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Tartar Lamb


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Tartar Lamb Sixty Metonymies album cover
3.18 | 24 ratings | 5 reviews | 21% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Incensing The Malediction Is A Lamb (12:30)
2. A Lamb In Hand's Worth Two In The Ewe (3:13)
3. Trumpet Twine The Lamb Unhyne (9:36)
4. The Lamb, The Ma'am, And The Holy Shim-Sham (16:38)

Total Time: 41:12

Line-up / Musicians

- Toby Driver / composition, electric guitar
- Mia Matsumiya / violin

Guests for Recording:
- Tim Byrnes / trumpet
- Andrew Greenwald / drums

Releases information

Self-released by Toby Driver

Available at

Thanks to king volta for the addition
and to Cesar Inca for the last updates
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TARTAR LAMB Sixty Metonymies ratings distribution

(24 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TARTAR LAMB Sixty Metonymies reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Andy Webb
2 stars Clouds erupting from sound

Tartar Lamb is most likely Toby Driver's most ambitious project. Born from the idea for a guitar-violin duo, Driver got fellow Kayo Dot bandmate Mia Matsumiya to play with him on his next adventure in the realm of sound, Sixty Metonymies, a 40 minute minimalistic, avant-garde, experimental, contemporary atonal classical piece not for the faint of heart. Preying on the whims of dissonance, atonality, and all the unconventional playing techniques the man could think of, the album is certainly unique. However, the music that is found on the album is cold and desolate, an expression of mesmerism and frozen nights spent without heat and at the neck of a guitar and the tip of pen on staff paper. When recorded, the music erupts forth like a star swallowed unknowingly by a sparrow, who cringes by the bitter taste but looks for more because the thrill of knowing that nothing else exists in this plane of existence like it. With little to its name musically but the fact that it has little to its name musically, the song leaches your senses and scrapes your ears with the blunt side of a blade sharpened by determination and the will to emerge unique and uncopied. The 40 minutes are like a bleaching period- you enter dirtied and emerge scraped clean by some unnatural force; you are stripped of your musical innocence as your conception of music is violently ripped down, reconstructed, ripped down again and then transformed into some being not of this dimension; any other exposition into sonics sounds like a drab reincarnate of a former existence, and nothing can stop this feeling.

As an album, Sixty Metonymies is pathetic. In conventional terms it is nothing more than noise for minutes on end. But in superflection one can see the true nature of the massive beast, an obvious masterpiece in the modern realm of atonal classical, and in supernatural sonics. Overall, the album (in 'earthly' terms) is pretty boring, so my first instinct was to give this a 1 star rating, but with further exploration the true beauty of this album's ugliness sank in. However, I can't overlook the fact that this album truly has nothing to it; it is a bare-bone, random note following random note, noise driven album. It has, in traditional terms, no melody, harmony, structure, or any of that nonsense. It does, however, have vision, and this shows the obvious modern genius that Driver is. I really, however, feel like this album is not the greatest earthly musical expose out there, and is meant for just those living in another realm. 2+ stars.

Yes, I know, I basically praised this album the entire review, but I can't really break it down, it is too cold and uninviting for any real consideration as a musical work.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Toby Driver and Mia Matsumiya have both been (and still are) busy with the band Kayo Dot. But somehow, they found some time to create another project called 'Tartar Lamb', the one that slipped by several of their fans (me included). Where Kayo Dot features many other musicians, Tartar Lamb is more concentrated on the musical interaction of Toby and Mia, and originally for the specific recording of Driver's '60 Metonymies', a guitar/violin duet. That album was released in 2007 with the addition of a few other musicians; Tim Byrnes on trumpet and Andrew Greewald on drums. This somewhat sparser composition is divided up into 4 sections and has a total run time of 41 minutes.

The stripped back sound of this minimalist album still gives the listener the uneasy sounds of dissonance, but in a manner that is not so chaotic as some of the Kayo Dot music. Throughout the album, the spaces inbetween what might seem to some as random exploratory notes are just as important as the actual notes, and at first, it seems that there is a lot of space there to listen to. But as Mia joins in, the notes of the guitar and later the occasional warbling of the trumpet are all connected together by her long sustained bowing of notes on the violin. The feeling is one of improvisation, but the structure on the other hand feels more like the notes and sounds are intentionally placed.

