I suspect that a few of you lot have been looking for a bit of a change, if not a rest. You’re probably sick of your daily commute and crusty old headphones. What are you doing, still using those waxy inner Sol Republic Jax when you’ve been dreaming about some outer ear Griffin Woodtones? I guess it doesn’t matter anyway because you’ve not updated your iPod since 2012, and even that’s probably irrelevant because you’ve not been riled by a record since Origin Of Symmetry came out. It seems you’re all geared up to get the best listening experience but not even a 240gb iPod nor a 20 to 20,000 Hz frequency range is going to get you out of this slump.
It’s really become a case of just going through the motions as you make your weekly commuters soundtrack and shove the dirty plastic deep towards your ear drum – a filthy habit. You’re sick of the sound of the playlist and to be honest the playlist is sick of you.
Doesn’t matter. I know some guys who can help. They’re really sound chaps and they go by the collective name of Gum Takes Tooth. They’ve just released an album, it’s called Mirrors Fold.
Kicking off your journey is the albums one and only title track. A slow builder and beginning on the sacred side, with hypnotic hums and a layer of rhythmic feedback before an eventual frolic into death metal territory. The intro builds a little longer than you might expect so if that spooks you then you could be in for some trouble later on in the record. I won’t mention it now, but it gets real wild.
I like to think of the collective as some sort of new age shaman. The music has a spiritual grounding, littered with chanting, groaning, whaling and a general trippy attitude. It is a constant experiment in the arrival of twitchy and unhinged sounds over persistent patterns. The music is repetitive but always heading forward; always looking to progress and move on from the previous highlight. As one aspect enters another slips out the back door only to reappear later through the front, wearing a different hat; a shaman’s hat, and he’s about to convince the family to sacrifice your firstborn to an sullen God.
Mirrors Fold is not judicable following a lonesome hearing – it needs time to be savoured, digested and understood. The small nuances of sound; creeping feedback, overlaying polyrhythms and raw edge to the percussion cast the work into a new league that deserves studying. The drums are industrial to the point of a well tamed, machine-like endurance. The persistent percussion is like clock-work, or a contact mic on the skeleton of a dancing maniac. It’s the sound of a body working – each squelch of a tendon or click of bone is in time with a crush of vulgar noise at the forefront of a Mayan rain dance. It all needs to be digested properly before the experience can be fully satisfied.
The journey is long, rugged, gloriously patient and massively convincing. Moments of serenity are common and just as frequent are minutes of fear and panic; like the moment before an hallucinating child is thrown into molten lava, all dealt with by the shaman. The album is impressive, simple and quite beautiful, too.
Give a man an iPod and he’ll get the tube to work. Give a man the Gum Takes Tooth record and his commute won’t be half as bad as it used to be.
No longer does your ride need to be some drawn out, drab affair. That iPod is now in need of its overdue update and it’s finally time to hang up your ‘I don’t give a tossing log about the quality of sound anyway’ attitude and headphones. You deserve better than that. We all deserve better than that and we all deserve to be convinced into doing something rash.
Words: Loic J. Tuckey