Review: Tunnidge – Mobius Strip LP [STY001]

From what I can gather on what a mobius strip is, in mathematical terms, it forms a continuous loop upon itself. Paradoxically, it is what mathematicians call “non-orientable”, meaning, from what I understand, that it “cannot be moved (continuously) around a space and back to where it started so that it looks like its own mirror image”. Logically, the only way to experience such an object is in a linear fashion, with a distinct beginning, middle, and end only ad infinitum. Tunnidge’s debut LP (and surprisingly not on Deep Medi given his affiliation) takes it’s name from this mathematical structure. Landing in our dropbox as one continuous piece of music, yet oddly labelled with track titles (though I prefer to understand them more as movements per se). So, when I refer concretely to a track title, I’m more or less indicating a time-stamp rather than the individualized track itself.

Opening with the mystical “Golden Bough”, we drift into the infinite, yet permanently closed off world that is “Mobius Strip” with vinyl cracks, digitized heartbeats and elegiac organ drones. With a restrained patience, the song gains momentum, building into a meditative steppa that suits the -33 degrees Fahrenheit polar vortex weather battering the East Coast at the moment. It gives way to altered laughter, dehumanized through flangers and space-echoes. Low in the mix field recordings of some tribalist music pitter patter, and soon we cruise into the darkside halftime drum and bass of “Amygadala”. Minimal and bruising with sub pulsations and ricocheting snare cracks, until ragga chatter emerges from some non-euclidean space. As we drifting deeper, we go back (to 1994) to move forward with some amen breaks that sound large and in charge in the aptly titled “Hold Tight”; all the junglist tropes are present — time stretching, rasta proclamations, booming subs, and third eye scanning Terminator stare downs. Brutal stuff after the more “hood up, eyes down” vibe that Tunnidge has cultivated thus far (though I’m not complaining here).

From the scorched earth rollage, the ashes rise to the sky, pollutants fill the air and we get pulled fwd into the Velvet Room at Plastic People for the speak worship of “Shaman”. Angular, yet spartan textures amidst a barebones beat that crawls against the halogen lights of a dark alley, simply DMZ vibes at their most essential and probably in my top 3 favorites the comprise the entire LP. As form meets the void, things get darker with Pulse-X like flair but it’s still restrained for that skunked out paranoia. Choral voices build themselves only to get to the close to the sun. More Black Ark portents of the fall of the Babylonian system tessellates into another rootical stomper in the form of “Avalon”. Barbwire textures and infinite space echoes mesh around the sub kicks as dub sirens and other studio trickery fill the top out. Peeling even further from the ego, 7 light years past the Sombrero galaxy, between the waves of gravity a voice utters some Blake poetry upon the nature of the tyger that is until “we” (if there even is such a thing) get pulled back to earth for the breakbeat/techno stomp of “Hermetica”. Tastefully spliced and chopped, but collapsing back into the void all too soon. The drum solo swallowed by the drone. More voices penetrate the veil, electric hieroglyphics wriggle in front of the minds eye and soon a voice describes the Bhagavad Gita to us.

The Eyes of Fear as we become death. A halftime drum and bass rhythm is birth the ruins of the world. Burrowing deeper and moving faster from the center. A vocoder and voice make love, I don’t know what they say. Does it matter? The center has never held and it was never there. Tambura drones and I take on my multi-armed form. The atoms of myself reveal all. Microcosms. I’ll build a stone circle to last millennia, and when the earth is lo and waste and the necromongers pick over the rubble they’ll see it through their respirators the inside of the speaker box. Time has dilated and somehow I (the writer) is closing the loop. Finishing on the musique fragile of “My Family”. It has snowed today and it is now raining, the rain falling on the snow mixes with the sonic smear that mixes treated piano, low-end drones and other field recordings into a heady brew. I feel as if it will start again and it already has.

Tunnidge has out done himself conceptual and musically with a closed piece of music that outshines anything he has put out on Medi. The closed loop motif employed does wonders as the tracks weave into one, but that was always the point. To use the cliché “it’s about the journey, not the destination”, however for the Mobius Strip LP, it was never about the destination, as mathematically the strip itself never ends nor begins, rather existing in space-time and paradoxically operating linearly yet structured in a way to suggest it is cyclical. While I digress, my caveat is the relative short time each “tune” develops, giving way to the next in pretty rapid succession, and while obviously rooted in an “immersive” experience, I feel as if the LP would have worked just as well as if it were broken into more DJ friendly terms. However, as I’ve written before that’s just like my opinion man. Top stuff and ranks up there with the immersive qualities of Burial’s stuff, yet more rooted in what’s going on in the dubstep scene as of 2016. Highly recommended if you’re tiring of the wonky, broken beats or the reggae-tinged stuff that has saturated the dubstep gene pool for the past 2 or so years.

Mobius Strip is out now and available from Unearthed Sounds, Redeye, White Peach, Rewind Forward and Intense Records.

  1. Nice review, Jake. Mobius Strip is a great album that keeps revealing next level details after every listen. I’m playing it on loop without interruption and I can’t tell you how much I’m loving it. Perfect stuff, I just keep on sinking in…

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