Tome to the Weather Machine (USA)
In grade school I had a pen pal from Australia. Was a nice young girl who sent me a gigantic ballpoint pen with a kangaroo on the top of it. Postcards, candy, toys. I (being from Fairbanks, Alaska), sent her back a little flag and some native Alaskan trinkets and things. Pictures. I told her about my two dogs, and probably Ninja Turtles. Having a pen pal is rad, especially one from Australia. I wish I could remember her name. I’d like to have another one.
Recently picked up this album from guitar/effects composer/noodler Andrew Tuttle (after reading a glowing review on Foxy (every day, people. Every. Day.), who is from Brisbane. And I’ve just been enjoying the hell out of it. Probably because it reminds me so much of Jim O’Rourke, both his earlier/more-recent acoustic guitar-based music as well as his intermittent electronic work on Mego. Anonymeye combines these two approaches in a pretty fascinating way, redefining the art of the tremolo, warping his guitar through what feels like an infinite number of processors while also letting a clean channel ring through with the piece’s core melodic element. It’s real pretty. He’s also, apparently, constructing a musical framework based on Esperanto—”a politically neutral language that transcends nationality which would foster peace and international understanding between people with different regional and/or national languages.” Awesome.
So anyway, I like the music as well as this idea of musical-Esperanto so much that I would like to reach out to Mr. Tuttle to see if he’d like to begin swapping packages, as he just comes across as a good candidate. Seems like a nice, charming fella. He doesn’t even have to send me his music (I got this from eMusic… yes. I still buy music.). Let’s just understand each other and foster peace! I want a nice person to share nice things from each others’ countries with. Is that so much to ask?
Like the video, too, by the way—copious amounts of mood squares, and Mr. Tuttle himself. Handsome devil. Great haircut. Yeah. So Mr. Tuttle… how ’bout it?
Foxy Digitalis (USA)
Another unexpected musical surprise, in a year that has been plentiful of them. This album is the work of an Australian musician named Andrew Tuttle, who combines acoustic guitar playing with digital processing and electronics. That description alone may not sound incredibly unique to some of you, but what he does on this album is certainly in a league of its own. First off, the guitar playing here is absolutely stunning; he’s obviously an incredibly accomplished guitar player, channeling all of the American Primitive heroes, particularly on opener “Federation” and closer “Exitarchy”. Although, the liner notes credit Cornel Wilczek with acoustic guitar as well, so he is to thank for some of the guitar goodness as well. As far as the electronics, there are plenty of things happening; tremolo-heavy synth and organ washes, as on “Federation”. Vintage analogue drum machine pulse, as on “Demarchy”. Laptop fizzing and mutating the guitar tones on “Minarchism”. Glitch detailing and enhancing (not obscuring or abstracting) the guitar playing in “Meritocracy”. And “Plutocracy” is a 9-minute minimalist phasing odyssey. “Plutarchy” is probably the oddest track here, burying any acoustic sounds under sludge and pounding the life out of them.
Even when altered by effects, there is a clear contrast between the acoustic guitar and the electronics. The guitars are melodic and musical. Yet they fit so naturally with the electronics, which are heavily detailed without being glitch overload. This is just an incredibly lovely album, and certainly challenges the possibilities of how modern electronics and acoustic instruments can be combined, while steering far clear of any “folktronica” cliches.
Ear Influxion (USA)
I picked this one up on a whim from a few clips I heard, knowing very little about it otherwise. It turns out it makes for great morning music, as my first several plays have happened during that time of day. It has a playful lightness and feels approachable, despite being on the outskirts of post-rock or pop. To me it recalls the pastoral quality of some of Morr Music’s early less beat-focused albums by Isan or Múm. The contrast of acoustic instruments against signal processing or digital manipulation is nothing new; laptop musicians have been exploiting this convenient contrast for as long as software’s permitted them to do so. As an example, Part-Timer is another act who’s released full albums of instrumental music along these lines, while there are other acts like Empress or Bibio taking the idea and moving it into songs and more varied territory. But there’s something truly special about what Andrew Tuttle’s done with these rather concise 7 tracks, a mood and feeling the music evokes that rises it above mere comparison to other like-minded artists. The song titles of Anontendre play on words and politics (“Demarchy,” “Minarchism,” “Exilarchy,” as examples), but the music itself feels somewhat impartial. There’s a cozy elegance to his pieces, never falling too far on one side of the contrast, combining sometimes sweet, melodic acoustic guitar and piano against overtones and drones and abstractions of sound. Only “Meritocracy” seems to fall more fully into folk music territory, sounding more akin to David Pajo than Mego, but pieces like “Plutocracy” and “Federation” boast a much healthier abstraction from the source, providing the necessary contrast to make Anontendre lively and interesting.
Anontendre, Andrew Tuttle’s third Anonymeye full-length, is admirably direct: not only is each of its seven titles one word in length, the album as a whole weighs in at a lean thirty-two minutes. All that does, however, is leave the listener wanting more, not less of the Brisbane composer’s electro-acoustic settings by the time the final, magnificently galloping note of “Exilarchy” sounds. Something’s definitely afoot in the politically toned song titles—“Meritocracy,” “Plutocracy,” “Plutarchy,” et al.—but no one need get too worked up about any underlying power-based theme, one way or the other, given that the material’s purely instrumental. Working with acoustic guitar, synthesizer, electronics, organ, piano, harmonica, and signal processing, Tuttle’s helped out on a couple of tracks by Cornel Wilczek who adds his own acoustic guitar and electronics to the mix.
