SCQ Rating: 79%
Tympanik Audio may yet be a major-player in the electronic realm but there’s no refuting the reputation it’s garnering. Turning a cast of mysterious monikers – such as Displacer, Stendeck and C.H. District – into absorbing, poorly kept secrets, the Chicago-based imprint heads into 2012 with another head-swimming dose of IDM beats and atmospherics.
Released but a year after his collaboration with Meander, Overgrown finds Tapage traversing more achingly beautiful melodies and tough, intricate beats. Only this time Tapage’s alone at the helm, allowing his warm tones to stretch and convulse far over Overgrown’s alien landscape. As ‘Loss’ brings the album into bloom with a brilliant overlap of keys and morphing analog loops, ‘Pink Mist’ steps back into less structured brain-candy that is slow to pick up emotional steam. Although the beautiful tracks outweigh the occasional meander, the album carries on trading gorgeous couplets of ambient-IDM tracks (‘Ethyl’, ‘Pockets’) for the odd case of cerebral noodling (‘Leptoid’).
Now there’s nothing inept concerning Tapage’s experiments – they’re accomplished assemblages of varying ideas – but some sonic adventures fail to develop the record’s canvas (which at sixty-four minutes, runs on the long side). Overgrown flirts with the real possibility of containing too much of a good thing and, taking that into consideration, a schizophrenic collage like ‘Mimic’ feels redundant against the poignancy lacing Aphex Twin-worthy ‘Xyloplax’ or the slow-building ‘Unfolding’. Tapage proves himself a maestro in the soft-hued IDM field when operating around a committed melodic core and, luckily for us, Overgrown spends the vast majority of its run-time centered on that particular strength.