Music is funny — you can listen to a band one day and not get it at all, and then next day you listen again and it clicks. Sometimes it takes weeks, or months, or even years. Asheville’s Telecine is kind of like that — it takes more than a cursory listen to get it.
The noise-rock trio is the latest project of songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Larson (read a review of his previous solo album, Sound the Promethean Chord, here), and includes Danni Iosello (Sin Ropas) on drums and backing vocals and Steven Teague on bass. Larson plays guitar, keys and vocals.
The resulting collaboration is fuzzy, noisy, crashing and grinding with breaks of relative harmony and near-pop melody (like around the 4:40 minute mark of lead track, “Aluminium,” on the band’s just-released, self-titled EP).
There’s an acrid sapidity to the five tracks. Moments of prettiness and ease are spliced with feedback and industrial churn. Background vocals are accordant enough, but Larson’s lead often pushes up against a raw and tattered edge. Compositions wear intrigue and layered sophistication with jagged jolts of electricity and crushing percussion.
The slowed beat and warm tones of “Coming Down With Her,” matched to sparkly guitars and lush vocals, is a welcome reprieve. The sweetness and ache of the song comes through, perhaps more so for the preceding assault. But it also feels, with its twilight stutters and bleeps, that it’s drawn from the same emotional pallet as its album mates.
Larson writes in the record’s notes that it’s “intended to go against the grain of mass-produced, glossy, cellophane-wrapped records” and that it was recorded on digital and analog equipment and, after mixing and mastering, transferred to reel-to-reel for a final master. “The dynamics have been maintained while resisting the pressure of a conventional-sounding, polished record,” Larson writes.
There are hints on “Every Turn” of torque and tension. Maybe that’s the “resisting the pressure” of which Larson speaks, but it also feels like an intentional pressure. The sort of cranked-up furnace and compression of the cratonic lithosphere that creates either a diamond or a monster. A shining nightmare; a cracked masterpiece.
Final track, “Drag the Devil,” allows the album’s warring forces to meet. The sleepy beauty and the Battlestar Cylons clash in a shimmering void of reverb and tambourine. It feels both dreamy and epic, both fiery and adrift, the culmination of an apocalypse or a temper tantrum, a fever dream or the flush and cooling of desire. If you can score that state of being, it would sound pretty much like Telecine.
Telecine plays an album release party at Warehouse 10 (339 Lyman Rd. in the River District) on Saturday, June 16, 10 p.m. Knives and Daggers also performs. This is a free merch show, with all Telecine and select Knives and Daggers records, shirts and stickers available for no charge.