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Tarquin Magnet


A unique synthesis of time-dilating folk-jazz romanticism, brittle chamber dub, and plasmic post-techno electronics, Tarquin Magnet is Australian musician Tarquin Manek's first full solo release on Blackest Ever Black, but by no means his first contribution to the label; as one-half of Tarcar (with Carla dal Forno), he has released the dysfunctional dreamsongs of Mince Glace (2014), and as one-third of F ingers (with dal Forno and Samuel Karmel) he has helped summon the baleful backyard apparitions of Hide Before Dinner (BLACKEST 044LP, 2015). Manek has been busy elsewhere, too; he released Th Duo under his LST alias on Another Dark Age in 2015 (ADA 003LP). Still, none of this activity prepares one for the disturbed and enchanted environments of Tarquin Magnet. Its raw materials are the result of improvisation and domestic field recording, of literally grabbing at whatever's available -- clarinet, keyboard, dictaphone, cell phone -- and throwing it into the pot. And then, of course, untold hours of hunched and red-eyed editing. For all its rough textures and strange juxtapositions, this is masterfully mixed and arranged music; to adepts, and really to anyone listening at high volume, its deep spatial dynamics and higher dub logic will be powerfully apparent. Comparisons are pointless, but one might imagine "Edges of Illusion"-era John Surman meeting Karel Goeyvaerts's minimalist phase, delivered with the no-fidelity recklessness of the best underground traditions of Australia and New Zealand. The spooling tunnel visions of "Fortunes Past" (like a scene from Jane Arden and Jack Bond's Anti-Clock (1979)) and strung-out junkyard gamelan of "Fortunes Begun" precede "Perfect Scorn," a tour de force of crack'd kosmische pitched somewhere between folk tale and science fiction. Imagine The Shadow Ring or Small Cruel Party trying to find common ground with Dettinger or Pole, or the sound of a million servers crashing and taking their users' memories with them. Manek's psycho-acoustic landscaping culminates in "Blackest Frypan," a puzzle-box of insinuating, paranormal resonances wrought out of plucked steel guitar strings, stifled screams, and subaqueous bleeps. This truly progressive, THC-ushered marriage of wracked bedroom psychedelia, gloopy alien concrète, and dubwise, third-eye-open sound-design is a fitting finale to a record of singular and persuasive vision. Mastered and cut by Matt Colton at Alchemy, London; pressed at Optimal; housed in reverse-board sleeve with printed inner sleeve and download code (MP3/FLAC).