New Music, Reviews

Eugene Carchesio’s Taster’s Menu: A Summary

A pivotal figure in Brisbane’s original underground identity, Mr. E has humbly rollicked with The Deadnotes, The Lost Domain, and even guested on Small World Experience’s rather under-appreciated EP. Rush the solo work of celebrated fine artist and extra-musician Eugene Carchesio though, and you’ll forever be picking the infinite crumbs from your chin.

In the sickly heat of Brisbane, Mr. E sweats astoundingly robust cassette-recorded compositions. Some are gushing, seconds-to-a-minute long exercises in personally multi-tracked guitar, Casio, drums and saxophone, and all contain a ludic tangiblity, whether they’re appended with his known DNE moniker or not. On the other hand, his latest material compounds this fine aesthetic thread and serves up an illusory upturning of minimal electronic music and process-based composition.

Reaching as far back as 1995 – according to his summative memory – Taster’s Menu functions as a Carchesio-only compilation from Room40, condensing several laptop offspring incubated in the palpably domestic quarters of their prolific father. IDM-suggestive clicks, whirs and buzzes simultaneously condone and nauseate the predicted text of computer musicianship across its opening tracks, before the binary code is stalled for a signature 4-track cassette dub of Mr. E’s Casio MT45 – a moment of complete majesty and contemplation. Taster’s Menu appears based on this track-to-track counter-pairing, and with these bounces between instrumentation and method materialise a unifying strain. For Carchesio:

“They are all my children with their own concerns and influences. It is the result of someone sitting down at home (domestic as you so aptly put it) and talking to oneself – so to speak. It is more convenient to play around with a computer.”

An example of Carchesio’s visual art, comprising twelve matchbox constructions.

Each contained piece is his child, and this as the appropriate perspective of a deeply invested artist. Through Carchesio’s recent exploration of live performance the image of a hobbyist programmer is ratified for a passer-by. Projected above a bespectacled Mr. E, synthetic lava whirlpools and the approximations of natural chaos conjure the screensavers of an idle PC monitor, and evoke the readymade programming behind this music-making. The notes and audible bits each eschew and complement the other, and within this familiarity of images there is humour. With such iconoclastic influences at play, Carchesio seems to make vintage the rarely-celebrated personal computer medium, with unrelenting interest and seasoned care.

“Even though i have been making electronic music for over ten years I have only just started performing this stuff live. I think it’s good to have something visual with computer gigs, otherwise its like looking at someone prepare their tax live.”

***

Eugene Carchesio’s Taster’s Menu can be downloaded free from Room40.

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