“I am sitting in a room different from the one you are in now. I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed. What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have.”
– Alvin Lucier
Listening to SFV Acid’s The Dwell while in a coffee shop was probably a bad idea. As I listened to the divinely grungy ambience of “Chronicled In C:affeine Headache,” it was like witnessing my environment get sucked into a black hole: I could hear drinks in the actual coffee shop being made, a call for an iced mocha, the door opening and closing, an ambiguously local indie acoustic band playing throughout. SFV Acid a.k.a. Zane Reynolds made me aware of all of this, aware of my dromoscopic state; only he was making fun of this entire act — or maybe he was just innocently gesturing? Regardless, I felt hyper-aware, lofty, and somewhat self-indulgent.
The album itself, as a form, is largely reminiscent of Suzanne Ciani’s analog sound effects, the breaking down and reproduction of the banal. (Her Coca-Cola pop and pour sounds are specifically — possibly unconsciously — referenced in “Chronicled In C:affeine Headache.”) It is devoid of context, but that is most certainly its position: negational, vacuous, and innocuously so.
It is safe to say that Reynolds has a grin on his face, intentionally toying with the listener and his surroundings. He’s an advocate for his hometown (hence the name: San Fernando Valley), and perhaps this is his way of infecting the outside world. Reynolds specializes in the cantankerous, the scatterbrained, and the lack thereof. It’s all very reminiscent of Harmony Korine’s films: gritty, hopeless, deviously playful, and brutally, surprisingly didactic. Reynolds, in other words, is trying to pull the wool over our eyes, and all we get is an adolescent smirk and, when questioned on his arc and mode of expression, a trust-fundy response (he makes music because he’s bored). He simply doesn’t seem to care.
Each track on The Dwell is built on this lack of drive, yet all of them are so perfectly constructed, so perfectly out of sync. Under normal circumstances, these are mood tracks that I would over-intellectualize. But Reynolds’ music, like many UNO NYC releases, has no grand manifesto or goal; it’s textural and contextual trash. The Dwell is a dromoscopic state, a mode of being, and though it can be frustrating to succumb to, it’s an undeniably fun and strangely cerebral experience.