The Music of Nick Stevens

Mystic Ruler

Mystic Ruler is my creative outlet for soundscape and noise exploration. It began in 2014 as a way for me to explore new sounds and instruments in a way that wasn’t restricted by popular music conventions. Initially I began performing and working on Mystic Ruler when I rediscovered some old interviews I had recorded with my departed father. I would chop up snippets of those interviews on to various cassette tapes and run them through several tape echos, allowing them to degrade over time. Additionally I would incorporate sequenced ARP synthesizers and synthesized sounds and drones over the the tape echoes to create an improvised wash of hypnotic swirls. The shows were often short at around 20 minutes, but the sound was continuous without pauses. Listen on bandcamp.

Here, in the realm of decline, among momentary days, be the crystal cup that shattered even as it rang.

Later, I began to drive the sound towards something more minimalist and rhythmic as I became inspired by the sounds I was surrounded by constantly in Brooklyn. The nightlife at the time was very receptive to experimental music and there were plenty of performance spaces and venues available and welcoming. Audiences were receptive and soon thereafter I began collaborating with experimental guitarist Bentley Anderson who had been working as an archivist at Sonic Youth’s studio and doing FOH sound for Thurston Moore. Bentley had been playing in a band called VBA which had recently broken up. That was around the same time I left my band One Prayer One Sin and had joined both The Art Gray Noizz Quintet and Shilpa Ray’s band.

Mystic Ruler

I needed my creative outlet so Bentley and I formed BA/NS, playing and touring extensively for a period of a few years. Through the years we shared bills with some great acts like Lee Ranaldo, Greg Fox, Crazy Doberman, Blue Jazz TV, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Brian Chase, Algis Kygis, Crucifix Trio, and many others. In 2019 we did a show opening for Martin Rev and Wolf Eyes in Chicago at The Empty Bottle. Listen to BA/NS on bandcamp.

Now shall I praise the cities, those long-surviving (I watched them in awe) great constellations of earth. For only in praising is my heart still mine, so violently do I know the world.