Monday, December 1, 2008

Tricorn & Queue - Continual Passage (Stunned Records CS)

A beautiful package arrived today from Super Minerals' Phil French and his own Stunned Records. Gorgeous looking releases with a definite vibe of colorful weirdnesses. Figured I'd make a smooth transition form those recently reviewed Housecraft items with this Tricorn and Queue tape, yet another project of Jeffry Astin's.

Working in a similar vein as Xiphiidae, Tricorn and Queue combines warm synthesized drone with an environmental, found sound approach. Such a combination manages to create a world that is far more crafted than most things in the drone world are capable of. Rather than a shifting, endless process of variation, the pieces here feel smaller in scope, and far more intimate. These are beautiful and highly tangible mini-works that begin quietly and tend towards a sifting out of various sound sources, highlighting and rehighlighting distinct moments or motions atop a warm amorphous tonal landscape.

Take the third track of the first side (all tracks are unnumbered, the sides untitled). Moist and air-driven synth swirls drift along beneath scratching whispers that point towards the yellow light of some sunny grove. Whereas some of the stuff in a similar vein tends toward the more obvious however, Astin keeps things from slipping into merely pretty territory. As soft as those synthy dew drippings are, there remains a mysterious--and just plain weird--side to the proceedings. Perhaps it is the field recordings that bring it down to an earthly level. Soft, echoing percussive taps that sound like they could be played on wet, slippery rocks echo about as shimmering drones and a dark underbelly coalesce into a work that seeks to find its peace here rather than out there in the cosmos. It's all very natural sounding, remaining restrained even as vocal yowls slip in and out with enough caution so as to not delve into the world of tribal mimicry or mere expression of self. It all serves the music here, whether it jingles, crunches or shines.

The forty minutes are quite a nice listen, a great morning listen to ease in to the day as well as late night chill out soundtrack. Gentle in its subtlety, yet wonderfully rewarding in its depth. Killer release, and still available from Stunned I believe.

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