Unpredictable electronics from the Midwest underground.
The newest Tiger Village album, Tact, is abstract in the most playful way possible. Thornton eschews repetition in favor of a constant flow of sounds and musical phrases, introducing new elements only to have them mutate and slip away just as quickly as they arrived. Primarily using modular synth and sampler, he pieces together small sounds into stuttering, non-repetitive beats and abstracted melodies that come together in unexpected ways. Despite this complexity—or maybe because of it—Tact feels generative and alive.
Take "Flightless," where a simple melody is a starting point for an increasingly intricate tangle of sounds. The synth line stands alone for the first 30 seconds. Once a sampled drum machine is introduced, seemingly triggered at random intervals, the melody is inverted and rearranged, buried beneath a flurry of synth squiggles and mangled beats. Halfway through the track, a steady pulse emerges from the free-for-all, like an image appearing in a Magic Eye print, but swiftly disintegrates again. The track ends with a return of the original melodic phrase juxtaposed with a drum machine pattern that subtly falls out of sync, coming full circle but not offering firm resolution.
Like much of the music from today's Midwest underground, Tact moves beyond danceable rhythms and haunted atmospheres while also rejecting the seriousness of previous waves of IDM and conceptual electronic music. While artists like Giant Claw (AKA Keith Rankin, who runs Orange Milk) and Fire-Toolz (who released a tape on Suite 309) have also let loose maximal deluges of incongruous sounds, Thorton's music is more subtle. From moment to moment, it is hard to tell what on Tact is meticulously composed and what is completely improvised. That ambiguity makes it a fascinating, dizzying example of the futuristic sounds coming from that part of the world.