Based in Melbourne, Australia, Tilman Robinson has released his second full length record entitled ‘Deer Heart’. It can be described an uneven mix of optimism and pessimism, hope and dread, dark and light. A mix of acoustic-electro and experimental post-rock that sets out to test the psychological impact of dense sounds. Available on Vinyl LP.
LP £19.99 HOB 041
'Seafoam Green' coloured vinyl LP on Hobbledehoy Records.
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It sure was nice of Tilman Robinson to continue this album despite two columns of attention-seeking yellow paint descending on his face and distracting him from his craft. There’s a lot to be said for this record’s crossover appeal -- it has strands of many a tear-jerking neo-classical composer, from Frahm to Hauschka in both Robinson’s melodic and rhythmic inclinations, but with its slight electroacoustic additions and background horn improvisations, it also sounds a little bit like it could belong on the Rune Grammafon roster. Whatever the case, ‘Deer Heart’ is a heavy-hearted set of compositions that’ll help you fall apart a little.
Opening on the cinematically driven “Where We Began”, there’s a lot more to unpack in this record’s middle section, where Robinson considers all sorts of non/classical hues: “Pareidolia” is held up by a noisy, scattershot beat of an industrial persuasion, while a string section seems to dangle it off the edge of dissonance as it shudders out different shards of sound under the pressure of a clock ticking too fast. As if oblivious to the juxtaposition, he pulls back into “Her Heart Was Warm”, as saccharine and sentimental a piano ballad as you’ll get, given its gravitas through lo-fi tape grain and a hug from strings.
I hope you get the point: Tilman Robinson can do a lot of things and doesn’t quite know which he prefers, but it’s for the best that way. He eschews what could be a little cliched and mirroring in the neo-classical practice with these strange, noisy trinkets -- by merging the two together, a track like “Orison” feels like a futurist antique, its ghostly mix of synth chords and violins melding into a tragic melody that gets ruffled up by distorted production and chance field recordings. It’s a record that connects to you only to take the plug out.
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