Compound Eye - Journey from Anywhere [Editions Mego - 2013]The always reliable experimental label Editions Mego presents Journey from Anywhere by Compound Eye. For those unfamiliar, Compound Eye is the project of Drew McDowall of Coil fame and Tres Warren from Psychic Ills and Messages. This double LP in the second full length from this act, recorded in New York City during various sessions between 2010 to 2012. The press release said this album inspires travel. That’s all fine and dandy, but will we enjoy where Compound Eye wants to takes us?
Side A opens with “Foehn,” the shortest track on the album. Running barely 2 minutes in length, it’s a short, but spritely electronic composition. It’s an odd intro to an album I was expecting to be somber and morose. However, I’m pleasantly surprised in it’s cheeriness, which is much more in line with something I’d expect from Stereolab, rather than from a former member of Coil. The following track “Archaic Atmosphere” is much more epic in length (11:20) and sounds like it could be a lost track from Emerald’s Does it Look Like I’m Here?. Said record being one of favorites of the past decade, this track really scratches me where I itch. The track is comprised of long droning plateaus of bright-sounding electronics, with a wavy, droopy synth weaving its way in the background. It kind of reminds me of the sounds of water being moved by a finger around the rim of a multiple glasses only synthesized. The final track on this side “The Hydraulic Regime Vibrates from Within” follows a similar template as the previous track, only denser and focused more on low end tones. This makes the track sound deeper and more contemplative.
Side B contains a single epic composition entitled “Journey Into Anywhere.” Over the course of eighteen minutes we’re treated to sustained electronic drones with a definite 60’s, eastern vibe. It kind of reminds me of the meditative harmonium sessions I would hear at the Hare Krishna temples I visited in my youth.
Side C compiles 3 shorter pieces. The tracks entitled “Open Interval 1” and “Open Interval 2” run around 4 minutes a piece and are treading back in Emeralds territory again. Two stripped down electronic synth jams that sound jovial and uplifting. The other track on this side “Cosmic Exhaust: The Selector” has a real sci-fi feel to it, rife with: wobbly theremin-esque synth waves, electronic pulses, and similar other-worldly sounds that could make this an effective soundscape to a Doctor Who episode.
Side D contains a single 14:22 track entitled “The Outer Sphere.” The track starts out with what sounds like an accordion played out in the distance while a reverberating ping drones on. It’s not till the track’s midway point that we’re greeted with some minimal synth work that plays out for a few minutes before ending much like the track began.
This album was quite a surprise and as someone who gravitates to minimal, droney synth work, this really hits my sweet spot. It’s a must have for fans of Emeralds, Jim Haynes, and really any number of great acts on Editions Mego. Yes, Compound Eye does encourage travel and if Journey from Anywhere is any indication, I’ll gladly take future travels with them again and again.