Tarentel - Ghetto Beats on the Surface of the Sun
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Ghetto Beats on the Surface of the Sun

Originally released in a series of limited edition vinyl albums Ghetto Beats on the Surface of the Sun finds Tarentel continuing down the improvisational rabbit-hole, venturing even further into monstrous repetitive rhythms, lo-fi noise blowouts, and general unease. With the original vinyl having sold out, Temporary Residence has collected all the work onto a double CD effort and housed it all in a beautiful quadruple gatefold jacket that at least partially preserves the great artwork of the original.

If you've been following Tarentel at all the past couple years, you know that they've changed direction pretty drastically from their more melodic earlier releases like From Bone To Satellite. Starting with We Move Through Weather, the group has found themselves locked up in their sprawling studio and churning out loads of primal-sounding stuff, putting out not only several more EPs on the Temporary Residence and Acuarela labels, but a couple releases on the Root Strata label as well. Considering the releases originally came out in a small, limited run, the overall quality on the two-hour release is somewhat hit or miss, but when the group does lock in, they hit on a juicy synergy that's hard to surpass.

Some would probably say it's sacrilege to suggest it, but there are certainly places on Ghetto Beats on the Surface of the Sun where Tarentel burns with the same seething intensity that This Heat radiated during their short, but groundbreaking stint. On longer tracks like "All Things Vibrations" and "Sun Place" (among others), they let things unfurl for well over fifteen minutes, resulting in sprawling, epic pieces that mix pounding, almost tribal drums from Jim Redd with everything from gorgeous guitar textures to reel-to-reel tape squiggling madness and lo-fi electronic breakdowns.

There's also a heaping helping of shorter, more textural pieces spread out on the two discs. These shorter piece range in tone from shimmering, stark ambience that borders on lovely to noisy freakouts that dip into freeform improvisation. At times, the results are stunning, and yet at others it sounds like the sort of inspired racket that a lot of post rock bands fracture themselves down to when they're filling the spaces betwixt rocking the hell out again. That said, this isn't a release just for hardcore fans. Even though it's a bit harsh in places, it's still a nicely cohesive collection that works much more often than it does not. Like the early vinyl, this one is limited as well (to 3000 copies), so if you have any inkling at all about whether you'd enjoy it, it's probably best to snag it up sooner rather than later.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2007-09-06 20:39:55