Artist comparison can be a horrible thing. One runs the risk of reducing artists to “disciples” or “inferior copies”, while suggesting they have few original qualities. This is not the case here, but if the first impression of an album is its sheer Tim-Hecker-ness it would be bizarre not to mention it. So when I say Dovetail sounds like the work of Tim Hecker (especially the Radio Amor, Ravedeath, 1972 variety), I mean to offer only a cursory description and, above all else, a high compliment.
Beyond that, Dovetail is very much Tsone’s own. The Phoenix-based artist formed a staggering 80% of his sound with custom-built software to create pieces which are unmistakably digital yet possess a rich, physical weight. These sounds display the marks of a vast history, with evidence of both physical and digital decay. Notes warp as if left too long in the sun, then stagger as if losing the signal. This technique gives the impression of arriving from the far side of unknowable distances: weathered, torn, small chunks of meaning pecked out; battered but whole.
The flittering, multifaceted but nevertheless vivid compositions open themselves up to interpretation almost too readily – I am occupied by communication, grand structures and lost spaces, distracted from the fact that Dovetails makes a remarkably nuanced listen. At times reserved and meditative, at others lost and dwarfed, this music surrounds the listener and commands the ear. In the classic Eno sense, where ambient music is as ignorable as it is interesting, this is not ambient. The shimmering blips, throbs of bass, and warm, crackling air defy any attempt to subdue them into the background.
A long-distance message is only worth sending if the contents are important, and Dovetail justifies the trip. Here is a sound only achieved by the best in the business; here is a spring rich with meaning; here is something worth one’s undivided attention. (Jonny Hunter)