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Tungsten74 | Aleatory Element (Technical Echo)
Just when I thought I had my editor nailed, he goes and does this to me. 'Aleatory Element' is a double album full of, and I quote Alternative Press magazine, "Brainy cosmic rock". Plus, much of the album is improvised. Great! Needless to say I skirted around reviewing it until I'd exhausted everything else available (and I've heard some right stinkers over the past few weeks), but wouldn't you know it? Tungsten74, a trio straight out of Brooklyn, have had the last laugh. There are no real songs, in the strict sense, on either disc of 'Aletory Element', just collages of sound. Tens of minutes can drift by whilst listening to the hypnotic waves of drone rock that populate the first disc - Didjetaldroo standing out in particular - but it's the quirky streaks that zigzag disc two like a lost-and-found Pollock painting that really grab your attention. It sounds as if an entire middle-African nation (I dunno, say Chad) is drumming in unison on The Third Song The Aliens Gave Us, whilst A Natural Tendency Against Mixing threatens to break into Korn's interpretation of Lowrider before thankfully changing its mind. We Didn't Know It Was A Mutiny Until It Failed meanwhile is just sublime, period. Sure, the experimentation doesn't always pay off, the whole thing reeks of pretension (those song titles, really...), and a couple of tracks are a waste of time (Get Awesome for example), but, although it may have been better condensed into a single disc, 'Aleatory Element' should be checked out by anyone with even a passing interest in the likes of Sigur Ros, Tortoise or even Neu! So, me then. I take it back - my editor's a saint, and I can hear him laughing from here.

Mike Diver
March-April 2004

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