Rick Reed is a self-taught composer/improviser who has been working in the Austin underground music scene for the past 30+ years. "Dark Skies at Noon" is his definitive statement. Over the years, Reed’s sound has taken on a life of its own – that of a magnificent monster capable of both ferocious intensity and lulling tranquility, yet perfectly controlled under Reed's masterful care.
"Dark Skies at Noon"'s title track was utilized by legendary filmmaker Ken Jacobs as soundtrack to some of his recent works. And it is an apt accompaniment to Jacobs' surreal, otherworldly images (the Jacobs/Reed collaboration is ongoing). The second piece in this collection is a live recording (made by Tom Carter of Charalambides) featuring ex-AMM guitarist Keith Rowe in a stunning duet. The album's closing piece is pure Rick Reed, demonstrating his wholly unique sound and compositional style in an ear-bending, yet always restrained blur of sine waves, field recordings, short-wave radio, and Moog synthesizer.
Reed has defined his sound while performing solo and with various groups including Frequency Curtain and the Abrasion Ensemble. Since the mid 90s, Reed has released several LPs and CDs on labels such as Ecstatic Peace, Beta-lactam Ring, Pale Disc Japan and Elevator Bath.
"This is one of those discs that I fall in love with after a few minutes. Rick Reed is a self-taught composer based in Austin Texas who uses sinewave generators, field recordings, shortwaves and Moog to build crawling soundscapes in which every event is masterfully placed and highlighted for several long minutes before being gradually replaced by the next one. Trapped under a thick crust of sonic detritus, Reed's frame-by-frame succession of slow, electric calls and subterranean concentration defines its identity over the course of these three long compositions, of which the title track is somehow the most transcendentally "relaxing", constructed as it is upon deep drones and low-end movements. 'Dark Skies at Noon' is also the soundtrack to filmmaker Ken Jacobs' recent work, described in the press release as "otherwordly" (never having seen it myself, I can only take their word for it). Travis Weller adds violin in the most dramatic parts (reminiscent of Christoph Heemann's albums like 'Aftersolstice' or 'Days of the Eclipse'), and another illustrious presence in 'Ceremony' is Keith Rowe. His prepared guitar is immediately recognizable, but the track certainly doesn't sound like an AMM offshoot and Rowe works the piece without compromising Reed's personality. The record ends with the harsher atmospheres of 'Ghosts of Energy,' where Reed's dissonant narrative zigzags across the straight streets of logical expectation, its blurred spurts of barely repressed violence finally rechanneled to produce positive energy." - Massimo Ricci, Paris Transatlantic
The physical edition of "Dark Skies at Noon" was released by Elevator Bath as a compact disc in 2005. The audio presented here was remastered in 2016.