It was only a matter of time before Rick Myers’ journey as a visual artist, film maker and writer finally converged with the phonographic format, and for those who have followed his 30 year developments from celebrated graphic designer through to his self-propelled multidisciplinary artistic exploits, it has been nothing less than a waiting game. Alongside a seemingly endless list of performances and exhibitions which count MoMA NYC, The National Poetry Library in London, White Columns in New York and The Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens amongst his hosts (not to mention The Library of Congress, Harvard University, Stanford University and Tate Britain who are custodians of his Artist Books and project archives) It is perhaps Rick’s lesser known involvement with Primary Information publishers and his painstaking work in restoring and reissuing the seminal Broken Music index that will resonate most profoundly with record buyers and patrons of a particular strain of so-called Non-Music. It might take Rick a while to agree with the notion that his own long awaited aural gestures would at one time reserve their own entry in Ursula Block’s and Michael Glasmeier’s said tome, but he’d be fighting a losing battle.
There’s also a chance that none of the above is particularly relevant given that this Mancunian raised and Massachusetts based “doer” could have released a record like this at anytime in his life, the question was always, when? Speaking as a longtime friend, the noise on this record might as well be the sound of the enigmatic “Rick Myers” if one had asked a trained composer to score music based on the man’s personality alone… Obviously I’m not surprised that Rick made this record himself, but I am very pleasantly astonished how accurately he has managed to further communicate his own art via this very relevant medium. To bring words like emotive, sensitive, beguiling and, at a risk, magical, to the table when discussing art-records made in a similar mould would be a rare exception, but with Obstacle #80: Indices, Rick Myers might be breaking more ground than he intended. For those of us that require categories such as non-music, anti-music and broken-music to predetermine how we listen to a record… well why on earth do you keep using the word Music in the first place? Obstacle #80: Indices is maybe a genuine non-music record for people who also actually like music a bit.
Let’s say the noises engraved on this piece of plastic are a handy by-product of Rick Myers’ artistic disciplines that will also appeal to people who appreciate Popol Vuh, François Tusques, Karel Goeyvaerts, Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, AR Luciani, Katalin Ladik, Jean Guérin, Igor Whakevitch, Milan Grygar, Jean Dubuffet and even the prepared piano film soundtracks of Andrzej Korzynski and Jean-Claude Vannier. Does that sound good? The nuts and bolts behind the making of this album is the business of Rick’s art practice (which you can look forward to reading about elsewhere) but let’s just say: You had me at Two Open Pianos, Magnetic Fields and Transducer Mic. The mechanically manipulated spoken text found here is also the sound of a unabashed Mancunian putting his balls on the line some 3,500 miles away from his comfort zone, which for me, as someone who buys too many records, encapsulates a very precious energy seldom committed to vinyl in this elongated apple zed era. For those who hold phrases like real deal in reverence then this belongs in your custody, for those who have not yet “broken” the seal, then listen now and learn later.
An essential in-point that returns a universe of dividends." - Andy Votel