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Thumbtack Smoothie

Fall Back

(Quake Trap; US: 19 Oct 2006; UK: Available as import)

The man: Carl Coletti, former session drummer extraordinaire.  The method: Feed live drums into samplers, manipulate at will, repeat.  The mayhem: All over the damn place.  Coletti’s fourth album as Thumbtack Smoothie sees him putting together some glitch-heavy beats that occasionally manage to make Kid 606 sound like an old Casio, along with a few less crazy numbers, surely inserted to keep his listeners’ heads from exploding.  Electronic aficionados wistful for the days when Autechre liked beats may find solace in tracks like “Sweet Wilma on Maneuvers” and the expertly programmed “Ember”, both of which layer the beats thick enough to send your head spinning.  “Pining for 1997” is a fabulous drum ‘n bass workout that simply rips, and the interestingly-titled “Monkupine” is a study in contrasts, its quick beats providing fascinating counterpoint for an excruciatingly slow bassline.  Toward the end of the album, things get a little nuts—it’s been a while since I’ve felt my ears being ripped apart quite the way they are on “Beard of Bees”, and “Let the Rhythm Point…Quickly…Yogi” sounds like it might have started as an Eno-esque ambient excursion before it got mangled and distorted to all hell—but for the most part, Fall Back is a unique take on electronic beatmaking, and therefore heartily recommended to the adventurous.


Mike Schiller is a software engineer in Buffalo, NY who enjoys filling the free time he finds with media of any sort -- music, movies, and lately, video games. Stepping into the role of PopMatters Multimedia editor in 2006 after having written music and game reviews for two years previous, he has renewed his passion for gaming to levels not seen since his fondly-remembered college days of ethernet-enabled dorm rooms and all-night Goldeneye marathons. His three children unconditionally approve of their father's most recent set of obsessions.

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