Tarentel - Ephemera
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Tarentel
Ephemera

Usually when you hear of singles collections, a 20-track release packed with b-sides and other whatnots comes to mind, but when you're dealing with a group like Tarentel you get 5 tracks. It should be stated, however, that those 5 tracks unwind over the course of a very nice 68 minutes, and like their first release From Bone To Satellite, the music that the group creates isn't so much about the destination, but the journey.

Unlike lots of other bands who routinely stretch tracks out to 10 and even 20 minutes long (Godspeed You Black Emperor!), Tarentel doesn't always make it a point of building up from nearly nothing into a huge cathartic release. Sure, they progress and add and take away elements within each track (it would be nothing but repetition otherwise), but they never go for the kill, instead drifting along with moments of slightly increased tension and release, but never enough to shake the sleepy dust from your eyes.

When I mention sleep, it's not to say that this release or the band is boring, but their music definitely falls into the realm of trance inducing. Opening with the 15-minute "The Waltz," the track sways back and forth just as the title suggests, building ever so slightly with pretty guitar melodies until the a sprinkle of cymbals turns into a gentle rain of them as other drones come in and fill out the rest of the track at about the two-thirds completed point. After dropping off into almost nothing, the original guitars come back in at a slightly quickened pace along with some drumming and another layer of squalling guitars before drifting off again.

"Looking For Things" (which also clocks in at about 15 minutes) again builds ever-so-slowly with some woozy guitars, as layers of static and noise creep in from the background and a drum beat comes and anchors the track down for awhile before it drifts off into eerie ambience. Although the two-parts of "Two Sides Of Myself" clock in at much shorter times, they're also content to drift along. Part One feels like a spaghetti western track slowed down to about 3 times its usual length, while Part Two goes into even more spacey territory, layering several drones and the ocassional bass pressure drop over an impossibly slow guitar piece (sounding somewhat like the first track being played as it slowly falls into the Marianas Trench).

"Searching For Things," closes out the disc, and at almost 25 minutes feels like a small suite. Working through several different segments, it wanders through a barren desert with lonely guitars before a slight bombardment of noise. Eventually, night falls on the track and all that's left is the sounds drifting in from the satellites and stars. That may sound like a lot of silly talk, but I dare you to listen to Tarentel and not conjure up images in your mind. It's cinematic music, it's music for travelling, and although this release is less-structured than their debut, it's still quite amazing, and fans of drone groups like Stars Of The Lid would definitely find things to enjoy here as well.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00