Oh damn stereotypes! We have this human tendency to label everything, from values to music to people. Latin Americans are usually identified as passionate and lazy; the British are classified as cold and reserved. And the people who concerns us on this review, Germans, are always thought to be cerebral and cold. If you have these kind of stereotypes in your head when you listen to Tarwater, you can hardly believe that this record was made by cold, calculating people. Their most recent opus, Animals Suns & Atoms confirms once more that it does not matter where you are from to create music this warm and emotional. I doubt people can perceive music like this as cerebral. And this is just what they wanted!
In Animals Suns & Atoms, Tarwater seems to use the same methods they had used in Silur — burning rhythms; a somewhat descreased experimentation with samplers and new technologies; quotations of excellent writers, visionaries and philosophers — yet the group’s music sounds completely different, with the (natural) exception that it has Tarwater’s personal trademark. This record is less atmospheric and dense than its predecessor — perhaps sweeter, softer, and more gentle and rhythmic. But Animals Suns & Atoms still has the same sense of risk and cleverness that made “Silur” wonderful in the first place.
It is really difficult to name the standouts here. But it is good to mention some of them. The peaceful “Somewhere” has an oceanic sound that makes it ideal for a brief meditation. The danceable “At Low Frequency” has a catchy phrase: “Man is the most adaptable machine in the world, they say.” The trippy “Noon,” my personal favorite, has a couple of other catchy sentences and a beautiful and wisely chosen female voice (courtesy of a girl called Justine Electra). This piece could easily recall some of Moby’s greatest moments (especially his downtempo ones), or Massive Attack. The upbeat and danceable “Early Risers” is as close to dub as Tarwater can get, but with a futuristic glimpse. Finally, “The Trees” and “Seven Ways To Fake A Perfect Skin” are themes created in the most sensual trip-hop tradition, but like Silur, with a very German touch.
Final thought: this record is one of the best of the year 2000.
Written by Pekky Marquez.
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I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.