Joe Talia – Tint (2018, Black Truffle)
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Having first become acquainted with Joe Talia’s drum work on Hubris, the 2016 release from compatriot Oren Ambarchi, I was excited to hear this solo release from the Tokyo-based Australian instrumentalist. Rather than being an exercise in neue kosmische akin to Hubris — or a percussion heavy release—Tint is a brooding, near affair which would not be out of place as the film score for an Andrei Tarkovsky work. Comprised of two electroacoustic compositions (two parts of the same suite), Talia, one part mystic sage, one part sonic observer, crafts hypnotic and somnolent soundscapes which are masterfully composed from/using an array of analogue tools. Futuristic electro chirps, wooly textures, and heavily manipulated cymbal strokes swirl together to engulf the listener in a work that sounds ahead of its time, whilst still remaining unburdened by the implied artistic fatalism or teleology of such a (clichéd) statement. Similarly Tint escapes feeling mawkishly anachronistic; whilst the earlier suggestion of serving as a score for some weathered Soviet science fiction film fits, the work still feels spry, malleable, and fresh, despite its density. Talia’s suite and its two component movements are lengthy enough for each part to breathe and settle, only to be goaded once again. Innumerable sonic points of experimentation are visited and Talia presents a number of rich, dynamic junctures, which despite the variegated form, remains coherent as a whole. The results are sufficiently interesting and keep the listener (this one, at least) engaged for the duration (40 minutes) of the release.