Band: More Animals of the Arctic
Album: An Appendix of Whaling Terms
Best Element: Challenging, yet rewarding listening
Label: Standard Recording Co.
If one were to imagine the kind of music a cold, ice-o-lated, mountain man of the arctic tundra would produce, living completely alone but with the silent, mysterious, winter-weather animals of the frozen outback, it would sound exactly like Michael Tapscott’s first solo album, An Appendix of Whaling Terms, under the title More Animals of the Arctic.
For those of you who have followed Tapscott’s musical passage, it would also sound like his first band Odawas’ The Aether Eater, released in 2005 on Jagjaguwar Records. Tapscott seems to have found a certain knack in creating brilliantly atmospheric music, while at the same time suggesting a very dark and secretive overtone.
An Appendix of Whaling Terms is not an album for the faint of heart. It’s moody, and Tapscott’s blend of folk, experimental, and electronica, although mystical and out of the ordinary, is not easy listening. The entire album, all ten tracks, entails a keen ear and a setting in which distractions are very minimal and/or you are alone. This is due to the fact that 1) To truly appreciate the album you must hear all the parts and instruments used (guitar, keys, loosely-tightened snares, harmonica, piano, horns, flutes, and some sort of conch sounding instrument) and 2) Most of your hits radio-listening friends will hate it and ruin it for you. In other words, this isn’t a party mix.
Most of these tracks would highlight, not so much in the words but in the music, the story of Donnie Darko. There is something about More Animals of the Arctic, perhaps the vocals that become lost in the mammoth amounts of reverb or the fact that at times you feel like your listening to the darkest of the 80’s, that makes you feel like an outsider; that makes you feel alone.
This is great music, and hard music. It also feels like homework. It’s one of those albums that deserves a listen, but you have to be in the mood to truly enjoy its art.