Without Ghosts Conjures Up Pleasing Beats and Melodies

Written by Everett True on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts.



Without
Ghosts
Bridge
and Tunnel (Harmsonic)


The Bridge
and Tunnel cover also encourages further examination. These symbols are understated,
but hold so much potential. Art reduced to a few simple components. I could
sit and stare at this cover–or a larger version of same–for hours
on end, deriving pleasure from my own imagination, without any need for prompting,
without ghosts. The square, the triangle and the circle…so much more pleasing
than alpha and omega or a slightly unfocused shot of some vegetation, don’t
you agree?


The music
is similarly pleasing: hushed voices and beats so gentle and constant as to
almost not be there. When lyrics do intrude, they make a generous nonsense,
glimpse at half-forgotten memories and link together Eastern despots with present-day
paraphernalia. (The title is mendacious: these ambient soundscapes, this melancholic
electronica, do nothing but evoke whispery apparitions.) The drawn-out start
to "The Kids Are Dead" (an instrumental replete with saddened echoes
of bells and the occasional Gregorian chant) reminds me of the intro to Pink
Floyd’s "Shine on You Crazy Diamond," and hell. I like that.


Memories
and ghosts are so damn important. Bridge and Tunnel understands this. They may
list an intimidating array of electronic friends–Nord Lead 1, G3 and G4,
Mutator, Lexicon PCM91 and MPX 100, E-MU E6400, Motu 2408 Mk II, DBX 386, HagenukClou,
Lavazza, 1212 Mk IIs, Boss TU-12H, Sovtek Tube Midget 50H, et al.–but that’s
only because they would have been unable to reveal these half-remembered melodies
and yesterday’s radio static without them.


Maybe it
should come as no surprise that these two London boys (Nathan Bennett on bass/guitar/voice,
Mark Bihler on computer love) have remixed Saint Etienne and France’s Mellow.
The center of the instrumental "L.A. Knights" boasts a cyclical pedal
steel and continually threatens to burst into the refrain to Kraftwerk’s
"Autobahn." Such playfulness is very common here, and endearing. I
swear that the guitar on "A Wheelchair for Mrs. Ruple" has been lifted
from the Cream songbook, while what is that menacing voice on "Nothing
Is Sacred" doing if not wickedly mimicking the entire sword and sorcery
genre? Or perhaps that’s simply Nathan’s musical apprenticeship in
New York’s grindcore scene asserting itself. The start of "Tulsa"
whistles gently to itself like something from (ex-Tricky backing singer) Allison
Goldfrapp’s baroque Felt Mountain album.


A square,
a triangle and a circle. I like it. There’s a wholeness and neatness to
all of this. Also, Nathan proclaims that "contemporary r&b is the devil"
and you have to like that, don’t you?


..