We Move Through Weather
f there is one thing that has always been constant about Tarentel, it’s change. The group began its existence as a spacier and less crescendo-prone alternative to Godspeed You Black Emperor! on its first album and made its way to even more experimental pastures on its second album, released in 2002. This time around the group has once again changed line-ups, adding Sonna drummer Jim Redd to the mix, presumably to give form to the sometimes meandering nature of the group’s more aqueous wanderings.
And instead of the clear and present guitar lines that made up the group’s previous records, the sonic backdrop is more drone-based material. Material that comes from the collective unconscious of sound itself, raising itself out of the murk via Redd’s powerful drumming and given form soon after by the rest of the group’s sonic alchemy.
One gets the feeling while listening to We Move Through Weather that Carl Sagan’s primordial soup is being audibly evoked. Pulsing feedback drones, barely contained keyboard notes stretched to their limit and a healthy dose of echo are all generously applied on tracks like “Get Away From Me You Clouds Of Doom”. Gone are the hopeful plucks of a repeated guitar line from From Bone to Satellite. In its place are disquieting ventures into the portentous unknown, with the forceful hand of Redd’s drumming.
Redd doesn’t always dominate the proceedings, though: on “Elephant Shoes” the group allows the music to remain untethered. In his absence, the sound is pushed back and forth over the track’s two-minute length between the muted wailing of a decaying instrument and the distended string based droning of a heavily effected guitar. These are the sounds of the group at their most elemental, drawing out whatever tension they can from studio experiments and putting it to tape.
Overall, it works. Where 2002’s The Order of Things frequently glided in its second half, losing the listener to the beauty of the sound and its timeless quality, the addition of Redd’s drumming gives the group a new focus and form to their sound. We Move Through Weather is the meatier cousin of its predecessor, filling in the blanks of an album that was missing key ingredients. Where there was bliss, there is now careful optimism. Where there was careful optimism, there is now an existential dread. Tarentel’s third proper LP is a jump ahead for the group’s sound and, barring any line-up changes, bodes well for the continued vitality of their work.