Review of Twine [12k1084]

Brainwashed (US)

The comparatively stripped down arrangements Deupree and Marcus Fischer create on Twine result in compositions that are not quite as varied or diverse, but unsurprisingly they pull refined beauty from the two lengths of magnetic tape they manipulate. Some of the compositions are largely defined by the imperfections and idiosyncrasies of the recording medium they work with rather than what is pre-recorded. “Bell” would seem to be based on recordings of, well, bells, but the specifically discernible sounds are all buried under the noise of tape. What may be a simple series of repeated tones become something much more captivating as they work in crackling and distortion in addition to the sounds from the manipulated tape. On “Draw” the duo utilize the wavering, inconsistent tones that can be culled from analog equipment to excellent effect.

“Buoy” is another example where the two put a greater emphasis on the sound of the equipment more than the existing recordings. With a bit of buzz and some metallic knocking (which I just assume is the mechanics of the tape players they are using), soft notes contrast the equipment’s jagged looseness and imperfections very well. “Sailmaker” too has Deupree and Fischer just barely flirting with melody; instead the slowed down sounds and mechanical noises becoming the focus of the piece. It is only on “Telegraph” and “Wake” where the recorded source material seems to be the focus of the compositions. The former sounds again like the two manipulating loops of bells and chimes, but the focus is placed more on these gentle sounds as opposed to manipulating the delivery system. “Wake” closes the album, and there seems to be clearer sounds of guitar or other stringed instruments coming through the mix, with lots of open space and incidental sounds within the loops. There is not a lot of raw material utilized in the piece, but the duo generate amazing sounds and moods from that basic formula.

Taylor Deupree has done an amazing job at curating the 12k label since its inception, presenting music that may not always be similar to his, but always reflects his ear for rich compositions created from the most hushed of sounds. Whenever he does release his own work, however, the result is never a disappointment and just a reiteration of his expertise at this style of composition. These two albums may differ in their methods and composition techniques, but that common thread between them, Deupree himself, is what makes for two beautiful, understated compositions that do so much with the barest of sonic ingredients.

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