[8 January 2007]
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.