Magazine editors used to be at fault, but it’s the people who drive better cars than we do who are now the ones to blame for dreaming up a never-ending shitshow of new genres, of compound words and absurd phrases that are mainly about establishing market position rather than recognizing something new in the music world.
On Earth, the new album from Tim Dwyer’s Off Land project is one of the rare cases when the compound words and absurd phrases that came before no longer apply. “Euclase” is ambient, there’s a kind of low-slung drone but it’s held up in the sky by an almost invisible architecture, a barely audible tribal thump. I don’t know what I’d call it but I’m in love: it’s a music of longing, of aspiring, like classical composer Kamran Ince’s “Arches” electrified and unmoored from the earth.
The tension of the two names we already have before us – “off land” and “on earth” – is a silent presence here, with every track on the verge of sailing off into purely ambient environs. “Nepheline” is visceral, built around a big beat at its core but still reaching skyward. Here and perhaps on “Aergirine” you might imagine that this is what Tranquility Bass might have sounded like had they been born 20 years later – that combination of beautiful tones and bursting electronics. They made up the term “Trip Hop” to describe Tranquility Bass then, and it never quite fit all the acts it allegedly represented. On Earth probably deserves its own unique appellation. More than that it deserves an audience, because this is one of the finest album experiences of its kind.
Off Land: On Earth (Stasis Recordings)
1. Off Land: Euclase (09:07)
2. Off Land: Nepheline (09:38)
3. Off Land: Amethyst (10:09)
4. Off Land: Osmium (09:28)
5. Off Land: Spinel (07:26)
6. Off Land: Aegirine (08:46)
7. Off Land: Niter (09:46)