'Stills Lit Through' is audio-visual artist Tallesen's first significant collection of music, and brings together the sounds of downtrodden IDM with a tribute to the artist's homely natural environment in New York. The project attempts to document the intense and inseparable connection shared between music and those places, events and people we experience it through.
8/10 Laurie Staff review, 07 November 2014
The next release in the Lopatin Chronicles clearly bears the stamp of the Software label boss, albeit beatier. New York-based synesthetic conjurer Cayman Johnson aka Tallesen presents us with an honest but fuzzy view of the world around him at the present moment, a cosy imprint of his kitchen complete with microwave. A lot of serious electronica musicians would be afraid to publicly admit to using something as mundane as a microwave (they’re all sushi experts, right?), let alone put it on an LP cover, so we appreciate your honesty Mr. Johnson.
With his roots firmly in the world of ambient, a lot of the tracks begin with some savvy drone tones and a strong emphasis on not-quite-abrasive hissy noise often reminiscent of hihats and faulty microwaves. In fact there are actually a lot of hihats laid bare, as this guy hasn’t forgotten how to move. Occasional stutters of kick drums eventually build to beats that would be at home on a great Warp LP, Clark’s recent outing comes to mind here as well as the timeless clatters of Autechre or Wisp. Where the beats aren’t the focus, the glitchy stutter textures found in OPN’s work rise out of the cloudy synths, sometimes as bassy throbs and others disorientating splats that are close to the sound of a disk drive being nuked in the microwave. Close, but not exactly.
Having constant ambience throughout gives the whole record this beautiful floatiness, connecting with the listener through hypnosis rather than the inclusion of vocals, of which there is only the faintest hint. I reckon this guy just doesn’t speak much and relies on sign language. Many words are signed on 9th track ‘Plasticised Fsa’, taking us from chill texture all through to an almost half time DnB beat through its 8 minute duration.
Time is of the essence so this review won’t cover the 4 bonus tracks, but that would just spoil the bonusness/bonusity/bonusitude..?? To be honest the length of the record is great as it is, and being a concentrated dose of atmosphere, you wouldn’t want it to carry on for too much longer.
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