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Taurpis Tula - Steel Rods Bruise Butterflies

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Artist: Taurpis Tula

Album: Steel Rods Bruise Butterflies

Label: Chocolate Monk

Review date: Jan. 3, 2006

The Taurpis Tula core duo of Heather Leigh and David Keenan bring another into the fold – Directing Hand percussionist Alex Neilson – for a 32-minute piece of amorphous skitter that nearly refuses to detour to fleecy soft dynamism, relentlessly holding the listener’s ears in gripping state of sonic catalepsy for the piece’s entirety. Which is admittedly odd, seeing as the addition of a drummer would seemingly impose some sort of structural limitations on Leigh & Keenan. Yet Neilson is a rambunctious little fucker, recalling the salad days of Jamie Muir: Shaking bells, clinking chimes, rattling and scraping metal, and stomping drumheads as his partners respond in kind.

The playful confrontation is notable; this is something that’s been incubating since Leigh’s Haino-esque Give the Ashes to the Indians, and hatches fully formed with the trio. From beginning to end, Leigh’s pedal steel finds a new elasticity, ripping into new growth, wrapping around all available sound. Her vocals are a pitch-for-pitch mimesis: Wraith shrieks heavily oiled and lit afire. Keenan takes no quarter, even slicing up some concrete blocks of riff; Neilson bellyflops into the primitive constructions, making the whole thing sound like a bumwine drunken Stefan Jaworzyn, scraping his strings with a dull cleaver in the midst of an memorable Ascension rehearsal.

Twenty-three minutes later, the bravado takes a beer break, but Leigh tirelessly carries on, scatting weightless sheets of blood-red velvet over ad hoc tent struts slapped out of Neilsen’s floor tom/snare combinations. Gentleman Keenan reclines with fractured flamenco, the sort of quasi-Jazz filigree Derek Bailey would have countered Han Bennink’s reefer fueled iconoclasm with: A fitting and ghostly ending to a ghostly and fitting disc.

By Stewart Voegtlin

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