Tympanik Audio, 2008
Tympanik Audio is a Chicago-based label prolifically publishing electronic music that usually trends toward a dark, industrial style. This limited-edition album from late August, however, is straight-up IDM. “Black Tape” plays with the bouncey breaks Autechre experimented with in the mid-nineties. “Lockswitch” starts in the same vein, but then a delicate melody emerges. It’s quite nice. The vocals on “Shadowstain” are strange, but they perfectly match the staticky beats and noisy squeaks. Some of the later tracks are almost too complex for their own good, however, progressing from beat rushes to glitchy breakdowns with an alien logic. “Transatlantic Headroom” lays ambient chords over rumbling digital boulders, like someone fed poor Speedy J into a blender. “Dirtwalker” and “Sinkpool” are cold and cerebral. “Pretend Not to See” is haunted, almost as dark as some Venetian Snares tracks. “Much Like A Dream” ends the album with minor chords that somehow fail to form a melody. After the promise of “Lockswitch,” I’m left unfulfilled.