Shalmaneser: Vierhebigkeit (Aural Films, 2021)

July 14, 2021 at 7:28 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Shalmaneser: Vierhebigkeit

Tim Walters makes circuit-fried noise records under his own name, but his latest album as Shalmaneser (pronounced sort of like “Ebeneezer”) is a much more melodic, friendly set of modular synth tunes. It reminds me of Asmus Tietchens’ early records that kind of sound like Throbbing Gristle meets Devo, although I think those comparisons really distort the idea of what he’s going for. The melodies are unexpectedly playful, even a little childlike, but they’re framed with complex technology and even a bit of industrial clankiness. “Trace Fossils” has clear, ringing piano melodies along with microscopic, glitchy sound design, pulling that familiar IDM trick. “Nice Lid” has a lead melody that might very well be played on a toy piano, plus a very minimal wave-style drum machine. “Total Lift Count” takes a long while to build up a perky melody before finally dropping a beat pattern, and even then it’s hardly a steady, on-the-ground thump. “But You Can See It From Here” feels more like a guitar solo played near the edge of a canyon. “Daymoon Madmen” is a toy train ride that zips past a rave and a haunted house, but docks right on time with no service interruptions.

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