After just two records in 2010, New York's L.I.E.S. turned out six last year, from well-established artists like Legowelt as well as rising locals like Terekke and Willie Burns, and this year's release schedule is on track for a lucky 13 releases by the end of August, spanning everything from lo-fi ambient to white-knuckled techno. Smack dab in the middle of that bumper crop comes a curious record that neatly sums up L.I.E.S.' esoteric approach to the dance floor. The work of Brooklyn video artist Luke Wyatt, all four tracks here draw inspiration from the '80s and '90s, but it's not necessarily the bits you'd expect. There are all those guitars, for one thing: "Mark of the Hound" is awash in the ringing chords of early Sonic Youth, which thrash atop no-frills synths and a drum machine that sounds like it's coming from the next room; "Shock Tape" has a quicksilver twang akin to the Durutti Column. The drums are heavier and more deliberate, with multiple machines bashing out a chunky, mechanical funk, but they still sound like the product of '80s four-track technology, sodden with tape hiss. As for "A Piece of a Storm," its golden fields of tremolo positively scream My Bloody Valentine, even as the muffled machine groove tips its hat to STL and Omar-S.
The title track stands out for its relative clarity; a bit like the chopped-and-screwed video edits made by Oneohtrix Point Never's Daniel Lopatin under his Sunset Corp moniker, "Tarifa" takes a slice of perky electro pop and slows it way, way down to a woozy 80 BPM. Strange things happen at these depths. Weird, ring-mod effects bore into the track like overheated drill bits. Hi-hats and cowbells fray around the edges, scabbed over with digital artifacts, and down-pitched snares crumple with a hollow thud. Deep in the background, the tide of guitars rises, as if swallowing a ruined jetty. Dissolution, rather than evolution, is the order of the day.
Buy Torn Hawk - Tarifa at
Tracklist: Torn Hawk - Tarifa A1 Tarifa
A2 A Piece Of The Storm
B1 Shock Tape
B2 Mark of the Hound
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