In Tandem

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AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson

Scottish producer T_A_M's early singles and EPs were influenced by numerous styles of electronic music, but they mostly resembled uptempo club styles such as grime, house, and juke. On his full-length debut In Tandem, he backs off from the playfulness of tracks such as "Watty" and delves into more abstract, reflective spaces. The tempos are a lot slower here, but some of the tracks still have deep, bassy kick drums that make a resounding impact. The melodies tend to be delicate and music box-like, and they often sound like they were programmed to sound slightly broken. Tracks like "Myelin Sheath" feature glitchy beats and pretty melodies which recall early-2000s IDM, particularly the work of musicians like Ochre and Kettel rather than the more widely known artists signed to Warp. T_A_M uses bass sounds reminiscent of grime, but instead of being brash and angular, they sound smooth and fluid. "Suum Kiirk" is more uptempo, with twinkly melodies flickering underneath distorted electro beats that occasionally stumble off course (intentionally). The album's emotional peak is its penultimate track, the bluntly titled "Bleak End." Its slow, tense beats and sad, pitched-up vocals immediately bring to mind Balam Acab, but without the lush, detailed production. The track's sparseness only serves to highlight its desperate, isolated mood. The album ends up on a more uplifting note with the sweet, slightly contorted "Trooner." In Tandem is a very good album that proves that T_A_M has an even broader range than his already impressive early recordings suggested.

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