Daniel Menche: Eye on the Steel

Substractif comes out of hibernation with “Eye on the Steel” from Portland Oregon’s Daniel Menche. This marks our second release with one of the United States’ premiere sound artists as well as move towards a more experimental focus for Substractif.

The label has been dormant for the better part of a year. Up until now the artists that have defined the label have all been Canadian and primarily working in electronica. Over the first five releases we offered the debut CD releases by Tim Hecker, Polmo Polpo, Mitchell Akiyama as well as Tomas Jirku’s follow up to his “Variants”.

Our previous release by Daniel Menche, “Beautiful Blood”, focused on layering many different sounds and fashioning them into massive drones. The entire recording was made up of two tracks, both in excess of 30 minutes each. Unlike our previous release by Menche. “Eye on the Steel” will feature many shorter tracks. The material is more diverse in the respect that there are 13 different tracks, including Menche’s first entirely vocal based track.

The sound on “Eye on the Steel” is heavily based around drones, pulses and ambient noise, falling somewhere in the territories often treaded by labels such as Mego and Ant Zen. When we asked Menche what the sound sources behind “Eye on the Steel” were his response was that the record was his most diverse offering yet and included loads of different sound sources. His work often stems from sound sources as varied as the body (heart, skin, lungs, larynx) and natural field recordings relying on wind, animals or insects, water, fire, and stones to crude, lo-fi, and primitive electronics, broken microphones, damaged speakers, antique audio equipment, truck horns, mangled drones from instruments such as accordions, melodicas, organs, and bass guitars with heavy gauged strings.

The listening experience of “Eye on the Steel” is never static due to the wide variety of sounds. Particular highlights include the opening track, which is also the most reminiscent of “Beautiful Blood”. The second track features some glorious low-end rumbles that will truly put subwoofers to the test. Track ten, the recording’s longest track, mixes a beautiful combination of pulses and electronic noises that brings to mind the sound of Pan Sonic or Montreal’s Vromb.

Daniel Menche is now more active than ever, having performed alongside the likes of Oren Ambarchi, Autechre, Richard Devine, Francisco López, Merzbow, Phoenicia, Sunn ((O)), Thrones and countless others.

Release date: May 10, 2004

Label: Substractif

Album cover for Eye on the Steel by Daniel Menche

Photograph of Daniel Menche

More info on Daniel Menche