Ten and Tracer: A Distant Monarch

Being a re-issue of a 2005 Ten and Tracer tour-only release might make A Distant Monarch come off sounding like a bit of a one-off or throwaway release. In fact, it's better than that, plus its seven tracks provide a succinct, half-hour snapshot of Jonathan Canupp's abilities. Probably no review or discussion of his Ten and Tracer material goes by without some mention of Boards of Canada but it would be disingenuous not to acknowledge the obvious when Canupp's analog electronica (the EP's “Your Friends at Union Pacific,” for instance) has so much in comon with the Warp duo's own woozy brand. Warm synth melodies, occasional voice samples, and crisp beats of lightly funky or hip-hop character make up the minimal Ten and Tracer sound in pieces that range between ambient interludes (“Show Me”) and experimental, texture-heavy explorations (“Four Hundred And Sixty-Four Rons”). It's certainly pleasant enough plus a decent introduction to those new to Ten and Tracer but A Distant Monarch still falls more into the category of ‘for completists only,' specifically for dedicated Ten and Tracer fans who didn't get their hands on a copy when the release first made the rounds in a limited run.

July 2010