Copley Medal, the solo synth project of Dais Records founder Ryan Martin, is particular. On his recent Prime Ruin cassette outing, Teskind, Martin predominantly wields a Eurorack modular synthesizer, though he makes way for a few custom standalone synth units on B-side track “Yass.” An adept synth user, Martin’s expansive knowledge informs his highly customized modular set up; as such, rather than stick to a specified sound or formula on Teskind, Martin focuses his three-track meditation on one mood. Spoiler alert: that mood is creeping dread.
As a whole, Teskind benefits from its textural variety, weaving together both slowly rhythmic and ambient components. Martin manages to maintain a notable intensity throughout his compositions, never falling into a lithe lull or a flowery flourish: the whirls, scratches, throbs, and undulations of his synthesizers are sufficiently diverse and enticing. There is something here for fans of SPK, Alessandro Cortini, and Nurse with Wound, but also fans of effective drone artists like Tim Hecker or even Brian Eno.
Though the entire release was compiled as condensed takes of compositions for live performance, the first two tracks are more “written” or “set in stone,” so to speak. The third track, “Manjurite Con,” was almost serendipitous. In a series of messages to and from Martin, he does describe it as being an accidental, improvised recording, though recording studios and practice spaces do seem to have minds of their own, surreptitiously picking up tinseled tidbits of music on just the right occasions. To provide some backstory, the release highlight, “Manjurite Con,” was unknowingly captured by a room mic as he was “jamming.” A few weeks later, Martin discovered the recordings, which successfully captured both synth and natural sounds. It’s electrifying and personal, a rare glance into the madman’s workstation—not that you’re mad, Ryan, it’s just a saying—and makes the release special in the face of monolithic, pristine synthscapes and horror soundtracks.
B2) Manjurite Con