Twelve Atmospheres by The Tapeworm Vessel

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The Tapeworm Vessel
Twelve Atmospheres (Klanggalerie; CD/DL)

Twelve Atmospheres is the debut album by The Tapeworm Vessel (David Janssen & Sylvie Walder) which gets a much needed proper release upon its ten year anniversary on Viennese imprint Klanggalerie. Previously this session was only available in digital form to a limited audience and a handful of homemade CDRs distributed among friends. In the ensuing decad they have unofficially released only three recordings, though judging by this we only hope to see the others and/or new material make the earshot of day. By the way, Walder also painted the Brancusi-like cover art which helps set the tone. The disc opens with the sweet tweets of feathered friends on Dr CG Jung’s Hallucination Under A Tree. A slightly eerie ambient theme ranges from light to mysterious with added radio voices. As it slowly slips back into the mentioned garden, drawn synth drones on, appearing like rising steam. An open air atmosphere that gives the listener slight pause.

The record’s title lays out the expected dozen tracks and the promised atmosphere, albeit accidental trippy sensations. This is in its own class. At times glassy synths, moody effects, in-situ disturbances are emitted – but the whole thing is quite ghostly lain under a foggy layer of wonderous, ever-shapeshifting drone. This subliminal effect is likely most evident on Sein Und Zeit. There’s something under the radar, movements that suggest unease. Thomas Koner’s work comes to mind upon first listen to the windy-driven Saddened Ivy. Though the duo here layers something akin to chamber music distortions, making for its own short story. And that story continues with the lovely and somewhat close-to-the-chest melody of A Tear From Wotan’s Eye Falls…here we are lost in the middle of nowhere, perfectly set among the quietude of nature, as a darkness looms but never quite takes over the tranquil scene.

Ragwort Garland is a blend of shoegaze ambient electronics with samples of a classical piano melody, crackling effects and lots of space to breath and listen to its inherent hush. It gets quite deep on Loki’s Shivers, as a presumably old man is shackled in a dark space, his muddled cries overshadowed by gaseous drones and reverb. It’s inventively chilling and unhinged, softly alienating. The atmosphere is again ill at ease, like a snapshot of a damned place.  …On A Suffocating Village Street is the most understated piece here, with minor percussive noise causing something of an elongated beat. Its under-the-radar tonality pulses towards infinity, though this only lasts less than five minutes. This transmission is effective, dismal and intermediary in its way.

Caressed By Nettles has a bit of a twinkle in its sordid rattle and hum, a sense of lightness after several gloomier tracks. Still all attention is focused on the potential goings-on which leads one to believe something may be lurking just out of reach. The lengthiest piece here is the concluding A Wrinkled Garden, which starts as a glorious ambient work. The synths rise and shimmer softly. Layers start to twist around and in/outside of each other as the atmosphere turns gray, peculiar. It stops just short of murky as one of the layers dissipates toward the din and echo sorting itself into something of a wandering spirit. A perfectly timeless listen and recovered treasure.

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