Kenseth Thibideau – Repetition

January 01, 1970

(Temporary Residence)


You’ll find next-to-nothing of founding member Kenseth
Thibideau’s instrumental band Tarental in his engaging solo debut – and all
credit to the SF-based musician for it. Not that there’s anything wrong with
the parent band’s extended phase-shifter noise-scapes, but if you’re not going
to try something distinct, why the hell bother branching out?


Instead, Repetition,
as its title handily suggests, was inspired by Thibideau’s fresh obsession with
classic krautrock in the Can/Cluster/Tangerine Dream mold. But the helix guitar
figures, slinky bass lines, keyboard swirls and overlapping harmonies on “Black
Hole” and “Disguise” also suggest Thibideau’s tenure as a touring member of
Pinback, whose propulsive momentum may be slowed here a few BPMs but still
insinuates itself into your cerebral cortex like a warm opiate buzz. Thibideau
splits the eight tracks between vocals and a series of “Moon” instrumentals
(“2,” “4,” “5” and “8” – no idea where the other moons went) that are varied
enough in character to add dimension to the repetitive grooves: “4” doubles the
tempo and nearly speeds into Trans Am territory when the guitars and keys make
their dramatic entrance, though synth strings provide a gorgeously wistful
outro; “8” opts for a quick-footed ¾ time, though its synth blips and toy
xylophone keys clash just enough to border on the cartoon-ish; and “5” sounds
like, well, a Pinback instrumental. There’s obviously a space theme suggested
by the song titles, but it’s largely reserved for the lyrics, which pass by
pleasantly if unremarkably. Thibideau wrote everything and plays everything,
but the songs don’t suffer from the suffocating insularity some solo projects
exude – though he hasn’t yet mastered the open space-feeling that a Jim
O’Rourke or John McEntire produce, either. (Then again, that may not have been
the goal.) Thibideau really puts it all together on the nine-minute disc-ender
“Lost,” whose surging beats split the Pinback/Motorik difference until it opens
into a gentle second half whose subtle space noise is just about the only place
Tarental flashes -and just as quickly departs – your consciousness.


There’s nothing groundbreaking here, just a well-executed understated
set by a musician who blends elements well enough to keep his songs fresh and
out of dull homage territory.


Hole” “Moon 4” JOHN SCHACHT


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