May 09, 2005

Terrestrial Tones "Obored/Circus Lives"

Terrestrial Tones is the project of roomates Eric Copeland (Black Dice) and Dave Portner (aka Avery Tare of the Animal Collective). In the last year, both bands received a great deal of critical acclaim, all of which was quite justified. Oboroed/Circus Lives is a follow-up to their debut record Blasted, which was released a few months ago. The album consists of two long pieces titled--yup, you guessed it--"Oboroed" and "Circus Lives." Both are very, very long compositions--"Oboroed" is a half-hour, and "Circus Lives" is twenty minutes long. In an interesting twist, both songs don't particularly sound like the work of either's main band, yet at the same time, they both have characteristics that make the two pieces sound like the extention of both bands.

"Oboroed" floats through moments of guitarless-folk, quiet knob twiddling and samples of people making noises. Moments here and there have a bit of a sensual in-out rhythm, but the mechanical feel makes it sound like two robots having sex. The composition also contains a recurrent loop of birds chirping and a faint, nondescript recording of people talking, tempered with the equally muffled recording of music playing. The music is muffled and nondescript; imagine walking down a dorm hallway, where music is playing in the distance, but only the lower registers are distinguishable. "Circus Lives" starts off with numerous electronic bleeps and blips, then moves into a robotic-sounding marching beat tempered with mechanical screeches and screams and the sounds of people meowing like cats. Overall, "Circus Lives" sounds similar to a stripped-down Black Dice.

Oboroed/Circus Lives is an interesting listen; it might be a bit frustrating for those who aren't appreciative of experimental music in general and the styles of Black Dice and Animal Collective. Still, for these two talented fellows to get together and play around in is quite promising; Black Dice works well when collaborating (as witnessed by their project with Wolf Eyes), and Terrestrial Tones is an interesting diversion for two talented young men, as well as a fascinating hint of that inevitable Black Dice/Animal Collective collaboration.

--Joseph Kyle

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