MARK FRANCOMBE Musician, Filmmaker, Game-designer & Kipple-monger


Distorted drones, scratchy clicks, bit-crunched rhythms, rumbling tones; all the glitchy techniques are here in the work of sound and visual artist Charlie DeVico from Chapel Hill NC USA… 
And it’s really rather good!

DeVico, working, he claims, with a seven year old PC with outdated processor creates a space with his sound, albeit a rather scary little space, that is mysterious, beautiful and harsh. The Merzbow influences, the Zoviet France influences and the Coil influences clearly shine through, but what Mr DeVico does rather well, is to form a sound picture that works like a film still or a video on pause. You can see a place, a situation, and you can hear its ambience, but you are not sure what came before, or where it will go.

Often a drone or a muffled rhythm will start the track, and will then remain for its entirety, but far from becoming boring or repetitive, it makes a base for other tones, both nice and nasty to feed in and out of the picture.

For this review I picked three tracks at random from his audio page.

On Jesuit Sky Glaze, we are in some kind of plastic jungle. A bobbing cheesy beatbox (thankfully muted and understated to give it a quasi-ethnic and far away sound) provides the aforementioned thread through the piece. Over this glide great swathes of processed foliage. Sheets of phasing breathe and growl nearby. Nasal, bit-reduced buzzsaws hack at polystyrene trees. A swarm of insects flies by, and hundreds of wings flap in your ears from some synthesized waxy winged creature. This could be a remix of Kraut-rockers, Neu by a young Cabaret Voltaire, a blend I wish I’d thought of myself!

We are in a tomb or cave on Purpose by Poisoned. Some beast is heard moving large blocks of granite deep within, the wind whistles past the opening as a storm blows outside and reverberating ethereal voices of prisoners cry and wail. We are trapped between them, unable to escape.

Behemoth Feed I (The first part of three that make up Devico’s downloadable Behemoth Feed EP) could be the recording from deep within a rusted old ship, massive grating turbines turning deep in the hull, accompanied by a mechanical warbling of… oh I don’t know… a vacuum cleaner perhaps? All works nicely until a really horrible Merz-screech of… well screeching actually, thwacks you round the ears and shouts and screams as if to say. “Hey! You! Reviewer!!! This is noise music not a fucking movie soundtrack album!” And you would have to agree. Good Stuff!

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