Modern Drummer by Tiger Village

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Tiger Village | Modern Drummer
Hausu Mountain (CS/DL)

Tiger Village returns to the Hausu Mountain label for a third time with this new album of percussive freak-outs and synth zaniness.  Tim Thornton, the Cleveland-based artist behind the Tiger Village moniker, mixes a playful stew of bright IDM melodies and wildly-processed breakbeats, each track full to bursting with bristling, restless energy.

It’s a kind of dance music that would be impossible to dance to without causing bodily contusions, the rhythms being so contorted and hyper-kinetic.  But I think that’s where the appeal lies here, cerebral but fun, day-glo synths fizzing and sputtering out emotive chords and melodies that get swept up in a tsunami of clattering beats.

The title track kicks off the album and makes its intent perfectly clear.  Drums sound like they’re falling down a flight of spiral stairs, little melodies poke out from whatever spaces are available between the beats, until they force themselves to the fore. “Summer Bells” follows with just as much hyperactivity, weirdly processed bells that sound like shepard tones rising and falling into infinity as a drum machine has a nervous breakdown.

On “Ooh La La”, Thornton goes for a darker shade, as he employs 8-bit chip tune style melodies over a surprisingly normal beat.  This normal-ness doesn’t last long before the stiffness of the drums is stretched like elastic into all sorts of elongated versions and the track veers back into wacky territory.  Like free-jazz, the music of Tiger Village is always morphing into new shapes, constantly on fast-forward.

Modern Drummer II” is a spectral version of the title track, all smudged vocal samples in a mid-range hue that quickly get eaten up and spat out by the drums.  “Crate Fall (Edit)” is really the only track on the album where the drums take a back seat, but even here the beats are trying to interrupt the synths and join the party.  Final track, “Tightly”, allows more gaps between the hits, the start/stop grooves taking more time in their patterns.  But not for long, these beats are the life and soul of the party here, and don’t want to rest.  It’s an all-nighter for the drums. The whole album is quite exhilarating, if also sometimes a little exhausting.  But for those who can handle the sheer number of ideas thrown into the mix here, there are rich rewards.

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