Universal Eyes

Power, Community, Tech

Over 25 years in the making, the landmark noise-music project of Universal Eyes has come back together to create its sublime and disturbing music again. Universal Eyes is the precise sub-group of Aaron Dilloway, Gretchen Gonzales Davidson, John Olson, and Nate Young, who have been in one way or another involved in Michigan's noise and trip metal scene since the early 90s. A coming together of Wolf Eyes, which began as Dilloway and Young's project but continued with Young and Olson, and Universal Indians, a trio which, in addition to Gonzales Davidson and Olson, had Bryan Ramirez as a member. Playing myriad shows and venues in the Detroit area in the 90s, the members spent some time focusing on their other musical projects in the 2000’s before coming back together in 2018.

Visually representing this radical ideology is the responsibility of Young and Olson, who put together all of the promotional material and design elements of the records and shows. Their style is abstract in keeping with the music's telos, attempting to create a free-standing visual that can also be correlated or recombined with the music. "Often crude, beautiful and organic" the work can range from blistering horror-style illustrations to dread-filled scenes of comic and surreal collage.

The instruments that Universal Eyes' members are using are most often homemade, reconstructed, pulled apart or modified with duct tape in some way.

The musical trajectory is decidedly improvisatory, with only the idea of what effect they are hoping to have on the listener. Noise sound is about adventuring, trying to discover new possibilities for sensation or inviting the listener to participate by "remixing" the track in their own way or space. Experimental music is inherently about a different way of communicating, and that communication necessitates performance, because the live modality is the space in which organic modifications can be made to adapt to what is working in the piece, not unlike free jazz. Universal Eyes continue to be pioneers in experimental music and standard-bearers of Detroit's musical innovation, now spanning multiple decades.

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Statement by Omar El-Sabrout