[sic] Magazine

Daniel W J Mackenzie – Glass Permanent

Daniel W J Mackenzie is described as an audio and visual artist working in a variety of disciplines. As a musician he is known best for his Ekca Liena alias as well his contributions to noise/drone band Plurals. He is also a photographer of some renown and he’s curated music, film and art. He came to my attention via terrific label Sound In Silence and I was keen to hear this latest record, Glass Permanent. It is disappointing, therefore, to report that Glass Permanent is not my bag at all, leaning more toward the ‘art installation’ aspects of Mackenzie’s competencies than the musical.

If I’m totally honest, I was tempted to give up half way through. That’s against all my principals and in the end I didn’t bail. However as I sit through my second full listen my patience is getting a thorough examination. The opening to ‘Lost-Jewels-(Glockenspiel-ii)’ is particularly testing. Bells of some description (Maybe Steel? Maybe Tubular? Likely Glocks) are agitated as though somebody were trying to get a tune out of old milk bottles. The problem isn’t so much the media (the milk bottles) as the tune. There isn’t one. Half way through its twelve-minute running time, a synth key cuts an ominous atmosphere, yet it is a short lived moment of drama because we soon return to that annoying tinkling. I wonder where I’m supposed to be? At the yacht marina? Maybe an Asian temple? The likelihood is that I’m completely missing the point and yet it feels as though this music should accompany something.

And the something is missing.

Elsewhere we get shimmering noise, rain and eerie effects. I’m reminded of the closing credit sequence to one of the Gerry Anderson TV series of my youth. (Not one of the marionette ones, rather a live action – either UFO or Space 1999) Images of deep space were accompanied by blasted resonance creating a mood of utter hopelessness. They were quite nihilistic end credits as I recall – as though we were drifting further out, away from home and humanity. Very somber and disquieting. ‘Glass Interlude’ and ‘Missing Aura ii’ recall this feeling at least very effectively.

The title Glass Permanence feels like something Joy Division could have come up with. The same cannot be said of the music which lacks anything remotely like a song structure or even melodies of any kind. The clues were in the opening bio. Glass Permanence is more of an installation than composition to my way of thinking. Such that it is, it is also quite dark at times and certainly troubling. If that kind of thing is of interest to you, check it out.