Twine: Twine
Ghostly International

On its fifth full-length, Twine (Greg Malcolm and Chad Mossholder) alchemizes the sounds of haunted voices, percussive static, and vaporous textures into a provocative electronic amalgam. The nine mercurial soundscapes teem with stuttering beats, dirge-like drones, sampled telephone conversations, and throbbing pulses, and the moods are typically hallucinatory and mysterious, filled with atmosphere and tension. Occasional traces of influences do surface—the staccato beats on “Kalea Morning” and “Counting Off Again” recall vintage Autechre, and the whistling electronics on “Asa Nisi Masa” vaguely suggest Eno—but the group largely maps out an idiosyncratic and mesmerizing terrain all its own. What makes the recording so distinctive is the source material the group uses for the tracks' constructions. Pianos, vocals (hypnotic, ethereal contributions from Shelly Gracon and Alison Scola), and acoustic guitars are the dominant elements that establish the recording's human core. But all such components are treated to radical transformations whereby vocals are cut up, reversed, and looped, and processed pianos reverberate dramatically in Thaemlitz-like fashion. The peaks here are many but two in particular stand out: “Kalea Morning,” a twelve-minute epic of pinging beats, haunting laments, and crystalline tonal clusters, and “Asa Nisa Masa,” which uses a vocal chant to nightmarish and exotic effect. Twine's brooding music is unsettling and portentous—a wonder to behold.

January 2004