Experimental music at its quirkiest, this recording of Tazartes and Dunietz’s first live performance as a duo is energetic, theatrical, and packed with large doses of both light and shade. The two twenty-three minute parts with no internal labels have the sound quality of a studio recording.
With occasional rave piano noises and drum machine pattern cameos that sit somewhere between the IDM label and circus music at times, this is at times more structured and steadily grooved than you might expect. Both artists use their voices with passionate, mostly wordless grunts, guttural throat singing, meaningless (I think) operatic wails and some almost tongue-in-cheek ‘laaa’ noises, making those the dominant instrument throughout.
Rapidly panning processed white noise, strung-out low bass string notes, harmonica-like meanderings and occasional twinkling bell sounds abound. Threatening rumbles, mocking laughter and muted timpani rolls bring an almost pantomime flavour at parts. Particularly in the second part this settles into a darker, bluesier, sometimes almost ecclesiastical tone, though once you’ve got the image of Grandpa Simpson moaning into your head, it’s difficult to shake it. A big finale of sampled fanfares and radio noises pushes its uniqueness even further.
It’s refreshing to hear an experimental performance demonstrate such an ability to have fun without ever devolving into self-parody. Unashamedly “peculiar” (their word), it’s an attention-grabbing and conversation-starting bit of strong vocal arrangement that made me want to check out whether they would be performing live in my part of the world. (They did, but four years ago... whoops.)