This album is comprised of field recordings, but don’t expect to hear field recordings; they’ve been chopped up, rearranged, amplified, and skipped like flat stones across a glass surface. At one point the speakers spew the ugly sound of a busted CD; anyone who knows this sound will rush for the remote. And yet, everything is intentional: the glitch, the fuzz, the squelch, the sonic debris. Tarab‘s intention is to decontextualize and disorient, and he does so here in spectacular fashion.
When one hears the sounds of birds and running water, one thinks, “how lovely!” Not in this context, in which they are surrounded by harsh drone and over-amped rustle. That’s just in the first minute. The impression is that of an exploding car driving through a factory. On this album, the artist (Eamon Sprod) elaborates on themes last explored on Strata, including broken objects and the immunizing effect of mass transit.
The words “I’m lost” can indicate a number of things: that one is physically lost, emotionally lost, spiritually lost. By removing the normal signposts from his soundscapes, Tarab dares his listeners to find the port in his sonic storm. Fortunately, the human mind is so good at finding patterns that it tends to impose them even where they don’t exist. For example, the wind of the second track may be intuited as a chorus, or the entire album as a buildup to breakdown. The more one listens, the more one begins to hear repetitions: there’s that bird again, there’s that running water again. Either one is going in circles, or one has just found one’s way.
The album shares the appeal of early industrial music. At times it sounds as if Tarab has killed and gutted a metal turkey, stuffed it with sprockets and gears and thrown it against a wall. The music is dangerous in all the right ways. Save for that intentional CD glitch at the end of track four, it’s also quite beautiful. This adjective may fly in the face of all that Tarab is trying to achieve, but as much as he may wish the album to serve as a commentary on humanity’s “dead ends”, these are the sort of mistakes most listeners will want to hear again, perhaps reveling in the very idea of failure. We may continue to colonize, desecrate and pillage, to the extent that birdsong and running water become only footnotes in our sonic landscape; but the metallic and emotionless possess their own peculiar allure. (Richard Allen)