Tungsten 74 - Await Further Instructions

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Technical Echo Records
Catalog Number: TER004
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:47:00

Tungsten 74 is a band that wishes to stay as anonymous as The Replacements or Djam Karet. The tray card photo is just their shadows against a wall. A photograph at their website shows them covered in extremely oversized silver top hats, wearing black, oversized clothes with skulls printed on front. Another shows the trio (or three of the members at least) with drums over their heads, recalling the oft used and see photo of Djam Karet with their faces obscured by their instruments. Though I think deliberateness is more akin to The Replacements than Djam Karet.

How to describe Await Further Instructions, Tungsten 74's second release, which was set free this past January? We could go with the strictly technical - often improvised instrumental space rock, with a groovy twist. We could for the emotional - edgy, moody, post-apocalyptic space rock. Or for the image based description -- it's the end of the world as we know it, the aliens have landed and are laying waste to all that we hold dear. This is what the world will sound like when the aliens come to take over -- think of War Of The Worlds, for example. Those smattering of survivors are only now emerging from their safe havens to see the destruction that has been wrought. All of these are true. But, as the descriptions indicate, we don't have here angry post-punk rock, but literate, groovy, sometimes eerie space rock.

Pieces flow together such that, unless you are looking at your CD player, you don't realize that you've gone from track one, "Generic Foreign Accent" through to track three, "Upgrade To Flash Gordon" (for instance). The latter of these sounds like either a motorcycle or a racecar engine over an undulating, oscillating moan. Then what sounds like a player piano comes into the mix playing a very sad and melancholic tune that then becomes the lead instrument (this becomes a recurring motif). Seeing the picture of the tray card, and hearing this tune, I think of the Ray Bradbury short story (and chapter in the Martian Chronicles) "There Will Come Soft Rains." The people have gone, but the machinery - the toaster, coffee maker, etc - go on about their program tasks. Here it is an old player piano. Eerie. This leads into the mellow, easy, laid-back guitar lead "One Minute Eternity I." Pink Floyd will come to mind a bit, but it isn't quite accurate, as the guitar has a measure of distortion, which I don't associate with Gilmour, and neither are there screaming leads here. A more apt comparison is probably a groovier Djam Karet.

There are, in fact, two pieces, both beginning with the title "One Minute Eternity." "One Minute Eternity III" has that post apocalyptic feel. This is the point where you "see" these survivors of the catastrophic attack slowly get to their feet, looking out at the barren and scarred landscape. How the Midwest and Southeast US must look after a tornado has ripped through, only the devastation is much more complete. These brave souls all start to stumble toward something ... something is drawing them... All this told with keening and moaning guitars, a steady drumbeat, and a cheerful bass line, all revealing a sense of triumph. Here again is a player piano that plays at the end of this piece and the album (though there are three brief, unnamed, unlisted tracks 16, 17, & 18).

"Stop Liking Your Job" (track 9) sounds like a pleasant improve using the bass lines from U2's "Streets With No Name" as basis, over which some bright and cheerful guitar and snappy percussion play. In fact, you probably could sing the U2 song over it, and almost get away with it. Though Tungsten 74's guitarist doesn't play or sound like The Edge.

Going through, describing each track would be an impossible task. It is a collection of dramatic sonicscapes that will appeal to fans of the more experimental end of progressive rock. I mean, one the one hand you get a rock beat ("The Eighties Hustler") over driven, oscillating guitar effects. It may sound at first like the laser's stuck, playing the same phrase over and over again, but if you listen carefully and closely, there are subtle shifts ... the guitar is at times a litter sharper, the drums change rhythm, like a heart missing a beat...

Throughout you will hear audio samples -- voices conversing -- the source of which I cannot say. One sounded like a soundbite from TV cartoon (why Scooby Doo came to mind, I don't know, as there's no Scooby in the sample), another begins by talking about John Wayne's hat ... )

This is both a fascinating and very cool suite of music that never becomes boring. There is constant movement, even during the spacier, moody sections. Other bands or artists that come to mind as being comparable, Radio Massacre International (having just discovered that trio), maybe even hints of King Crimson. The bands mentioned in the press release: Neu, Spaceman3, Shellac, and Mogwai, among others.


Generic Foreign Accent (4:13) / Cut It Off (When It...) (5:06) / Upgrade To Flash (3:29) / One Minute Eternity I (4:34) / Transdermal (2:59) / I.F.L.W. (2:36) / High Plains Rehab (1:18) / What Hip-Hop Smells Like (0:07) / Stop Liking Your Job (5:37) / Long Hot Naked Winter (3:09) / The Eighties Hustler (3:10) / Who Invited The Secret Weapon? (2:04) / Long Hot Naked Summer (4:09) / It Beats (Checkers) (3:28) / One Minute Eternity III (9:48) / Untitled 1 (0:43) / Untitled 2 (0:07) / Untitled 3 (0:10)


An Attempt To Suppress Dissent (1999)
Live At The Pharmacy 2 (1999)
Await Further Instructions (2002)
Aleatory Element (2004)
Binaurally Yours (2006)

Genre: Experimental

Origin US

Added: December 2nd 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.tungsten74.com
Hits: 1101
Language: english


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