This is a blog devoted to music on the edge - experimental, underground, alternative, subversive, or just plain weird - new music that tries new things, or old music that broke old rules. It's a place to discuss ideas, share discoveries, to think about what makes music interesting and challenging but still good to listen to. Join in and have your say!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

When things no longer go bump in the dark - Tangerine Nightmare's 'Synthicide'

Often it’s not the things you see in nightmares that scare you the most, but rather the things you don’t see. The things that lurk in the shadows; the things that are shapeless, faceless, unconvincingly quiet.

Germany’s electronic, ambient krautrock band, Tangerine Dream, produces in you the sort of psyched out, psychedelic experiences that you just know, after a few years, are going to catch up on you.  And in the one-night only, one-album only, avant-trio of Melbourne based Clinton Green, Andrew McIntosh and Lloyd Barrett, Tangerine Nightmare, all those trippy chemicals finally meet their destiny.

The album is called Synthicide, and it brings you, veiled in its ambient laptop noise, the sounds of things, scary things, that are too crafty, too clever, to go bump in the night. Instead, they slither and rumble along, behind you, around you, just enough to let you know they’re there, but not enough to let you know how to find them or hold them.

The result is unnerving. Your blood drops a few degrees when you hear this music, but you know you can’t escape it because it’s not really slithering and rumbling around you at all – it’s all happening within you: bits of your brain and your life at last seeing the dark side of the things that you had once painted in the colours of fluorescent rainbows.

The five tracks of Synthicide flow into each other with that same kind of coherence you get when you half wake from one nightmare and fall back into another. Things are different, but you know it’s the same dream, exerting the same hold on you.

It’s easy to describe music as ‘dark’ these days, and it is often the word you use when you don’t know what else to say about something that’s vaguely disturbing or sinister. But Synthicide is dark in its much more literal sense: the absence of light, the place where things creep around and wait to pounce. It’s the sort of dark where everything is in camouflage, where demons wear soft-soled shoes, and talk in whispers.

Albums like Synthicide are especially exciting for people who, as I do, live close enough to Melbourne to be able to call Tangerine Nightmare a local musical project - even if it was just a one-off. But it's still a great reminder of what a thriving, vibrant underground music scene we have here. Things like this are popping up all over the place - or, to be more correct, all under the place - if you just know where to look.

Discovered, for me, on 3PBS 106.7 FM's Ear of the Behearer, Synthicide is available from Shame File Music.

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