Album Reviews

rec.tangle – Heavy Maple

(Melodic) UK release date: 20 July 2009

Back in the good old days when there were but three channels and wrestling was a sport with only little old ladies as spectactors, there was a distinct glut of programmes that seemed to feature the wonders of the bottle plant. Bottles everywhere, up a conveyor belt, down a different conveyor belt until they all collected at a point where they jostled against each other like glassy fans at the front of a Take That concert.

Most usually this amazing footage, the likes of which the world had never seen, was accompanied by the jaunty little ditty Popcorn by Jean Michel Jarre. When that tune couldn’t be licensed something else had to be found. Oh how Adrien Rodes – aka rec.tangle – must hanker after those days and a time machine. He’d have been minted.

Heavy Maple is an album jammed to the hilt with electro-acoustic instrumental songs, all of which are quite pretty but generally suffer from a lack of anything particularly exciting going on at any point.

There are however a few high points. We must give praise to Anima’s Lament which starts life as an intriguing little piano riff and builds to a point where it seems that the only option rec.tangle had left open was to add something that sound like a tuba honking away in such a manner that you can only assume the aliens from The War Of The Worlds have turned up and started a ruckus with their death ray.

The Meadow Green is quaintly quirky with a few off kilter changes in mood and tempo. It’s also one of the few times that a slight sense of menace can be felt on the album as a brooding keyboard hums away threateningly as the album nears the end. Maybe we’ve heard too much Sunn O))) recently, but you really can’t beat a good deep pulsating drone.

Placed towards the end of the album it would appear that its key purpose is to wake you up so that you don’t forget to turn the stereo off before bed time. It is worth catching the closing track Airbourne.Heliotropic.Medusae before turning in though, as it has a few nice touches – rolling drums, psychedelic vocals, and a guitar that may have been played by a wind-up monkey.

Sadly by the end of the album, you’ll be too bored to care whether these are good tracks or not. rec.tangle seems to have only one tempo, and over the space of 40 minutes this album drags. There’s not enough in the way of dynamics to grab, and precious few moments of real unadulterated genius to get excited about. Maybe rec.tangle sits at home watching Philip Glass‘s Koyaanisqatsi with the sound down and tries to replicate the magic that Glass had whilst crying a little.

All of this may sound a little harsh but this is an album of little more than uninspiring background music at best. It would never even have made it on to the soundtrack of some bottle factory footage. But if you ever need a tune to accompany the selfless act of watching paint drying, rec.tangle should be able to help.

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rec.tangle – Heavy Maple