CD, Deadsix Communications, 2005
Though easy to rubberstamp “Tidal Bits” as breakcore with glitchcore inclinations (or vice versa), the latest release from Murder By Static likely smudges its own fresh red ink on both accounts – and leaves a fingerprint. The album contains elements including and beyond street variety snare attacks, fast-and-twisted jungle, shattered speed freak rhythms, chattering pops and stuttering snares.
The first clues of something more arise in the album’s second track. “Vector Riot” opens with a simple chord progression delivered by violins apparently AWOL from a chamber recital. This, juxtaposed with classic drum & bass samples (that old school hiccup is unmistakable), sets the mood that characterizes “Tidal Bits” as an eclectic collage, cut-and-pasted from sources as allegedly disparate as bleepy techno, psychotropic IDM and soulful breakbeat.
Murder By Static has an inherent sense of musical kinetics – smooth thrusts and parries weave artificial (yet self-sustaining) dichotomies of sound. “Tidal Bits” is an exercise in tension, threading its stressed and straining percussion through soft, enveloping ambient layers. The tinkling flourishes of a harp are backed by deep, moody strings in “Ion Leachers,” a track sewn tight with precarious bursts of drums and glitched-out acid squelching. “Cold Rumors” is a fascinating piece with schizophrenic tendencies, handily delivering two distinct movements in less than six minutes. It is also the longest track on the album.
Most of the songs on “Tidal Bits” are four minutes or less, swelling and sagging like deflating balloons, every one peppered with tautness and saturated with a mellow vibe. The rhythms are neither dirty nor messy, but instead balance form and function as sanitized, sparkling, abstract beats. “Alcatraz Syndrome,” pulsing and clicking along in an equation not far from lounge-lazy trip-hop tradition, brings the album to a peaceful close.
— Dutton Hauhart