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Tiger & Woods - Through the Green

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Artist: Tiger & Woods

Album: Through the Green

Label: Running Back

Review date: Jul. 15, 2011

Brad LaBonte had the truth of it when he wrote “No one makes edits like Mark E.” Tiger & Woods make disco edits quite unlike Mark E’s, for example, and at first it’s easy to fault them for not reaching the same dizzying heights. Sonically, Tiger & Woods’ hopped-up boogie is often closer to Dâm-Funk’s take on the early-’80s Minneapolis sound than one of Theo Parrish’s Ugly Edits. It’s a more linear listening experience than Mark E’s expansive workouts. Pacing-wise, T&W really emphasize that this is club music, and so the tracks suffer in a low-volume, home-listening environment — there’s just too much sound in their sound for the album to work on laptop speakers, and there isn’t enough treble business to make an impression. Without enough volume to separate the layers, the tracks curdle. Given the right setting, though, the anonymous duo’s retrospective disco-funk sound is thrilling. Stuffing low-BPM tracks with finely ground samples, Tiger & Woods blur the line between edit and produced track, particularly when their equally mysterious collaborator Em provides vocals.

Through the Green is a hybrid, collecting the 12”s they’ve released on their Editainment label over the past couple of years with a few new tracks. Despite its background, the album’s only real stumbling block is its consistency. Boogie’s characteristic strutting rhythm, which accents the second and fourth beat, is clearly Tiger & Woods’ raison d’être. With that foundation, the music swings hard but, thanks to technology, stays in the digital pocket: samples are breathlessly looped, transitions are clean and quick, everything stays in perfect sync.

In this context, it’s the small details like the whistling synth line that comes in at the end of “Love in Cambodgia” that seem especially important. The only appropriate reaction to this much funk is dancing, and if you’re not moving, the surplus of stimuli is tiring – this is a tough album to get through seated. There is hardly a dull moment on Through the Green, and that comes at the expense of nuance. There’s necessarily a surfeit of detail. It all hangs together really well as an album because of that, but it’s all so uniformly high energy that it works against the listener who just wants to listen. It’s better to think of it as a convenient way of getting your hands on the Tiger & Woods sound than as an album statement.

Which is not to say that Through the Green absolutely lacks variety. At one end of Tiger & Woods’ spectrum, there’s the hyper-produced dance bouillion of “Kissmetellme”; at the other, the statelier roll of classics like “Deflowered” and “Gin Nation” — chronologically earlier tracks that appear near the album’s end and fit more neatly into the disco-edit story.

Through the Green is one of the finest dance LPs of the year for sure, but it’s not something I could listen to every day. T&W’s take on the edit goes well beyond making exclusives they can throw in their DJ sets or making a quick buck — it’s about using the format as a launching pad for their unique production style. These tracks don’t impress with their subtlety, but they don’t really need to — the funkiest moments won’t get out of your head, to a mildly annoying degree. There’s isn’t much of an overall arc to the album or the tracks, or even the collaborations with ’Em; it’s purely of the moment. Even if upbeat roller jams aren’t your cup of tea, any three-minute stretch of Through the Green is likely to make you feel like you should be closer to a dance floor.

By Brandon Bussolini

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