BAILTER SPACE – Trinine

Album: Trinine

Artist: Bailter Space

Label: Fire

Release Date: September 30, 2013

Bailterspace 10-1

http://www.firerecords.com

 By JENNIFER KELLY

 In 2012, Bailter Space put out its first album in thirteen years, the spectacular Strobosphere, which merged the band’s dense, dissonant murk with wavery tunefulness. It was a welcome return for the band tagged as New Zealand’s Sonic Youth, the wild card noise instigators among its lo-fi janglers. Now just a year later, Bailter Space has returned with more abrasive take on its feedback-altered storm and drone. Trinine builds on static-fuzzed foundations laid down more than three decades ago in cuts like “Grader Spader” (off the wonderful Flying Nun compilation In Love With These Times). It just takes them a little further into mess and distortion than Strobosphere did.

 Bailter Space began in 1987 when Alister Parker started fooling around, post-Gordons, with Clean drummer Hamish Kilgour. Kilgour dropped out shortly after the band’s first album Tanker. Bailter Space is currently a three-piece with Parker, along with ex-Gordons bass player John Halvorson and (also ex-Gordons) drummer Brent McLachlan. Despite the continuity in personnel, Bailter Space sounds roughly nothing like the Gordons, a boxy, acerbic Fall-like post-punk outfit, which made two albums in the 1980s before breaking up.

 Trinine is a sprawling, blistering, hallucinogenic trip of an album, whose sense of endless drift coincides, somehow, with propulsive rhythms. There is a density to these tracks that belies its sparse, three-man line-up.  Bailter Space is well-known for interspersing taped samples of instruments into its mixes, creating a dense, shifting plethora of guitar sounds. You can hear this best on the rowdy, uptempo “Tri5” and the closer “Tapenzloop.”

 Most of these tracks have vocals – that’s Parker, who sounds eerily like Thurston Moore – though buried so deep in the fuzz that it’s hard to pick out individual words. Strobosphere brought the melodic lines forward, eliciting an almost jangle-poppish sound in “Blue Star”, but Trinine funnels them in through a secret air duct. They arrive, impossibly soft, murmured almost, so that you feel like you’re hearing them, barely, through some acoustic trickery.  It’s a ghostly, spectral shade in the band’s overall sound, a cool element in a mix that often seems to buckle in its own frictive heat. I like, for instance, the contrast between the chanted lyrics of “Trinine” and the sawed-off abrasion of its bass and guitar. It’s a song that sprawls and spreads and roils, but also moves in a discernible direction. You know when it’s about to end (which you don’t, necessarily, with the droniest kinds of songs).

 The best track, though, cuts through the fog with a Prolapse-ish sense of mad propulsion. There’s an uneasy clarity to “Silver”, where inexorable bass and drums hammer on under a spectral electronic aura. It’s the cut on that album that Neu-like, balances motion and stillness, and that builds a wall of sound pock-marked with stillnesses. On the whole, I liked Strobosphere better, but this song hits harder than anything on it.

 DOWNLOAD: “Silver” “Trinine” “Tri5”

 

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