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Tarentel | Ephemera: Singles 1999 â?? 2000 (Temporary Residence Ltd.)
It's easy to picture San Francisco's Tarentel spending entire afternoons sitting on the city's cable cars, observing the gentle bustle of life around them, and figuring out the meticulous, sophisticated textures that unfold like the blossoming of flowers through their music. Cataloguing all of their singles to date (mostly out of print â?? thank heavens for marketeers), Tarentel's mellifluous epics hover along in sublime, sepia-tinted bliss, like dream sequences depicted as grainy, old film stock. Such minimal, avant-drifting defies absolute definition - quietly plucked ambient guitar lines, found sounds and samples tussle gently with gorgeously subdued basslines and distant drum sounds. The ensuing instrumental sadcore is delicately repetitive but its desolate, all-consuming splendour takes the seminal lustre of combos like Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Low, Zoviet France, My Bloody Valentine, Eno and fucks over their collective legacy with sheer indigenous imagination, leaving a burnt-out trail of tempered egos wishing they'd thought of it first. Like Godspeed YBE!, Tarentel eschew the limits of time and channel their creative reserves into generating splinter groups (Howard Hello, Lumen, Rumah Sakit) â?? obviously sleeping and eating are of secondary importance. Still it's great news for the rest of us. Considering the amount of line-up changes Tarentel has undergone, their cohesion is astonishing. Five tracks pan out over seventy minutes, during which time Tarentel depict slow, sinister movement embellished with elements that, on first listen, are difficult to detect â?? like the systematically-distending drone that holds together the sprawling Searching For Things, for instance. Initially an embryonic shuffle, it swells up into a saturated sonic boom and eventually becomes dense enough to slice vulnerable, corporeal emotions into tatters. Treacherous for those of us who wear our hearts on the sleeves of our thin, cotton t-shirts. Tarentel enjoy the idea of challenge, sustaining their own interest by continually revamping and rearranging their sound. 'Ephemera' documents the dynamic ebb and flow in their approach perfectly, and we should be grateful for it. Tarentel are like stars you can touch.
Velimir Pavle Ilic
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002