I’m not quite sure why it has taken me so long to write about this fine tape from Missing Organs, otherwise known as writer and musician Tristan Bath.
It’s not through a lack of listening – it has been on my tape deck for a more than considerable few plays since its release back in October. The curse of the time-poor blogger I suppose, and so I offer up these few words in the form of an apology to all Missing Organs fans everywhere.
Undiscovered is the first Missing Organs release but it’s a very assured one. The pieces are meticulously created with precise, pared down arrangements that nevertheless manage to draw on a wide sonic palette.
The overarching mood of these instrumental pieces is a kind of low-end melancholy, marshalling unease and chilliness in equal measure. Check out those frosty synth and piano chords in Neterism, like a misty shroud of darkness slowly drawing in and bringing with it unknown perils, even as the memories of an unruffled summer are still present to warm our fragile bones.
Absence of evidence also channels this creeping sense of dread, its distorted bass grinding across violin scrubs and insistent piano evoking a nervy anticipation. It’s what I imagine would happen if the neoclassical auteurs of Denovali records or Erased Tapes were commissioned to score the Saw horror films. Elegant terror.
Mind you, it’s not all doomy clanging. Evidence of Absence – a kind of yang to the previous track’s yin – deploys a lovely cascading sweep of metallic sonorities. A zither’s brittle tone chimes among what seems to be some kind of kind of clockwork orchestra that works itself up into a shivery crescendo, waves crashing on a beach on a freezing cold day, an endless expanse of blue sky above it.
Even more fun is the shifting chords and wordless moans of Rotting Apricot. The slow boil of a wah-wah guitar gives the piece the zonked feel of a stoned late night jam, or maybe the scorched earth soloing of Kawabata Makoto replayed by a bedroom guitar shredder on a massive dose of downers as a dinosaur croons outside the window.
Cassette versions of Undiscovered are long gone, but the album is still available digitally, free, on Bandcamp. I’d recommend it – although some of Bath’s influences occasionally poke through the pitted, crepuscular surfaces of these pieces, they’re more than countered by the single-mindedness of his creative vision here. With Undiscovered, he’s staking out territory, one that will doubtless be the focus of further explorations.