Saturday, December 5, 2009

Orphaned by the Ocean - Teeth of the Sea (#9, 2009)

I don't know almost anything about Teeth of the Sea, except that they're British. As for the music, they have a trumpet, sometimes with a spaghetti-western Morricone feel, sometimes with a film noir tone. It's instrumental, reminding me often of Pink Floyd's non-commercial, non-rock sections - but with trumpet. And not really overlapping too much with the actual music it reminds me of. Sometimes it will get inside your skull in the way a constant background noise will drift from direct attention but hang at the edge of subconscious awareness. Most of the whole album really hangs together, whereas individual tunes don't really stand out so much. So, I've filled in more gaps than usual, but I'm going to describe it track by track.

"Only Fools on Horse" begins with a drone somewhat reminiscent of the opening track on Bring It On (1998) by Gomez. Figures enter the soundfield one by one: crazy-Syd delay-guitar, spaghetti trumpet, then Floydian bass layer, then (welcometothe) machine scrapings like a misaligned sawblade. The drone persists... the mind falters.

"Latin Inches" features harmonious ambience, a paced tribal thump, and a slow Eastern-Western guitar twang. A voice splits the difference between mystic chant and "Sweat Loaf." Everything drifts, repeats, builds and crashes into freak-out maximus.
"Coraniaid" is a short postlude of low-tide ambient pulse.

"Swear Blind the Alsatian's Melting," the song most people fixate on, probably because it almost has a rock song buried in the middle third. The trumpet features prominently with all the other usual ingredients, maybe a little more barre chord than we've encountered thus far. Melting makes me think of Salvador Dali's fluid objects, the Alsatian evokes Dali and Luis Bunuel's Andalusian dog, and swear blind reminds me of Bunuel's ecstatic profanities. Only tangentially related to the song, if you get my drift... Here's live performance at a radio station.

"Dreadnought" floats gently along, accumulating heft, building in spectrum and intensity. It reaches a point towards the end where it seems like the actual sound of being insane, with too many different things competing at low levels. "Knees Like Knives" is a plucky lil' guitar postlude for this one.

Finally, "Sentimental Journey" [live] takes a different path. High/low-frequency oscillating synth drones, unobtrusive (almost detached) tribal rhythm, with an odd digital squeezebox lead, of variable intensity. It's still pretty cool, but does feel like a bonus track compared with the unity of the precedings.

Looking back, Orphaned by the Ocean reminds me mostly of The Alps III (#9, 2008) - but different. Looking forward, new EP in January!!

Orphaned by the Ocean
Official/Myspace -
Purchase - Boomkat (UK)
iTunes - Teeth of the Sea

Genre - Soundtrack Jazz and Noise Ambience
Location - The U.K.
Review - Ptolemaic Terrascope

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