"Oh yeah, does that name ring a bell? If you’ve ever heard it before, you’ll never forget it, and I haven’t of course – I covered Timmerman’s split with Petrified Heart of an Air Whale on Adhesive Sounds, and I still love that thing. On his new EP, A Thousand Echoes, he’s right back in the same vein, covering similar ground, hitting that sweet spot where post rock meets electronic and synthesizer music, with a few samples thrown in for good measure. Think M83’s more expansive, instrumental passages and Jatun’s industrial tinkering and you get the idea. Distorted guitar even finds purchase on “Upon the Mesa,” a title just begging me to wrangle back my dustbowl metaphor from only a single paragraph ago. I won’t, though, because it ends with a Tangerine Dream-y pulse and wraps the tape masterfully – it deserves our respect, dagnabbit! That’s not where the Tangerine Dream comparisons stop, either, and that’s a good thing in my book. “The Gap” begins the tape with sparkling synthesizers, and the song ends with a decidedly not synth-prog sample, cloaked in grot and grit, lifted from The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony,” which, of course, was lifted from The Rolling Stones. Samples of other songs, some obvious, some not, pop up here and there. “Tumbling Down” sounds like it borrows The Beatles’s “Hey Jude,” but that one’s a little more iffy since I’m only getting a couple of notes at the beginning. “Other Words” samples what sounds like a pop song, but I can’t place that one. The track covers some IDM ground, like instrumental King of Limbs–era Radiohead. That’s a pretty good place to be for UEFTBH – hang out there for a while and keep these coming."
"Even if this is your first time ever seeing the name Underwater Escape From the Black Hole (often characterized as UWEFTBH) you have to admit that the name itself could make you rather curious. Aren't black holes in space? Why is there one underwater? And why are we escaping from it? Can we escape from it? I thought that which goes into the black hole does not return. But whatever the case might be, there has been so much amazing music coming out on 5CM Recordings (Is that how I should stylize that?) that for a second there I kind of forgot that the person behind the label makes music himself. To be able to think of the notion that you could hear all of this music released by someone which they didn't create is one thing (And it is a spectacular thing at that) but then to think that this person is also going to take part in the madness... It just baffles me still how both can be done. (If you need a better understanding of this, do some research on Paul Heyman and how people who wanted to wrestle but couldn't for whatever reason became managers or bookers, etc.)
"A Thousand Echoes" begins with hypnotic guitar loops. I'm not going to count if anything on here in fact echoes that many times, but I have a feeling if you were within a black hole (And, yes, I've always managed the music of UWEFTBH as being composed inside the black hole that the composer wished to be free from) echoes could be infinite. The overall vibe is uplifting and ambient though, so there is hope. A background drum beat is added in along with a cymbal slide which I do believe is high hats if I remember anything from the drum machine I had when I was sixteen. Somehow- and don't ask me how- it reminds me of The Verve song "Bittersweet Symphony" manipulated. I don't think that song is actually being altered in any way here or is an original source by any means, but I can kind of hear it.
You know what that made me think of though? If you've ever recorded over anything on a cassette (And let's be fair, sometimes it's less expensive to go to a thrift store and buy some old classical cassettes or books on cassette and dub over those instead of buying blank cassettes. On that note, I also did get a box of cassettes once for free from the library which I *still* have yet to go through and some of those might one day be dubbed over) sometimes you get that little bit of the source material left behind. I'm not just talking about the last thirty seconds or so where you finish your album before Michael Jackson finishes "Thriller". I'm talking about how it can sometimes come out in a song. If there was a way to manipulate that quality at your own will that would be rather amazing. I think that could really open up doors if you could put a thin layer of another song mixed in with yours.
Drum beats sound now like rain falling. Shaking guitar synth enters our story and there are vocals on a loop as well to end out Side A. The flip side is wavy with background singing which I do believe is sampled but don't quote me on that (Don't quote me on anything please. I actually don't make my reviews purposely hard to quote, but I once had someone ask me to review his cassette because he wanted some good press quotes and he never managed to pull any from my review because, I mean, what would you pull from this one? I feel like you have to read the entire review just like you have to listen to the whole cassette and I can't just give you fifteen seconds of a song and say "Ah! See! LOVE IT!!!" Although that might be how they review music in the future: a fifteen second song sampling of their favorite part. Then I'd be reviewing antiquated media in an antiquated review manner)
Through distorted drone riffs I find myself back on track and guitar notes end out this cassette in the way that Hendrix might have used. If Jimi Hendrix was still alive, what do you think the music he made now would sound like? Would he do mashups with Drake? Would he do a guest solo on a Foo Fighters album? I don't know if he'd even still be recording new music for the public, but I can bet on one thing for sure: he'd punch Gary Clark, Jr. in the nose. Look, I'm not straying off of topic here on purpose. This cassette has a lot of space in it where your mind can wander. I've always felt kind of isolated in the shower- a small space, the running water blocks out all other sounds for the most part, and so you can just focus and concentrate. Music does that for me in a lot of ways-- you know, acting as that shower noise without sounding like a shower and I believe that anything which makes you think in the 21st Century can only be good for you because we should all know by now that the non-thinking class are having their ways and soon we may never have to think again."
RAISED BY GYPSIES
released October 21, 2015
Underwater Escape From the Black Hole is Mathias Timmerman.