My Cat Is an Alien - "The Cosmological Eye Trilogy" 3CD set (Last Visible Dog)

Christian Marclay & Okkyung Lee/ My Cat Is An Alien - "From the earth to the Spheres" Vol.7 (Opax Records)

No time to breathe lately, but this blog has "week" in the title for a this'll be quick, and unfittingly so, as the clock-expanding work of Italian duo My Cat Is An Alien deserves reams of attentive time. These guys had been on my to-do list for way too long (especially the stuff on Starlight Furniture and Ecstatic Peace that I inexplicably slept on); luckily I finally got to dig in via a gift of what must be their most epic work, the 3-CD Cosmological Eye Trilogy on a label familiar with epic releases, Last Visible Dog. Seven tracks spread across the 3.5 hours, and I can't think of many bands for whom such extreme durations are more necessary (there are some for whom such durations are as necessary, but few moreso)...MCIAA tracks are so beyond-time that the fact that "Into the Sleeping Beauty Galaxy" lasts 55 minutes seems fully logical yet oddly impossible - there's no way a human hour could last this short or long. In fact the entire set evokes the time-fucked aspects of space travel explored in "2001"; when Bowman sees himself as an old man and then turns into a baby, time explodes in all directions, and the same goes with this duo's extraplanetry, perception-defying music.

Of course MCIAA's stuff is drenched in space references (which they explain nicely here), but they don't really play space rock - more like space noise, or heavy atmopshere - i.e. they're not making music so much as they're building environments. Each track is filled with windy drones, percussive mysteries, distant oscillations, and unidentified events, and sounds less like a collection of sounds than a document of a place, some outer region made of natural reverberations, intelligent transmissions, and unknown phenomena. The "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite" moment comes on disc two's 40-minute "Into the Sombrero Galaxy," whose metallic whine is so overwhelming you can practically see Bowman's color-reflecting helmet shaking in the speakers. I wish I could further describe this set's massive weight, but I'm too bleary - just check out the track below (and some killer live footage via Ecstatic Peace) and if you still need more explanation, I'm not sure I'll ever be sharp enough to oblige.
I've also been blessed with a digital version of vol. 7 of MCIAA's From the Earth to the Spheres collaboration series (each of which feature an MCIAA side and a guest side, the guests this time being Christian Marclay and Okkyung Lee, who provide an exhiliarating 20-minute jolt of ripped vinyl and torn strings). The LP is super limited, but apparently a CD version is coming out soon via Opax. The MCIAA side begins quietly, with two notes plucked out through a muffled haze, but eventually radio fog, screeching fuzz, and blurted feedback all emerge, culminating in a hypnotic locked groove of high-pitched skippage. An even newer CD on the mighty Important is imminent, and there's still tons of back catalogue to seek out - give them a few more years and MCIAA could easily be, like, I dunno, the Dead C. of this whatever-ish era...
(Marc Master, April 2006, Noiseweek)