DWAYNE RIFLE “Dwayne Rifle” C30
(White Reeves Productions)

What’s he building in there? That’s a Tom Waits reference, friends, and I’m poaching it without any irony. Waits bangs on a lot of stuff, and Mule Variations is no different. I ask a similar question of Dwayne Rifle, aka Joshua “Royal” Tenenbaum (god sorry), but he’s not banging away with a hammer on some sort of carpentry project; instead, he’s conjuring up new forms of communication with his “amplifications” and his “electronics.” Sure, the message is the same, figurative sticks jabbing  us interrogatively in our chests as we try to torture meaning and human connection out of one another. Like shortwave radios set to capture the oscillations of static and unintelligible data between numbers stations, Dwayne Rifle sets himself to documenting the current feeble attempts at making sense of the new interactive dynamic where almost every participant broadcasts thoughts and feelings through a language center completely calibrated for misunderstanding. I guess the result sounds pretty cool if you’re into the abstract manifestation of sound, but as evidence of interaction it simply reinforces the notion that we are awash in sheer noise. So what is he building in there? What’s he soldering together from the wreckage of humanity? Does it even resemble a human-composed thought? Do the subtle, tactile intonations imply forward movement or devolution? Are we celebrating and processing the minuscule and detailed or simply scraping the ground for psychological food, like rats on a subway track?

--Ryan Masteller