Friday, 14 November 2014

Minimal maximalism: "Teeth for Teeth" by tiny beast


||: ____________ ____________ CLACK CLACk CLAck CLack Clack :||

I defy you to not tap that out all day long, clicking teeth, tapping pens, gah! It's stuck there. Not going anywhere. Tiny Beast (whose videos I compiled into a playlist not too long ago) have finally set something loose. "Teeth for Teeth" is a hard hitting track that makes perfect sense as their first studio outing. But I can warn you now, they've not cleaned anything up. If anything, they've exaggerated the distressed intonation throughout the track.

Instead, Tiny Beast take the studio as an opportunity to introduce a couple of additional elements. The first is a great deal of audible reverb. It makes it all quite massive, and really sets Arcoleo's tenor sound apart here from what's going on in London jazz in general. There's also a phenomenal BOOM at one point as Blackmore makes the most/least of a rest. All of this serves to emphasise the gritty dryness of the bass guitar and the general choppiness of the mix. Hot.

The second additional element is an ambiguous synth/voice that's been woven in, giving them the chance to be a little more explicit about harmony - but no more than is strictly necessary to show that they really know what they're doing: Don't be fooled by the energy - this is ninja shit. The extra line kills me every time. I actually find myself having a physical response to it, something tightens in my gut, neck and face when the middle line first rises with the sax, and then - just at the top - hangs back. Nnnnnghh...

The same thing happens to me again at one reeling upwards arpeggio - the intervals are perfectly spaced to send my head spinning, and straight after - before the slightest chance to catch my breath - I am confronted by kaleidoscopic sections of multiple Josh Arcoleos.

Some of the interaction and movement here reminds me of Chris Potter's Underground circa Follow the Red Line - less the saxophone lines (far too delicate in the face of Josh's slow-aged freak-growl), more those moments when it's all about Smith's Crash/snare, Taborn's left hand and Rogers' dirty lower strings. Again, there's a greater economy here: Tiny Beast gains all this weight with just one bass where the Underground had two bass-heavy chord instruments. With these guys, every single note and every single hit counts. I advise you all not to miss a single one.