Tarwater, Silur (Mute)

Posted December 31st, 1998 by admin · No Comments

By: Eric Greenwood

Tarwater is another fine German export featuring Ronald Lippok of To Rococo Rot that blends rock oriented sounds with repeated loops, breakbeats, simulated vinyl hiss, and a dark soulfulness, creating a serene and expansive soundscape in the vein of a less accessible Tricky or Portishead. Silur is the band’s fourth full length and is imbued with a languid and sample-heavy atmosphere. Haunting and calculatingly cold spoken word verses are juxtaposed with these layered sound effects to add a scientific element to the mix. The overwhelming theme is that of water (Silur refers to the Silurian Age, which is when the Earth was covered with water), which is brilliantly displayed in “The Watersample.”

Silur is a steady mid-tempo ride of escapist electronic experimentalism. At the heart off all of this syncopated noise is classic songwriting. Each song is tightly constructed with lots of synthetics, but it all somehow maintains sparseness. “Ford” breaks out of the mid-tempo trance and features deliberately staid vocals with disturbing computer generated backing vocals. “20 Miles Up” ups the beats per minute ever so slightly and recalls Kraftwerk in its simplicity and repetition. The melodies are dramatic, combining minor chord morosity with post rock surrealism. Silur is a commanding and sincere record that will undoubtedly land high on the list of best picks for the year.

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