Meditative. Enterprising. Industrial. Cavernous. All are fair descriptors of Fire Disposal, the four-part LP debut from power trio Tandaapushi. Throughout its forty minutes, the rhythmic churning of keyboards, cymbals, throbbing bass, electronic effects, bells, beeps and more both demand its listener’s attention while lulling them into a state of altered consciousness.
The album came about following a rendezvous between European students of various disciplines of music. Having met in Brussels, keyboardist Léo Dupleix, drummer Louis Evrard and bassist Laurens Smet form the nuclear mind meld from which the band’s trance-inducing drones emanate.
The suite that makes up the length of Fire Disposal cascades along, skipping past barriers of genre effortlessly. That’s not to say that the music is easy listening, or that tasteful, nuanced playing takes a backseat for the sake of group cohesion. Laser-like keyboard patches decimate a deep, groovy backbeat here and there, before gradually receding into the ocean-like noise spectrum and fading. More on that later, but suffice to say that — regardless of the session-like quality of its players — this is no “smooth jazz” number.
Indeed: Dupleix’s electronic texturing tends to define a wide swath of the sonic landscape, which is what this project feels like it ought to be – the exploration of sonic undertones by way of pounding bass and intuitive yet catchy drum fills. In particularly “thick” spaces (the first five minutes of “Part IV” demonstrate this perfectly) Dupleix is content to lie back on a rhythmic loop, allowing drums and bass to chase one another round the beat, thoughtfully adding ’70s electric piano (“pianet”) fills.
With these three musicians on board, Fire Disposal has been described variously as “avant rock” (Jazznyt), as well as minimalist and “free” jazz. The segments of music from Tandaapushi’s first album may be described as such, but they may also be described as super- and sub-sonic textures for introspective imagery and, indeed, meditative journeying.
Again, don’t be lulled into thinking that this album backs into corners occupied by otherwise underwhelming or wallpaper-like “easy” listening. Its massage-like qualities, wild oscillating, and frenetic, deep vibrations will conversely spike into killer buzzsaw waves of Tesla coil feedback, bursts of treble-propelled energy sparking away.
Fire Disposal is at times like listening to the sounds coming from the backdoor of a sketchy, poorly-lit laboratory, perhaps one abutting the city morgue, with the outline of some shady figures doing some strange work within. For all the dark tones they produce, these players have a serious charm that keeps us comfortably lulled while conscious, awake and looking out for that next errant spark of electricity.