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Cream Cuts

Tussle

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Album Review

Working with new bassist Tomo Yasuda and producer Thom Monahan, on Cream Cuts Tussle find ever more sophisticated ways to build, and deconstruct, their massive grooves. Taking a more overtly organic approach than they did on Telescope Mind, Tussle make the most of Monahan's punchy, roomy production with some of their most elaborate, yet unfussy, rhythms and an atmosphere that suggests Telescope Mind's sleek machinery after being abandoned in a jungle for a few years. "Transparent C" piles creaking and decaying synths on top of a tribal beat that is undeniable but not too oppressive, and "Rainbow Claw"'s dystopian groove is briskly metallic, hurtling guitar shrapnel and shrieking keyboards in its wake. The ebb and flow of Cream Cuts' tracks feels more natural than ever as well: "Night of the Hunter" evolves from a pulsing Krautrock bassline and rippling pianos into an ominous swamp thing full of percussion that croaks like frogs and sonar-like pinging keyboards, with Tussle's rock-solid rhythmic skills uniting these drastic changes as they unfold. As on Telescope Mind, Cream Cuts offers a few shorter interludes that provide breathers from the band's deep-grooving epics. "Third Party"'s bubbling electronics could be a quick glimpse inside Tussle's musical laboratory, while the gamelan bliss of "Personal Effects" shows just how subtly the band can incorporate electronics into its sound — at times, it's hard to tell whether the song's wind chimes and chirping birds are the real deal or just artful electronic simulations. Tussle also make room for their irresistibly kinetic, danceable side with the aptly named "Titan," a collaboration with Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor that shimmers and shimmies and gradually gets more and more exotic; it might start out on the dancefloor, but it ends with a beat so primal that dancing around a fire seems more fitting. Cream Cuts ends with "Meh-Teh," another transporting monster of a dance track that crosses the globe with a Latin-tinged beat that morphs into a motorik rhythm that Cluster would be glad to call their own. Cohesive, eclectic, expansive but never ponderous, Cream Cuts proves that Tussle don't have to do something radically different to craft music this exciting.

Biography

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

One of a number of groups blurring the lines between rock and dance, Tussle blend dub, Krautrock, minimal techno, electro, and post-punk, among other sounds, into a cohesive, danceable whole. The group, which hails from San Francisco's Mission district, included in its earliest lineup drummer/melodica player Alexis Georgopoulos, bassist Andy Cabic, keyboardist/programmer Nathan Burazer, and percussionist Jonathan Holland, who plays bells, a custom drum kit, and found objects, including scraps of...
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Cream Cuts, Tussle
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