippin'.
The three parts of the visual half of this piece amount to videodrone abstract expressionism meets Stanley Donwood. The jagged analog vid edges make me want to call a repair person to fix my vertical hold, but then I snap out of my trance and remember this is youtube. A revolving color palette keeps the three sections interesting, but ultimately the visual is epileptic VHS shenanigans badly in need of tracking. Of course the shapes and lines work well enough together to make something unique that could stop casual gallery patrons in their tracks.
Musically Boay's composition is built around drone and fingerpicking acoustic guitar patterns. This, to me, is the more successful part of the overall artwork. On top of the “six organs” guitar playing, heavily smothered vocal lines figure into the first and second sections. I cannot for the life of me make out if there are lyrics or not, but the sound is integrated so that it comes across more like another instrument than simply a lead vocalist spilling his guts. There's so much wheezing drone that I'm taken back to sound of John Cale's viola on those early Velvet Underground tunes here too. Boay's music is surprisingly clean for a live take and mixed with an ear for details. The final part of the work features the most “production” as the music is glitchy and caves in on itself before the piece begins a long, slow fade into the abyss.
Andy Boay's psychedelic video art/soundtrack add up to a satisfying experience, but one that is too fleeting (and a bit one note) to be much of a “major” work. If anything, the qualities here peak my interest and I want to hear more from this starship trooper as he follows his muse beyond the land where teardrops explode.