Tarwater - Rabbit Moon Revisited
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Tarwater
Rabbit Moon Revisited
(Capstack / Kitty Yo!)

Although they've had several things come out since this release, my introduction to the group Tarwater came with this, their debut. After hearing it, I can rightly say that this is sort of an odd group, falling somewhere in between the dark weirdness of Third Eye Foundation and the more midtempo grooves of a group like Slick Sixty. On 11 tracks and just over 50 minutes of music, they go through lots of different styles and it's either interesting or annoying to the listener, depending on what is expected and how much you well change is dealt with. For me, it was a little bit of both, although the interesting side won out most of the time.

The disc opens up with an almost jarring track in "Rabbit Moon." With a live bassline and drums that sounds like something that was pulled straight from an old Joy Division or New Order song, it's gritty and grinding and made even darker with the addition of some haunting human vocal samples and distorted, shimmering keyboards. The second track is almost entirely different, scooting along quickly with some rather minimal drum-machine pulses and a raining of keyboard sounds that feels like scores of icicles falling off a roofline and shattering on pavement below. Continuing the trend, the third track "Strawberry Shoes" is a slow, downtempo groove that almost sounds like something that could be a DJ Shadow b-side.

Really, the same thing holds true for nearly the entire album. The sixth and seventh tracks strip things down a bit and both fall into an eerie soundscape category (especially the spaced-out guitar of the latter track "Euroslut"). They even manage to have a couple songs on the album with vocals, and neither one of them really sound out-of-place. "Rome" moves along with a flanged-out beat and some simple keyboard sprinkles behind cold, detached vocals while "Mobile Home" sounds like the music for a haunted carnival ride with severely twisted vocodor-style vocals that make the track sound even more machine-like than it already does.

As mentioned before, this album is eclectic, but it does manage to hold one thing in common with most of the tracks and that is a sort of off-kilter feel. While it doesn't hold in common the skittering drum and bass element with Third Eye Foundation, there are some rather disconcerting sounds on the release that are just plain eerie. They're not annoying by any means, but the album isn't exactly an upbeat one either. There are some nice sounds within it and it's got me interested enough that I'll keep their other work in mind now, but it also makes me hope that they've refined their sound a bit.

rating: 6.2510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00