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Dwellers On The Threshold

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Album Review

Tarwater's second album for Mute sounds very similar to the first, which in turn sounded much like the duo's early work done for Berlin's Kitty-Yo. Of course, there's nothing saying an electronic group has to keep advancing the course of music, but Tarwater has a frustrating habit of stopping just short of producing fleshed-out songs, which results in skeletal, overly repetitive work ("Metal Flakes," "Diver," "1985") that sounds more like demos than completed material. The opener, "70 Rupies to Paradise Road," is a brilliant exception though, with vocalist Tone Avenstroup contributing a monotoned, sung-spoken vocal over a dark, synthetic production. Besides wrestling a few pop songs into a free-form framework with taut guitar lines and primitivist electronics, Tarwater do accomplish plenty of intriguing combinations on this album, like the synthetic jew's harp, tribal percussion, and soft, flute-like synthesizers on "Phin," or the fractured electronics and paranoid soundscapes of "Tesla." Stranded halfway between electronica and pop though, the songs on Dwellers on the Threshold never rise beyond the level of odd, slightly endearing lo-fi experiments.


Formed: 1995 in Berlin, Germany

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Tarwater, a duo comprising Germans Bernd Jestram and Ronald Lippok, have recorded several albums of distinctive, mostly instrumental music tagged post-rock because of Lippok's involvement in To Rococo Rot — a German trio that has recorded for experimental independents such as Soul Static Sound and City Slang. Guitarist/bassist/programmer Jestram and drummer/vocalist/programmer Lippok met in an East German punk band, and began recording together even while Lippok recorded with To Rococo Rot...
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Dwellers On The Threshold, Tarwater
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