Monday, December 17, 2012

07. Alexander Tucker - Third Mouth (Thrill Jockey)

Third Mouth is an inward journey. It’s not, as some have suggested, a folk album; it belongs to no tradition, and the lyrical references to place and nature are mostly imaginary and symbolic. The only landscape the songs reflect is that of the mind - a mind - and the only community a community of one. If it evokes a sense of mythology, then it’s strictly personal, rooted in Tucker’s own memories, associations and dreams. The album title comes from a time when, during his childhood, Tucker was told by his otherwise apparently very ordinary and down to earth mother that she could speak in tongues; that she possessed a “third mouth” as others might speak of a third eye. And the opening track, ‘A Dried Seahorse’ is based around another childhood memory, one that seems to have the surreal, isolated intensity of a remembered dream; Tucker’s father emerging from the garden shed to present his son with a tiny dried seahorse. The incident could have come from a David Lynch film, or perhaps Cronenberg’s Spider; the fact that the seahorse is the only creature where the male can carry the child adds another layer of symbolism to the tale.

Musically, although Tucker’s gently fingerpicked guitar dominates, there is a deliberately artificial shimmer throughout, and an electronic undertow created by his trademark loops that refutes any notion of the rustic or rural. In the absence of beats, Daniel O’ Sullivan’s droning viola, or cello-like bass synth, anchors Tucker’s often free-floating, otherworldly vocals. On the seven-minute plus ‘The Glass Axe’ they constantly swoop and climb, dip and ascend, as though the song were somehow constructed horizontally rather than vertically; like dream memories which, although they may seem to last for hours, are often stacked within only a few seconds of REM sleep. Yet there still remains a sense of something ancient and mysterious here, out of step with the clear logic of digital technology. When ‘Mullioned View’ collapses into glitchy loops, it’s as though the track has somehow become trapped in its own dark mirror.

via The Quietus (read the rest there)

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