Neuro… No Neuro (NNN) is a moniker of the electronic musician Kirk Markarian, an avid synthesist, drummer, abstract painter, and graphic designer residing on the alluvial plain of the Sonoran Desert, in dry and dusty Tucson, Arizona.
For fans of early Mille Plateaux (Oval, Alva Noto et al), NNN will appeal to those attune with minimal glitch shapes and structures that all seem to meld as a cohesive whole. – Igloo Magazine
First introduced to us by similarly named Neurogami (aka James Britt), NNN caught our ears almost instantly. There’s something really captivating about the ways in which all the playful glitches and the skittering percussion end up being fused together in Kirk’s work. It all sounds intensely visual, almost certainly owing to his background in graphic design.
We couldn’t help but ask him a couple of questions about the current state of affairs. Read on…
How are you dealing with quarantine?
The quarantine has not changed my own life drastically. While it has created an mild change in the way things were, my own situation has not changed much, except my wife works from home with me now. I love it! When I’m home alone, I turn on the T.V. for the background noise. Otherwise, for the past four years, I’ve been working freelance from home. My interaction with people outside of the house has been relatively low-key. I prefer working this way.
Also, there’s plenty to do in-between. Cooking, cleaning, landscaping. We’ve begun assembling garden beds outdoors and are growing other plants indoors using hydro/aeroponic gardens. These things provide a nice break from low points in creativity-based activities. When I’m not creating music/art, or watching T.V., working on physical tasks is a great way to pass the time and give my mind a break.
On the artistic side of things, the quarantine has allowed for increased exposure of my various projects. With great advice from several people, I’ve boosted my musical presence through creating videos, as well as preparing mixes with other artists material for online radio.
In my spare time I’ve also been working on a project with an old friend, David Criner, from my home-town of Chicago (DCKM). It’s an interesting blend of acoustic guitar with a mixture analog synthesis and digital processing. Being a very different way for me to work, I am enjoying both the challenge and the end-result.
Another thing I have found that I enjoy is working on is ‘mastering’ my own audio. It’s quite rewarding to learn how to master audio bit-by-bit, adjust volume and presence without overloading the digital meters. The real fun in this is seeing what I can do with Reapers built-in plugins and non-VST/AU plugins. These plugins are fantastic and FREE with the DAW, moving my audio into areas it did not exist before. I’ve gone back to original mixes in Renoise and readjusted them just to see how much LESS I can do to create a better overall sound. I’m trying even more to get it ’right’ at the source; where the mastering phase uses less plugins and is more about mix finishing (much more than I used to do before).
What advice would you give to other musicians/artists dealing with quarantine?
Sometimes, for me, all it takes is switching to visual design to re-ignite audio work. That’s how my animation/music videos came about. My main method is to really try to get away from your art when you find it’s not flowing. Do work where you don’t have to think hard about anything other than the task at hand; digging dirt, hammering nails, whatever it takes.
The brain needs a break, and it’s great exercise if you can do it. Since we’re all in this quarantine together, moments between may seem longer. A phrase I take to heart in a song by Johnny Cash – “Get Rhythm” – tends to work best for me. As much as I don’t want to work physically, I find that after a good stretch of manual labor, I feel much better. Definitely not a sophisticated method, but it always works for me.
Things in the Works / Recent Projects
Neuro…No Neuro – Home Office EP (Audiobulb Records)
The ‘Home Office’ EP is the latest from the artist Neuro… No Neuro. With four albums out via Audiobulb Records (3 available now, one more more in June, 2020) this EP moves in a slightly different direction, Home Office is the culmination of skills and technique learned during the creation of three albums for Audiobulb Records – ab-nnn.bandcamp.com/.
DCKM – S/T (Self Released)
This is the debut record from DC.KM. Instrumental tracks combine acoustic guitar sounds with digitized and electronic elements in a sincere effort to address the future potential of beings on planet Earth.
Neuro…No Neuro – Peeling (Self Released)
Released separately from his Audiobulb Records albums, ‘Peeling’ shares with the listener the in-between of it all. Memories between surgeries, moments in time spent with people that cannot understand. All the things you see that cannot be explained to others without conceptual understanding are here, and nothing but pure experience can explain it.
A Particular Timeline (Audiobulb Records)
Following Neuro… No Neuro’s release “Scans”, a new assortment of tracks has emerged. While Scans explored much of the process of the last brain surgery, “A Particular Timeline” moves solidly into the day-to-day. From incoherent thought, to pondering one’s own timeline, and moments of sheer longing, A Particular Timeline expresses what words cannot.