Ryan Wade Ruehlen – Nervous/Splintered/Circular/Breath

10.6.20 by Ryan Masteller

We’re all in the same boat. Everybody’s been stuck inside the house during this unprecedented time of isolation, so we get it – we understand each other. We’re all still in our pajamas; our hair is way longer than it should be, and don’t get me started on the beards. Oh, the beards! If your face is anything like my face, then you wake up daily going toe to toe with a follicular nightmare that barely registers as anything other than a crumb-filled bath mat. You could wipe your feet on my face.

Ryan Wade Ruehlen is one of the lucky ones, because he got outside – he made it, like he was busting out of jail and hopping the first train to anywhere other than here. Of course he had his saxophone and laptop and effects pedals and whatever else he’s using all tucked away in his hobo bindle – surely he wasn’t planning on artistically expressing his frustrations with our current situation without his primary tools. He also probably needed to bring a generator or some kind of apparatus that provides electricity – the desert doesn’t have any outlets.

Yeah, he did this from the Sonoran Desert and Tucson, Arizona. Got his sax and his gear all out in the middle of nowhere. Then he cooked up some serious pieces for what he’s calling the Decentralized Sonic Quarantine Network (DSQN), livestreaming the whole thing, then taking the audio from the stream and presenting it to us here. The cool thing is that it’s an ongoing project! But the tape in my hand is a finite object, so I guess I get what I get. Which, thankfully, is a lot! The four pieces are all damn long, ranging from almost nine minutes to over twenty-four. And there’s a LOT to chew on – Ruehlen starts with saxophone, utilizing circular breathing techniques, and adds on his electronic and loopy accoutrements. The result is sort of noise, sort of electroacoustic, sort of jazz, sort of modern classical, all experimental excellence.

Somebody’s gotta keep us sane throughout this pandemic. Might as well be Ryan Wade Ruehlen! The tape is available directly from the artist under the imprint Desert Spell Recordings, which I imagine is his own thing.

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