2CD, Tympanik Audio, 2009
The Tympanik catalogue expands with a third volume of the “Emerging Organisms” series (“EO3”), an overview of what this label – a rising star of post-industrial, technoid and dark electronics – has to offer. Less than three years old, Tympanik’s rapid establishment as one of the major players in the genre has been accomplished with a slew of quality releases from many popular acts. “EO3” not only successfully celebrates this spectrum as it now stands, but also channels Tympanik’s promising future trajectory. Familiar names – Empusae, Loss, Aphorism, Subheim, Displacer, Keef Baker, Autoclav1.1, Fractional, Access to Arasaka, S:cage and Liar’s Rosebush – crop up, supported by classics like Klangstabil and Ab Ovo, and embellished with new or unfamiliar (at least for me) artists: Poordream, Candle Nine, Skytree, Metaform, Millipede, IP Neva, Opposite Exhale, Raoul Sinier, OTX… well, I can’t name everyone. Suffice to say, “EO3” is a substantial helping to digest. Like any worthwhile Mongolian barbecue, Typanik seems to know our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, and that’s just fine.
What is striking about this compilation is its superb pacing. Tympanik has achieved a successful balance despite the diversity of styles portrayed. Similar sounds line up, flowing together in loose groupings whose boundaries yet remain undefined. Take the first disc as example. Beginning with the brooding ambient and massive drums of SE’s “Chrono”, it moves into airy atmospheres backing dense IDM rhythms with “Kill Recorder” from Access to Arasaka. These wide-open spaces and intricate movements continue through the simmering chaos of Subheim’s ritualistic take on Klangstabil and beyond, culminating in the crashing, heavy glitch textures of “Penumbra” by Candle Nine. This calms to a grooving and vast entity, enabling a shift toward the hypnotic, bass-filled electronic wash of the S:cage contribution, “Seven Endings (Departure)”. Ab Ovo brings another phase into fruition with “Bees” (seething, dark industrial), into which the Displacer track and Empusae’s “Hard Boiled Wonderland (Detritus Remix)” slot perfectly. Skipping to its end, the disc returns to quieter ruminations with “I Only Miss You When You’re Here (Remix)” by IF.
Highlights of the second disc are, without a doubt, many. Tongue-in-cheek opener “The Calm Before the Storm” from IP Neva sets the stage for the vicious delights to come: rough drums and shivering glitch (Tapage & Meander, “Jelly Battleship”), aggressive but melodic technoid (Keef Baker, “Trion”), choppy snares and bayou strings (Liar’s Rosebush, “You Are Here”), fast and blissful breakcore (Fractional, “Blood”), sweeping shoegaze electronics (Raoul Sinier, “Untitled10”) and endearingly-christened ‘hippie glitch’ (Skytree, “Stomata Spirit”). Coming full circle, the second disc also closes with ambient beeps and percolating calm, courtesy of OTX’s “Anna”.
“EO3” certainly showcases Tympanik at its burgeoning best, which we must rightly suppose is the whole point. For the uninitiated, this (or either of the previous series installments, for that matter) is a phenomenal starting point. Those already with fingers on the pulse of this kind of music won’t be disappointed; far from it, because “EO3” opens doors into its catalogue that might otherwise remain unexplored or simply under-appreciated. Pick this one up, you’ll thank yourself later.
— Dutton Hauhart