Tapage & Meander, Etched in Salt

Tympanik Audio’s 50th release continues their lineage of hook-laden glitch with this collaboration between Tapage (aka Tijs Ham) and Meander (aka Conrad Hoyer/Ophidian). While there’s not much that makes Etched in Salt stand apart from similar Tympanik releases—firing off a library’s worth of microsounds stitched together in frenetic rhythms over an IDM framework—it’s still a pretty cool ride. The disc first truly catches my attention with “Tolopea,” which pairs synaptic-firing speed glitches with a cool old-school synth melody. It’s like hearing your favorite old 8-bit video game theme song rear up in the middle of the sound. (There’s a similar run hiding in “Plankton,” adding its own hit of giddy cool.) This track also boasts a couple effective shifts of speed to give it a little more cred and intrigue in my mind. Perhaps oddly—and perhaps this is just me—I think the pair really hit it strongest when they ease back on the throttle a little. “Osedax” sets itself apart by its lack of high-speed beat and a focused concentration on wringing the most out of every sound to really create a powerful feeling, a better sense of emotion. That carries over into “Abyssal Plain” to lay out a stretch of music, before the final track sets in, that’s a nice change of pace from the overarching organized chaos. Overall, a strong effort from Tapage & Meander. For me, it’s more of a shuffle listen than a disc I’d just settle into, but it definitely benefits the shuffle flow!

Available from Tympanik Audio.

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