Tarwater : Spider Smile

<img src="http://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/tarwaterspidersmile.jpg" alt=" " />Out of the cool electronic jungle that is Morr Music slithers the shadowy, psychacoustic snake that is Tarwater's new album, <i>Spider Smile</i>.  Calm and mysterious,...
6.4 Morr
2007 

 Out of the cool electronic jungle that is Morr Music slithers the shadowy, psychacoustic snake that is Tarwater’s new album, Spider Smile.  Calm and mysterious, the album spins dark avant-garde and eerie dub melodies together. Instead of striking, however, it passes without much notice.

The duo of Bernd Jestram and Ronald Lippok set out to create a record with America in mind, which resulted in a sinister arrangement of slow-moving rhythms and villainous electronic melodies.  The opening track, "Shirley Temple" features cold, ice-cave echoes while a high-spun synth arpeggiates, which is as dissimilar to the image of Shirley Temple as possible.  "Lower Manhattan Pantoum" pushes on the strange aura while adding vocals.  "When Love Was the Law In Los Angeles" is a shimmering, smooth bounce that coasts on throaty vocals and swirling stringy effects.  Their view of America, like many others, is truly a dark one.

There are softer moments on the album that provide a silky constrast, too.  "Roderick Usher" features horns, strings, keys, and a twinkling, metallic atmosphere.  "When Tomorrow Comes" is a light loungebeat with some of the most inspired vocals on Spider Smile.  While overall a dark record, there are hints of smart balance.

The atmosphere that Tarwater creates on Spider Smile is shadowy and, at times, harsh thanks to somber rhythms and stark electronics.  Like a slow-moving snake with no poison or motive, Spider Smile isn’t particularly engaging, but as long as it poses no threat, it’s cool to have around.

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Album Reviews
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