Chris Tarry

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Sponge Review

by Thom Jurek

Here's a wooly one: electric bassist Chris Tarry hunkering down with drummer Dylan van der Schlyf in Canada and getting down to the business of spontaneous improvisation. For starters, the duo employ a number of effects, van der Sclyff an enormous range of samples, musical and non, and Tarry using an old tape machine. Four of the five pieces here have the word "tension" written in parentheses at the end of the title, with the fifth tracks getting the parenthetical moniker "release." The tracks range from the near ambient "Snakes and Sand" and "Sponge," to the beat conscious "Tribes," with reggae rhythms juxtaposed against rock and jazz ones, to the skronky "Police Tools," which is truly one of the most paranoiac tunes ever recorded. The host of sounds and textures overlap to create a darkly impersonal view of the world through the first four tracks, which lulls us into submission before "Water Song," a wonderfully anti-climactic bit of silvery lyricism. This is far from the free blowing anything goes date one would expect from either of these two, but it is no less powerful for all its restraint.

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