Romance of Young Tigers: Marie
Magic Bullet Records

Marie was recorded live on October 26, 2007 and includes no overdubs, so the EP gives us Romance of Young Tigers' sound in its rawest and purest form—just they way the band likes it, presumably. The two tracks, sixteen and eighteen minutes respectively, are best listened to via headphones so that the material's nuances and subtleties can be heard, especially when some of it unspools at a meditative microsound level; the closing minutes of the first piece, for example, are an almost inaudible rumble that's as much felt as heard. Group member names—Aaron Smith, Gabe Mitchell, Todd Osborne, and Seth Graham—are listed but not instrumentation; nevertheless, the material itself suggests that guitars and electronics are the dominant sound-generators. One pictures the four hunched over gear in near-darkness collectively banishing time as they push ever deeper into séance-styled explorations.

Slowly emerging from silence, “Marie 1” grows into a ghost-like, occasionally noise-encrusted drone that whistles peacefully. Eight minutes in, the thickening drone suggests a star's graceful arc across the sky but then decompression sets in, much like the relative silence that attends the plummet of a shuttle when it re-enters earth's atmosphere. “Marie 2” begins softly as well, this time with extended tones punctuated by a soft, bird-like motif. Naturally, the volume grows and tension mounts as scarred guitar lines ripple and quiver until the funereal whole builds into a reverberating mass. The group's commendably uncompromising—there's nothing here that suggests the band is doing anything but exactly what it wants, listeners and sales figures be damned—which only makes Marie all the more appealing.

March 2009