Tapage: Overgrown
Tympanik Audio

No one will ever accuse a Tympanik Audio artist of not giving the listener his/her money's worth. Tapage's latest collection, Overgrown, is a typically generous gathering of fourteen electronic tracks that solidly showcases the broad range of Tijs Ham's talents. He's prolific, for sure, with the new release the latest in an ongoing series that includes two earlier Tympanik Audio outings (2008's The Institute of Random Events and 2009's Fallen Clouds), a collaboration with Meander (2010's Etched In Salt), and an earlier 2011 release on Raumklang Music (Seven). One gets the impression that the Netherlands-based Tapage production facility rarely if ever shuts down.

In keeping with the title, “Sine” weaves bright, sine tone-like bell tones into a generally understated overture that primes the listener for the more aggressive beat-driven excursions to follow. While “Loss” ups the hyperactive ante compared to the opener, it also opts for a relatively restrained fusion of acid-IDM beatsmithing and elegant piano-based rumination. Prototypical Tapage tracks such as “Crab,” “Repress,” and “Ethyl” are densely layered, with Ham augmenting glitch-laden programmed beats and throbbing bass lines with writhing noises, electronic textures, and and crystalline melodies, and though a hint of dystopia sneaks into some of the tracks, Overgrown isn't overly weighed down by an aura of doom. From the convulsive and atmospheric (“Pink Mist,” “Dresscode”) to the twitchy and fidgety (“Mimic,” “Leptoid”), Overgrown makes all of the expected Tapage pitstops, with occasional traces of IDM, breakcore, and even hip-hop peeking through the album's cracks. All told, fans of Ham's previous outings won't be disappointed, though admittedly they also won't find much here that radically advances upon what he's released to date.

January 2012