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Tartar Lamb - Polyimage of Known Exits CD (album) cover


Tartar Lamb



3.74 | 25 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Whenever Toby Driver puts out a new album, you can expect something different. Polyimage of Known Exits is no different and even though it comes under the Tartar Lamb name, it is officially by Tartar Lamb II, a separate band. Ultimately, if you like your Toby Driver projects to be unique and bizarre, you'll probably find something to enjoy here.

Polyimage of Known Exits is a 40 minute piece of music made up of four movements ranging from 6 to 12 minutes each. Although there is an overarching sound to the album, every movement has its own quirks and they are different enough that you could pick one out from the rest. Though there are very brief occasional spoken word passages, the album may as well be classified as instrumental.

If you're at all familiar with Toby Driver's most recent work, Coyote, you can expect a similar level of dissonance here. While that album favored brass instruments, Polyimage sticks mostly to woodwinds but does also contain some brasses underneath. Until the final movement, the album is without percussion and is for the most part very free floating with a weak sense of rhythm. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as the moment when the drums do emerge is strangely uplifting. Besides the brass and woodwinds, there are some crazy, static-y sounding keyboards which frequently play over the former, creating a lot of darkness and chaos. Weirdest of anything about the album, is that there's a very strange sense of the music being both improvised and extremely tightly composed at the same time.

It's hard to dissect the individual movements as there is not a huge sense of structure of melody, but they can at least be described on a surface level. The 2nd and 3rd movements are the darkest of the 4, having the most chaotic keyboard sounds. The 2nd also has some very low, almost terrifying brass tones. By comparison, the 1st movement is quite peaceful, and the 4th is a beautiful end with the inclusion of drums and a melodic violin passage. In comparison to Coyote which never resolved itself, the 4th movement here is wonderful to listen to, and leaves me feeling good about the 40 minutes that have just passed.

While this isn't the best album I've heard all year, it's certainly the most unique and with most pieces of music that involve Toby Driver, I find myself intrigued by them and consistently coming back. If you're at all a fan of the man, you should check out Polyimage of Known Exits, but even if you just like strange, different sounding pieces of music, you may enjoy it.

m2thek | 4/5 |


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