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Tripswitch - Geometry


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Artist: Tripswitch
Title: Geometry
Label: Section Records
Date: September, 2010

1. Circularity
2. Concentric Circles
3. Goldbach's Conjecture
4. Floating Point
5. Strange Parallels
6. Tesselation
7. Harmonic Mean
8. Stereogram
9. Glide Reflection

This is Nick Brennan with his second release on new label Section Records. His first, Circuit Breaker, turned a lot of heads in the downtempo community and he has made the rounds on numerous compilations. If I had to pick a favorite track by him, I would go with Deer Park. What Nick is quite skilled at is not being pigeon holed into one specific genre. While proficient in the slower downtempo stuff he can just as easily craft a nice breakbeat tune or an ambient floater. Fair to say I looked forward to his follow up album.

Circularity- I like the muted trip-hop beat with the soft pad in the background. It has a nice groove. More synths combine to create a loungey type feel with more tribal percussion. A nice intro track.

Concentric Circles- There is a dubby quality here with ice cold pads on the horizon. More tribal percussion heightens the groove with the whisper of a female voice. The guitar accompaniment is well placed and I like the attention to detail. Good stuff.

Goldbach's Conjecture- Such a groove! The dubby bass and clanging in the background bely a afternoon summer rest after surfing all day. The soft keystrokes dance lithely above the groove recalling a certain subway ride in Chicago a la Risky Business. Great track!

Floating Point- I'm sorry did I accidentally switch to my Yanni CD? This is a cheesy piano melody that is so full of sugar and spice that I think I became diabetic. Watch your step...that was my lunch there. Maybe it was just me, but I don't think this track fits here at all. Or in this genre. This is new age corn for the masses.

Strange Parallels- Cool percussion work again with a tribal feel. The soft piano melody is joined with some seriously liquid effects. When the guitar comes in I have to admit it is very pretty with a lot less cheese than the last track. The tone is a little more dark and a slight bit hopeful, just the way I like it. This is a very pretty song.

Tesselation- This breakbeat track is kind of dreamy. It makes me think of the album cover, high tech future music. It continues on and I get lost in it, but not in a good way. Seemed boring.

Harmonic Mean- This one is a floating track with acoustic guitar, twinkling synths and a nice breakbeat. My God I got the sense that this was similar to a track I heard by Cause and Effect. Poppy, yet appealing. Again it feels dreamy. It's sunset music after a long, fun day at the beach. I seem to be saying that a lot. Well, if the shoe fits...

Stereogram- I really liked this one. It is deep with a nice breakbeat to it. The synths are not overpowering allowing the track to take hold and manipulate. Very spacious. My favorite for sure.

Glide Reflection- Looped strings and piano make this feel like it is the last track. It continues to build and becomes a progressive bouncer. Surprisingly catchy and although not groundbreaking in its complexity it pulls itself together to be quite rhythmic.

This was a good listen. If I had to sum up what this album made me feel I would do it this way. After a long day of surfing and sunbathing, close friends gather at the edge of the beach and watch the sunset with a few Coronas. It is a reflection of the good time had while also allowing you to be introspective. The beats were funky and groovy, and the synths and guitar allowed for deep meditation. If you throw away the cotton candy Floating Point and the dull Tesselation than this is a great album. As I mentioned in some track descriptions this had a dreamy quality and is very well put together. Recommended.



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  • 4 weeks later...

first album was way better, i will surely have more listen :unsure:

That's what I thought at the beginning as well, but now I think they're on par.

