Volume 6 of the Mugen Series unites Headboggle (Derek Gedalecia) and Quicksails (Ben Billington), two veterans of the experimental underground and prodigal sons of Ohio, for a split tape of mind-expanding synthesis on the maximal and minimal poles of the spectrum.
Ben Billington has sonically smashed skulls in an obscene number of projects in the Chicago avant scene, contributing his ballistic beyond-free jazz drumming to the likes of Tiger Hatchery, ADT, Circuit Des Yeux, and Ryley Walker, to name a few. As Quicksails, Billington applies his rhythmic sensibilities to kaleidoscopic solo performances – as documented on over a dozen releases for labels like NNA Tapes, Digitalis, and Spectrum Spools (2013’s Mayville Dream LP). Billington’s “Mountain Suite” for the Mugen Series lives up to its title as a towering session of live synthesis that presents more ideas and disparate zones in its nineteen minute duration than many projects manage across multiple full-length releases. Squelching synth tones and live percussion missives share the spread with woozy drones and thick bursts of bass as Billington stacks his sound sources and samples into a dense collage of rhythms and textures. The session dips into hushed sequences aligned with tom patterns before decaying into a gurgling midpoint streaked with eerie filter washes. To cap it off, Billington breaks into a passage of ecstatic pinball-core blips most directly inspired by, of all people, Headboggle – illustrating the cycle of influence and inspiration that guides both artists into new permutations of their craft.
Derek Gedalecia has commanded the attention of the avant/noise underground as Headboggle (sometimes Head Boggle) for nearly a decade now, showcasing his unpredictable live performances and omnivorous synth mastery in DIY venues across the country – and on over 60 physical releases on labels like Baked Tapes, 905 Tapes, Spectrum Spools (2012’s self-titled LP), and his own Greedmink imprint. The Headboggle catalog speeds into the future as a continuing experiment with new equipment, compositional processes, and live performance tactics, as each release pushes the boundaries of his gear and his mind into more and more maniacal post-post-Subotnick free-for-alls. “Serge Solo,” Gedalecia’s hallucinogenic live set for the Mugen Series, was recorded at San Francisco City College when the maestro had access to the institution’s Serge modular synth. A far cry from the bonkers kitchen-sink synth-noise of some Headboggle releases, the session crawls at an imperceptible pace through a series of disembodied bleeps, processed through analog delay units and separated by lengthy swathes of silence. Untethered from considerations of rhythm, structure, or harmony, Gedalecia approaches the session as a liberating study in tone and structural drama, relishing in each of its sudden bursts of activity as much as the contrasting empty space between them.