'Incensing the Malediction is a Lamb' (12:30) rolls by slowly and sometimes hesitantly, plucked guitar and a more phrased violin, no rhythm or beat to speak of, as if its all in free meter. Further into the track, the guitar is slowly strummed and the violin emits squeaky noises as the trumpet continues to influence things with occasional squawking noises, playing within a range instead of actually hitting single notes. 'A Lamb in Hand's Worth Two in the Ewe' (3:12) consists of sustained guitar and plucked/bowed violin strings and occasional cymbals whispering. The two main instruments play together and stop together for the most part. Percussive sounds and drum rolls come in later with a meandering trumpet which gets a little more angry, then later they all become a bit more playful, but the track is short and ends soon.

'Trumpet Twine the Lamb Unkyne' (9:35) begins with all of the instruments doing what seems to be unrelated things together. As such, it is much less minimal, more chaotic, but not really what you would call heavy or noisy. Soon, though, the music returns to the more minimal sound. As it continues, there is a level of tension that builds as sound builds and fades, but without any resolve. Again, space is as important as the sound, and sometimes even suggests the breaking up of the tracks into smaller segments even though there is no indication that it is divided up that way. 'The Lamb, the Ma'am, and the Holy Shim-Sham' (16:38) continues in this way, echoing guitar notes that play and the slowly warble out of existence, with space in between note groups so one can hear them echoing out of existence. Mia provides short bowed notes that lay on top of the plucked and lightly strummed guitar notes, softly plucking strings in the spaces between groups. Again tension reigns supreme, and no resolution of that tension is to be seen, even with the shocking addition of creepy enhanced spoken word vocals towards the end of the track.

There is an obvious difference between this style and Toby's usual style that is realized in Kayo Dot albums. Even though there can be a lot of variation in form and style among Kayo Dot's discography, it is obvious why this composition was performed under a different moniker, as it is so much more minimal than any Kayo Dot album, and that is the sound that pretty much rules this album, avant-garde minimalism. It is difficult to concentrate on it all as a whole because it almost has too much space and free sounding instrumentation in it. There is no melody, per se, and don't expect much in the way of typical structure. Toby would return to this moniker once again in 2011 for another composition of 4 movements named 'Polyimage of Know Exits', where he would play with more musicians and Mia's involvement would be reduced to only one track. Is it possible that, even with KD's experimentalism and unique avant-garde styles, that Tartar Lamb is Toby's less accessible side? Those familiar with all of KD's albums will know that they are anything but accessible, but in reality, Tartar Lamb takes that even further and in the case of this album, much harder to listen to unless in the mood for minimal music. To me, it all seems a bit starchy and unemotional, ending up sounding more random wandering with the music trying to find a sound, but not succeeding other than making anything that seems organized, yet it is organized. This is a tough one, especially since I love experimental music, but there has to be a level of emotion or purpose behind it, and I can't seem to find it here. Still, it can be nice to listen to if one is occasionally in the right mood, but at the moment I am hard pressed to know when that would be. If there is a rationale behind it all, it is too buried and secreted away in the music to figure it out.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Tartar Lamb serves initially as an outlet for Toby Driver to release his guitar/violin duet (augmented with trumpet and percussion from a duo of Friendly Bears). Sixty Metonymies shares with his first solo album in it's leaning towards spacious avant-garde concert music. Dissimilarities arise wh ... (read more)

Report this review (#257229) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Monday, December 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Tartar Lamb is close relative of the ever popular modern avant-garde project Kayo Dot. Kayo Dot, at its core, is a twisted sea of aggressive metallic minimalism, clashing with serene classical music and meditative themes. Here, in Tartar Lamb, Kayo Dot has been stripped entirely of the the metalli ... (read more)

Report this review (#162885) | Posted by Shakespeare | Thursday, February 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Rating: B+ They've already made wave upon wave in Kayo Dot (and are sure to make more with the new release scheduled for March '08), but Toby Driver and Mia Matsumiya have also shown that they can do the same in a different setting, in this case the far more minimalist Tartar Lamb. Their debut ... (read more)

Report this review (#162401) | Posted by Pnoom! | Friday, February 22, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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