 

 

I mean Circuit Breaker had some stunning tracks, but some of them were dull or even annoying, with too much ethnic singing etc. The new one is more 'balanced' - none of the tracks stands out significantly, they're all very good. I like the progressive approach he took here: the tracks usually evelove organically, build upon a single element adding new layers of sound to create a coherent, musical piece. At first it sounds pretty simple, but - just like with Doof's second album, that I'm sure was disappointing for many - the strength here lays in arrangements and the moods that are evoked - usually melancholic, dreamy, reflective but still very much on the positive side. Original reviewer indeed summarised it perfectly - this is a 'having good time' kind of album, though I completely lost him when he said he was bored with 'Tesselation' and his favourite was 'Stereogram'... Coming back to the music, I love how Tripswitch mixes live instruments - mainly all sorts of guitars: clear, jazzy, overdiven, wah-wah etc. - with electronic backgrounds, drums, even acid squelches sometime. And you can still hear a lot of that signature sound that made Circuit Breaker so special (e.g. 'Harmonic Mean' sound a lot like 'Deer Park'), though at the same time you can hear a lot of other influences: dub, glitch, progressive trance even.

 

Separate mention needs to go to the cover art, which is just gorgeous and looks great on the glossy digipack. And to the track names - I don't think there's any connection between the words used and the actual music, but those track names speak to me as a hobbyist scientist (or wannabe physician / astronomer) :)

 

To me, this here is one of 2010's best downtempo albums.

 

5/5

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  • 2 weeks later...

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Artist: Tripswitch

Title: Geometry

Label: Section Records

Released: 1 October 2010

Style: Downbeat, Chillout

 

Tracklist

 

1 Circularity (7:24)

2 Concentric Circles (8:57)

3 Goldbach's Conjecture (6:34)

4 Floating Point (7:12)

5 Strange Parallels (7:21)

6 Tesselation (8:04)

7 Harmonic Mean (9:10)

8 Stereogram (7:14)

9 Glide Reflection (8:04)

 

To use an old football cliché: this is a game of two halfs. The first 4 tracks of this album are a real let down, they sound like they were made to go on Circuit Breaker but were not good enough. The style is similar, summery and with bright open melodies but they lack the spark that ran through the first album and made it alive. The first 4 tracks on Geometry are pedestrian, they don't lift me up or make me take any notice of them. In a word, they are bland.

 

The second half of the album though is excellent. Starting with the fifth track Strange Parallels, the music suddenly comes alive. From before when I forgot even what album I was listening to, suddenly I am lifting the digipak from the floor and wondering "what is the name of this track?". Strange Parallels is very organic and accoustic, just like the previous tracks probably were (I can't really recall anything about them) but this track has that spark I thought was missing. The melody really grabs me and draws me in and I breathe a sigh of relief that this album is not a complete waste. The next track, Tesselation, sounds exactly like it's title: some clever synth work really manages to sound like it is tesselating, like an old fashioned pinball or an original Mario game. Harmonic Mean sounds like it could actually have gone on Circuit Breaker as does Stereogram & Glide Reflection but in a more mature way.

 

One thing I don't understand is the timing of releases nowadays. This album is definitely a summer album, I probably would have loved this album a million times more if it had been released in May or June, but no they released it in October, just in time for the cold weather to come in and for this album to feel out of place. If people listen to it at the wrong time of the year and don't really enjoy it, when summer rolls round they won't remember it. Nick is British so unless the sales in Australia and other southern hemisphere countries are so much better than in Europe and the rest of the north, then I just don't understand it. There is so little money in the underground music industry at the moment so you think they would be smart enough to time their releases to maximise popularity (= recommendations to friends → more sales) instead of releasing it to appeal to a much smaller number of people. I like the second half of this album but it's not good enough that it's going to stick in my head until next summer when it'll probably sound a lot nicer.

 

So all in all this is half a good album released at the wrong time thus giving all the wrong feelings. It is not good enough to warm me up in the cold winter months like some albums (Abakus' debut springs to mind) so it just doesn't really make me want to listen to it. I hope that I will drag this back out come summer and maybe go down to the beach and play it but that is half a year away and it is hard for me to remember anything for more than a few minutes, let alone 6 months. Next time Nick, wait until the time is right if you're going to deliver a highly seasonal release.

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