this review originally appeared in Thaumaturgy, a blog dedicated to new experimental and psychedelic music
May 12, 2005
White Rock, Tarpit
When this quartet of Brooklyn noise luminaries uses the phrase "White Rock," I don't think they intend for us to think of the area of the record store where you'd shelve the Skrewdriver discs (or the Lynryd Skynrd). I think that they'd hope for us to instead think literally, to imagine an actual piece of colored stone, something prehistoric and suffused with cryptic meaning. That might be the right visual for listening to these tracks, which sound, indeed, like something that might emerge from some heavy chunk of prehistoric matter coated in ash or bat-shit.
The layers of animistic heaviness unearthed here will come as no surprise to those familiar with the other work of the personnel on handBrian and Nate from noise-rock act Mouthus, and Maya and Mike from the electronic drone ensemble Double Leopards. Individually, each of these groups have been digging tunnels through the loamy silt of the psychedelic unconscious, and Tarpit takes us on two long dungeon crawls through the weird riddled nexus where those tunnels meet.
Built from thick pileups of unidentifiable groans, vocal mutterings, electical hum, and Neolithic beats, these tracks embody the most lofty Cageian ideas about sound being liberated from instruments and ego, while simultaneously living out the scuzziest punk fantasies about the complete destruction of song structures. And yet, for all its abrasive edges and strange angles, the soundworld established here is strangely welcoming and embracing. Sink into its warm womblike depths and you might not want to leave. Each time Tarpit ends, vomiting me abruptly back into the silence of my apartment, I feel, unmistakably, a pang of disappointment.
On Troubleman, limited to an edition of 1,000.