Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Tartar Lamb


From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Tartar Lamb Polyimage of Known Exits album cover
3.74 | 25 ratings | 3 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. 1st Movement (6:48)
2. 2nd Movement (12:35)
3. 3rd Movement (9:27)
4. 4th Movement (11:59)

Total Time 40:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Toby Driver / bass & vocals
- Jeremiah Cymerman / clarinet & electronics
- Terran Olson / alto saxophone & synthesizer
- Daniel Means / alto saxophone
- Tim Byrnes / synthesizer, trumpet & French horn

- David Bodie / percussion (4)
- Mia Matsumiya / violin (4)
- Masami Tomihisa / piano (4)

Releases information

Hydra Head Records.

Thanks to for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy TARTAR LAMB Polyimage of Known Exits Music

TARTAR LAMB Polyimage of Known Exits ratings distribution

(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

TARTAR LAMB Polyimage of Known Exits reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I initially considered Tartar Lamb's second album to be the second incarnation of Kayo Dot's Coyote. Bass harmonics, tortured melodies, growlingly distorted deep tones, and a general malaise of despondence make Polyimage of Known Exits an apt choice for a gloomy day. However, this album exhibits a wider range of jazzier fare and no tormented vocals. Overall, it is not a brilliant album, but others say it is, and I cannot deny that it is interesting and unique- I revisit it from time to time.

"1st Movement" The first movement weaves many of the aforementioned techniques, and employs a wailing saxophone and moody synthesizers.

"2nd Movement" There is even more minimalism here. The aspects that are present- animalistic noises akin to birds- are sparse and different. A bass solo over a lonely atmosphere leads to static and dark whispers. The second half changes shape, with mutated wind and brass instruments whirring over a languid, dingy bass.

"3rd Movement" The jazziest section of the album, this brooding, lonesome piece is full of sad, tired emotion. It grows livelier toward the end, but also more cumbersome and awkward.

"4th Movement" The final movement is as unhurried as the rest, using long, sustained notes to create a dreary, sleepy impression. Slightly before the midway point, the piece perks up in its own gloomy way, largely due to Mia Matsumiya's sweet violin.

Review by m2thek
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.

Review by VanVanVan
4 stars It's very, very hard for me to write about this kind of music. Anything that Toby Driver has a hand in tends to be very challenging listening, and describing it often forces me to come up with increasingly absurd metaphors to try and describe the sounds I'm hearing. Fortunately, this time the musicians involved beat me to it: the kickstarter for this project described the music as "the sound of a whale swallowing a comet, spouting a cloud of ice from its blowhole, and the shards raining down and slicing up your face."

Well, I have no idea what exactly what that means, but it's still a fairly apt description. This is dissonant, swirling, depressive music that makes you feel like you're floating alone through a particularly sorrowful section of space, music that summons up incredibly intense emotions of isolation and loss. And sure, it sounds like a whale swallowed an icy comet and is now pelting you with the shards. This is avant, difficult music that requires your full attention, but will prove incredibly satisfying if you're willing to give that.

"1st Movement" begins with some fairly dissonant winds and bass. The melancholic drones quickly establish a feeling of absolute bleakness, but it still never feels gratuitous or overly melodramatic. It's very subtle, really; with only some long notes from the winds and some minimal rhythm lines from the bass the track manages to establish its mood very quickly. At about a minute in the texturing changes a little bit as some glitchy sounding electronic effects are added. It's an interesting aesthetic that provides a very unsettling atmosphere. These drop out after a bit and the track plays around for a little while with more traditional wind parts, and this middle section of the track is quite beautiful. Midway through, however, the glitchy electronics return, and from there the track spirals through a variety of instrumentations and sounds, from longingly melancholic melodic sections to anarchic wailings. Never, though, does the first movement lose it's feeling of haunted sorrow, and it sets a very high bar for the rest of the album.

"2nd Movement" begins with a bit more craziness, with the electronics going full force over more of those dissonant long notes from the winds. This is the motif for the first couple minutes before the bass takes a bit of a more prominent position in the piece. It's about this time as well that the track takes on a much more dark-ambient feel, moving horns to the back and bringing deep synths and scratchy static sounds to the fore. After this the arrangement strips down for a brief bass solo before the static returns with a muddled, hard to understand spoken word section. After this the horns return to the front of the track to play an incredibly sorrowful section that calls to mind the image of a lone musician standing in the rain pouring his sorrows out through his instrument. The last substantial chunk of the movement features heavy interplay between all the instruments, building in intensity to a screeching climax while somehow retaining throughout the incredibly dark, dismal, lonely atmosphere even as howling and wailing fill the listener's ears. The last two minutes in particular feature an amazing wall of sound layered over a haunting wind line, creating a brilliant juxtaposition of sounds that's some of the most avant and yet at the same time listenable music that I've ever heard.

"3rd Movement" begins with some bass and electronics that have a bit more of a psychedelic feel than either of the first two movements, but it's still very dark. Some ethereal chanted vocals add to this effect, and provide a nice change of pace from the two largely vocal-less first tracks. Those same dissonant winds again make an appearance again, though they seem to be to be a bit more melodic and orchestral in this third movement. The bass guitar remains in a prominent position as well, and I have to say I've never heard someone play the bass like Toby Driver does. His parts aren't super technical or anything but they still have a way of being incredibly compelling, and it's nice to have the bass play such a prominent role. Towards the second half of this movement the feeling changes a little bit, with the tempo increasing and the electronics returning. The bass goes into a hypnotic, repeating line over which the winds and sound effects swirl and howl. The track concludes with another chaotic miasma of sound that fades away to nothing before the last track of the album begins.

"4th Movement" begins with some frenetic wind noises before dropping into a more languid bass and wind part. Dissonance is used to great effect here, with very atonal chords being placed into the music in a way that still makes them sound totally natural, and dare I say it, even very pretty. After about 4 minutes of this the bass launches into a more rhythmic line and violin takes the melody for the first time on the album. It's a great sonic texture, especially after three tracks of mostly bass and winds, and it's also some of the most melodic material on the album, hearkening back to the (comparatively) more accessible maudlin of the Well sound. There's not even very much dissonance in this middle section of the fourth movement, and while the winds and electronics still play a large part in the end of the track the fourth movement has a decidedly different feel than the movements which preceded it.

I admit, when I first heard this album I was a bit underwhelmed. While only passively listening to the album it seemed to all sound the same. As with all difficult music, however, I quickly discovered that this is not music which ought to be listened to as a background soundtrack. When you actually sit down and listen to this music without distraction, an incredible degree of variety reveals itself and Polyimage of Known Exits proves to be one of the most challenging, idiosyncratic recordings I've listened to in recent memory, even by the high standards of Toby Driver-related projects. It may not blow me away quite like Bath or Choirs of the Eye, but it's well worth a listen and personally I think it's even a step above the most recent Kayo Dot project "Gamma Knife." Great stuff.


Latest members reviews

No review or rating for the moment | Submit a review

Post a review of TARTAR LAMB "Polyimage of Known Exits"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.