Now and then when I’m writing a review, I’ll Google to see what other people have had to say about a disc. Not that I’m looking to plagiarize, of course, but just to see how others perceive the music. Looking at reviews of Tapage’s new release, Overgrown, I came across this line at Sputnik Music, and it fairly well sums up my own feelings: “You probably will not find anything truly unique in Tapage’s Overgrown. But, damn, what a great record this is.” I often feel this way about glitch in general. The base of the genre is achingly common; what makes a disc stand out is what’s there under the pops, snaps, and crackles and the pulse-racing microbeats. While I may not go so far as to call Overgrown “great,” I would say that Tijs Ham certainly understands what makes for very good glitch. I hear a track like “Crab,” and I know that Ham gets the power of juxtaposition. His adrenalin-laced beats power their way over lightweight, drifting melodies, not waiting for them to catch up but respectively co-existing. Its followup, “Ethyl,” maintains a fantastic balance–a downtempo backdrop that would be a very good listen on its own weaves nicely through a restrained field of snappy glitch. Wind chime tones make this one work very well. The short track “Mortuary Beef” (what a great title!) rises up from a slow drone to take on a beat. This is another spot where Ham works the balance. The beats come in at a low volume and stay there, just off in the distance with metallic clashes of sound. Ham can also amp up the beats, of course. “Loss” is textbook glitch, crunchy curls of sound and punched-up beats; “Mimic” is a rapid-fire array of standard glitch memes. But here’s the thing: go all the way through Overgrown and come around to listen again to the calm character of “Sine.” This is when you get what makes this a very good glitch disc: sometimes it’s not all about the glitch. Tijs Ham understands that, and this is why you’ll listen to Overgrown more than once.
Available from Tympanik Audio.