I Am Spoonbender


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It is tempting to claim that Teletwin is content to hover in holding pattern since the EP opens with an extended reworking of a song from their acclaimed full-length debut, as well as including a new wave cover song. As with everything that I Am Spoonbender touches, however, there is far more going on than initial impressions suggest. The opening song, "Clocks Grow Old," is, in fact, a version of the lock-step groove of "Stopwatch Static" from sender/receiver. But before the drums kick into their metallic Krautrock rhythms, the band emphasizes the eerie background synthesizer washes that occur behind the overpowering drums and lilting, somnolent vocals. It is the part of the song that you barely notice, but I Am Spoonbender separates the ambient wash and allows it to play at the beginning of "Clocks Grow Old" for more than two minutes by itself before the rest of the instrumentation kicks in. The deconstructed effect is startling because it shows how important -- how central, even -- that background soundscape is to the music, and it perhaps goes farther even than any song on the debut at explaining in musical terms the philosophical gist of the band. I Am Spoonbender is about noticing the things we normally do not notice, like the cutlery image planted in the band's name, as well as noting how chance occurrences are perhaps more than chance, closer to design. The band designs their music with a similar attention to concept and sound. They are not, however, all theory. "Where Do Words Go?" is a suitably tweaked cover of Berlin's "The Metro" with additional lyrics and Giorgio Moroder-worthy plastic textures, complete with cheesy drum-machine hand claps that seem to be indigenous only to '80s pop music. On the one hand, it shows that music need not take place in the future to be futuristic, and, more importantly, it points to a sense of humor that didn't often show its face on sender/receiver. The remainder of the album builds on the strengths of the debut. "Infinity Limiter" is robot polka, a drone that sounds both like a broken, apocalyptic siren and a record caught in that last vinyl groove. "Frozen Dog Futurist" smokes with mechanical passion, a cacophony of razor-sharp synth lines, paranoid bass, eight-armed drumming, electronic phasing, and funereal industrial drone that is bound to sound alien -- and just as wonderful -- 30 years into the future. "They Don't Have Mirrors" closes the album in sweeping, multi-part fashion that is at once political, metaphysical, and musically ambitious. More than just a stopgap or cursory release, Teletwin actually presents a further exposition of I Am Spoonbender's modus operandi and sonic exploration. It opens up fields of vision and ways of reinterpreting the world around you. In a sense, it offers you new eyes, new ears. And besides that, it's pure 21st century fun.

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