At How Many Beats Per Life
Tom White: False Ponds
My Dance The Skull perpetuates its allegiance to the double-sided cassette format with twenty-minute releases by Telekaster (Berlin-based musician Matthias Grübel and video-artist Stefan Bünnig) and London, UK-based Tom White.
Though each side of Telekaster's At How Many Beats Per Life features two pieces (composed and performed by Grübel), the sides play like single, ten-minute pieces. “Kubus” casts a wide-eyed spell with fireworks of dusty piano and acoustic guitar exploding into the air before a mountain of simmering fuzz in “Horizontal Opening” works itself into a violent, convulsive lather that seems fit to explode at any moment. Muddled voices introduce side two's “Secret Layers” before it splinters into dazzling guitar strums that would do James Blackshaw proud and then blossoms into a wondrous sunstorm of shuddering chords and haze. A late inning plunge into the trippy electro-acoustic meltdown—samples of muted trumpet and cymbal splashes bobbing to the surface—that is “The Distance Around a Circle” guides the spent listener home. We loved The Silent Anagram, Telekaster's 2009 album on Panic Arrest, and we like the cassette release just as much, even if it's a smaller serving.
White's recording is more of a textural affair than Telekaster's and less song-structured too. Built from found sounds, field recordings, lo-fi tape loops, mic feedback, and guitar noise, False Ponds submerges children's voices and six-string fragments within thick webs of static convulsions. Its settings are industrial-tinged mosaics of perpetual ebb and flow that are equally nightmarish and disturbed. A funereal rhythm animates the second side, which leaves ample space for assorted other sounds to punctuate its slow and steady plod, such as the breathy flourishes that ripple into view four minutes in and the faint echoes of human wail and broken scraps of guitar that appear soon after. Not so much provocation as simply provocative, False Ponds at the very least succeeds in holding the listener's attention throughout its brief run.