Thursday, July 26, 2012

finds: twine- s/t (2003, ghostly international)

Purchased at: Gramaphone records via (despite the fact that I'd been to Gramaphone several times I didn't make the connection when I purchased it on discogs and they emailed me asking if I'd rather pick the record up in person)
Price (including tax): $15

I'm not sure how this happened, but the self-titled record by electronic/ambient duo Twine has somehow re-entered my orbit for about the fourth or fifth time since I first bought it in 2003 on CD. This record might be one of only a few examples of an album that I bought based on a pitchfork-recommended review and ended up loving in ways that I could never have imagined. I found the album on vinyl in a now defunct record store while I was living in Portland- what stopped me from buying it, you say? Well, it's simple really- I was young and a bit timid about pulling this record sleeve off of the wall, carrying it up to the front and saying 'I would like to buy this, please.' Kind of absurd as I would have no problem now. In fact I think I might've ordered the CD from insound or something.

Regardless, I used to listen to this album frequently on my old ipod and it was one of the first CDs that I ripped into my new ipod once I'd lost it even though I hadn't listened to it in years. It's typical of the type of stark, ambient, drifting, beautiful nachtmusik that I favor. Twine is composed to two men, Greg Malcolm and Chad Mossholder, who seem to have lived in different cities almost the entire time they've collaborated as Twine. The self-titled record is built on several guitar-based tracks, glitchy beats, wordless female vocals and drifting, bent, decaying atmospherics. 'Asa Nisa Masa' is a minimalist, layering and looping exercise based on the loop of the phrase from Fellini's '8 1/2.' 'Girl Song' was the first track that I heard off of it and remains my favourite track on the album in conjunction with its partner track 'Kalea Morning' which seemed to take the pitch-bent drive of 'Girl Song' and stretch it out into a beautiful, extended drone piece. I used to foolishly try to fit it on mixtapes even though it was over 12 minutes long. I was pretty psyched when I saw that these two tracks share side two of the vinyl version.

I'm not much of an electronic music enthusiast. I know very little about it as a genre- most of the music I go for that falls under that umbrella is ambient music. Aphex Twin's 'Selected Ambient Work Volume 2' has always been a favourite of mine and I had a brief Autechre and Squarepusher phase. What has always fascinated me about electronic music is how vinyl-friendly it is as a genre. It seems counterintuitive that music made in an entirely electronic space would translate better to vinyl than it would CD, but when I threw this record on the turntable it seemed undeniable. A lot of it has to do with the bass and lower registers. Suddenly those chopped up, staticky beats that cover this record tightened up and refused to be ignored. I'd never thought of this record as a rumbler until now. That seems to nail the allure of vinyl for electronic artists and, again, it proves to be unparalleled in this regard as a recorded medium. The vinyl version of this album also has an extra track called 'Sbrent' which, ironically, appears to be a piece built on turntable-sound loops (i.e. needles thumping as they pass into the run-out groove and amplified/manipulated surface noise). I have a handful of similar loops recorded during my many vinyl transfers- I'd always thought it would be cool to build songs over them, but it appears Twine had beaten me to the punch about nine years ago.

While doing the research for this entry I ended up hearing a track from their last album (which was released in 2008 after a five year gap following this record) 'Violets,' which featured a vocal contribution from Alison Shaw of Cranes, which I look forward to tracking down next.

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