I was very excited the other day to receive two brand new shiny CDs from my net-friends Reconsiderate and Tom Rex aka. Yet Another Beat Maker as part of the "holiday season CD swap".
I am fairly familiar with Reconsiderate's music so I decided the first one I would listen to is Tom's, which I had never heard before.
His (debut?) CD is entitled "Yet Another Beat Maker": a name that screams humility, as much of an oxymoron as that is. And indeed, it is quite humble. I'm not exactly sure what the word "minimal" means but it's a word that cropped up in my mind as I listened to the first few tracks.
Now, I have the great fortune of having surround sound with an awesome sub in my loungeroom, and it was for a good slab of time that I could lie down and listen to this album that I have been waiting for this last few days. Having listened, I can surely say that if sub-woofers could ejaculate my loungeroom would be covered in spoof, for it surely had an orgasm, as did my ears at certain points.
Now don't get me wrong, this isn't ground-breaking stuff. As I've said it's very minimal, and the first 5 tracks have the distinct feel of someone playing around with a drum machine for the first time; yet the pulsating, syncopated rhythms are highly intelligent yet playful, spontaneous and almost child-like, taking you back to the early days of Kraftwerk et al, yet with cutting-edge 21st century mastering that has your spider-bass-senses absolutely drooling. This playfullness and feel of experimentation carries on right through the album, and although it may not have been such a process for the artist, to me, this album is all about exploration and discovery. Or in my case, re-discovery, of the simple, the droning, the repetetive lull. Lull as in lullaby. It's soothing and gentle yet jerky and nervous at the same time.
As you move into the middle few tracks you have a certain feeling of wading through the water at land's edge, constantly looking outwards. And then bang in the middle of the CD at track 6, "No Rush", you suddenly turn your head around and realise you can't see land anymore; but with the feeling of floating merrily towards some as of yet unknown location, you are happy.
Having said that, there are moments in this album that frustrated me, but that's due to my restlessness and not any failing on the artist's part. I'm referring to the repetitiveness. It made me want to get up and roll a cigarette just for something to do. Often I was like "where's the action?" Yet one thing I am gradually learning to do is to be content with simplicity. Not only is the simplicity of this album beautiful, but also beneath the sheer veneer of 'bang-bang-bang", there is in fact an incredible array of multi-layered facets and twitches that carry you on towards the horizon, until finally, at the album's close (Mystic Embrace) you realise you are standing on solid ground again, an island in a sea of swirling sounds and moments of pure, well, what other word can I say that fits but: realisation.
Plus, your sub-woofer has just spoofed all over your loungeroom, and together with it's last dying hum, you lie down and absorb what you've just heard in post-basscoital bliss.
Thanks for the CD Tom, it feels like the beginning of a very merry holiday period for me and I will be listening to it a lot.
Available to purchase from CDBaby
Next up: review of Reconsiderate's "Niche Work"