Meanderthals: Desire Lines (2009)
acoustic simplicity and Caribbean-style pan drums.
Some comparisons might be made to the more trance-inducing and progressive aspects of Porcupine Tree, but Steven Wilson's group has never been this warm and acoustic. While electronics figure into Desire Lines, it's a largely mellow affair, with few jagged edges or sharp corners. Instead, Tyler, McConnell, and Lindbæk make music that references and blends everything from African Highlife to roots Americana, as the immediately catchy opener, "Kunst Or Ars," successfully mixes a buoyant, Afro-beat bass line with Bill Frisell
The title track leans closer to early Porcupine Tree's drug-induced hypnotica, but acoustic guitars still dominate, until electric guitars gradually assert themselves later in the track. As its unshakable groove provides the foundation for electronic soundscaping, the tune gradually intensifies into one of the most fervent tracks on the disc before returning to a more relaxed vibejazzy, evenfeaturing some light electric piano.
(albeit with more conventional rhythms) abound on tracks like "1-800-288-SLAM," but even with the reverb-drenched "Collective Fetish," it's acoustic, electric, and pedal steel guitars that ride over the gentle but unrelenting rhythm. The brooding yet up-tempo "Lasaron Highway" builds the album to its most feverish pitch, with elements of dub, techno, and ambient music combining in a distinctive fashion, before closing with the acoustic piano-driven "Bugge's Room," a clear nod to Wesseltoft, who in addition to being a groundbreaking musician, is a label owner and ongoing discoverer of new talent.
Discrete though the tracks areand custom-made for today's download generationDesire Lines still benefits further by being absorbed as a 44-minute whole. As the album progresses, the sonics become more layered and dense; references to everything from Gamelan to Jon Hassell
Filled with strong grooves, varied but always appealing sonics, and an overall relaxed ambience, the ever-attractive Desire Lines is a compelling first-time collaboration that will hopefully become more than just a one-time affair.
Track Listing: Kunst Or Ars; Desire Lines; Andromeda (Prelude to the Future); 1-800-288-SLAM; Collective Fetish; Lasaron Highway; Bugges Room.
Personnel: Pete Z (DJ Harvey): keyboards; Des Morgan: drums, percussion; Malcolm Jospeh: bass; Per Martinsen (aka Mental Overdrive): percussion. All other instruments, processing, and electronics by Idjut Boys (Dan Tyler and Conrad McConnell) and Rune Lindbaek.
Record Label: Smalltown Supersound