New release from Tarwater out on Bureau B. The Berlin duo showcases a range of styles and influences on Adrift. Expect expansive delights from down tempo krautrock, to psyche trip-hop and the Diablo II Act II soundtrack thrown in. Adrift blends electronics and acoustics in a seamless fashion, leaving no sonic stone unturned. Out on vinyl LP and CD.
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- Adrift by Tarwater
6/10 Robin Staff review, 30 October 2014
Tarwater's disciplines are many; they have taken too many lessons. On ‘Adrift’, they mix krautrock influences, traditional pop rock structures and ominous experimental netherworlds at the same time, treating none of them as an afterthought. To their credit, Bernd Jestram and Ronald Lippok treat each aesthetic as a separate entity, going in full force on "The Tape" -- a melodramatic pop tune that's shaped around Lippok's calculated vocal and a thorough workout on double bass and guitar -- before receding into the reclusive instrumental tones of the record's title track, which uses wiry organic sounds, krautish electronics and gooey keys to evoke the same atmosphere of never-ending agoraphobia. ‘Adrift’ is a riddle they’re unfolding piece by piece, at times concentrated on lush arrangements, at others stripped of all its parts on the same journey -- “The Glove”, with its skittering, primitive percussion, lacks the melodic weight of the songs before it, but not their direction, descending into the same hellish landscape through a smorgasbord of chaotic electronics.
Despite its wild tectonic shifts and a contemporary refinement of all that made Can well and good -- as adapted for the post-Britpop world -- ‘Adrift’ feels sonorous and slightly repetitive, shooting for an exciting and panoramic experience while delivering something more in tune with gruesome motorik. When there’s more happening in the arrangements, these songs feel triumphant and foreboding at the same time, but Jestram and Lippok too often rely on the idea that emptying out songs makes them interesting. Songs like “They Told Me In The Alley” mix vocals and percussion too high in the mix, blurring everything else of its force and making for a sound that’s both raw and impenetrable. You hear the landscape being crafted, but you’re not allowed to touch it. As far as exciting, genre-hopping experiments go, this one’s for the museum. Don't touch the exhibits.
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