What clearly identifies the material as Anonymeye is the meeting between analog and digital worlds: acoustic folk, in the form of picking, strums, and tremolo-laden shudder, and kosmische psychedelia, in the form of synthesizer burble that flows constantly through Tuttle’s tracks. Combining the two in the way he does results in an arresting listening experience that finds one’s attention rapidly flickering from one piece to the next. In some cases, one of the styles dominates, such as when “Meritocracy” alternates between reflective strums and jaunty picking episodes, with Tuttle’s guitar accompanied discreetly by piano; in other cases, both appear, as when the sparse pluck of an acoustic guitar warms shimmering cosmic swirls of synthesizer chords in “Federation.” A veritable epic by the album’s standards, “Plutocracy” puts its nine minutes to use in the form of an extended drone exploration whose motor at one point slowly winds down, thereby triggering shuddering whorls of electronics to spin into the sky until they too reach a woozy state of immobility. Yes, there’s tension in play—between the analog and digital realms and the acoustic and electronic sounds—but the tracks themselves offer more of a peaceful resolution between all such elements as opposed to oil-and-water conflict.
Anonymeye is the name used by Brisbane artist Andrew Tuttle and his latest “Anontendre” is his third full length after “Anonymeye Hotel (Half Theory) and “The Disambugation of Anonymeye” (Sound & Fury). The album for me is a little bit more experimental than the other releases he has put out and does require more time for it to sink in. But, this is a good thing as the longer you listen, the more that is revealed.
This is what the label said of the release: “Loosely, Anonymeye’s music could be described as an Anonymocracy – where tensions previously held between assumed rival factions such as acoustics and electronics, improvisation and composition, dissonance and melody are recognised and explored, but eventually heading towards a resolution that is part utopian and part redemption.”
The album starts with “Federation” which starts with sharp shimmering drones, passages of what sounds like ambient synth before entering the territory that Anonymeye has mapped successfully – the acoustic, almost folky guitar. “Federation” and the final track “Exilarchy” are almost book ends to the album in more ways than just being the first in last tracks, they are almost cut from the same cloth. The tracks that come after “Federation” and before “Exilarchy” map various territory such as Drone, Glitch, Field Recording, etc… the most experimental pieces that have heard from Anonymeye are on the tracks “Plutocracy” and “Plutarchy”. Both sound his most electronic and sound like a system of machines braking down. “Demarchy” is a track that is bright and shimmery with waves of ambience and minimal percussion (something that you don’t really associate with Anonymeye). “Meritocracy” is the most glitchy of the tracks before going into the folky finger picking territory. This is what makes Anonymeye stand out in the field of guitar and lap top artists – it gives him his signature sound and shows that he is proficient with the instrument rather than just using as a drone/shoe gaze style accompaniment. The highlight track for me is “Exilarchy” and it’s no surprise that it has been on RTRFM’s “Out to Lunch” playlist. It’s a great guitar work out, lots of picking which then has a great deep bass drone undercutting it before venturing into electric territory and it sounds fantastic, A great way to end an impressive album.
Vital Weekly (Netherlands)
ANONYMEYE – ANONTENDRE (CD by Someone Good)
Many years ago I saw Andrew Tuttle play in Extrapool, alongside with Kunt, and it was one of those evenings which were nice, perhaps not entirely for the quality of the music, but just a lovely winter evening with nice people and fine music. I have no idea why I remembered that. I wrote that before, in Vital Weekly 684, when I reviewed Andrew Tuttle’s Anonymeye CDR. That was recorded on a bunch of ancient synthesizers locked at away Rotterdam’s CEM/Worm studios, which was interesting since Tuttle is mainly a guitarist, as he proofs here on a more ‘serious’ release for Room40’s pop label Someone Good. He plays acoustic guitar, along with signal processing, synthesizer, electronics, harmonica, organ and piano. Its all instrumental music, and its perhaps the first time I heard a pop-like album being described like this: “Anonymocracy – where tensions previously held between assumed rival factions such as acoustics and electronics, improvisation and composition, dissonance and melody are recognized and explored, but eventually heading towards a resolution that is part utopian and part redemption.” Now just like these words, ‘pop’ is also strange word, and to many who like ‘pop’ music this would hardly qualify as pop music, but I understand this label’s point. Anonymeye plays some very nice tunes on his guitar which are supported by the other instruments. Hyper psychedelic drones in the opening of ‘Federation’, but then the guitar drops in, breezing like fresh air. Two of the seven pieces may not fit in here, both of which are recorded with Cornel Wilczek, and which are pretty extreme compared to the rest of this album. I am not sure why they are included, as they fall quite beside the others. For those others you think John Fahey meets glitch in ‘Minarchism’, which is, along with ‘Meritocracy’, the highlight of the CD. Maybe its a bit out of balance due to the two more experimental pieces, but hey, what do I care? I am no pop man, so I can state: this is a great CD.
Norman Records (United Kingdom)
rating: 4* (recommended release)
This is nice. A new CD from Australia’s Andrew Tuttle, AKA Anonymeye, here on his third release. It’s bang up my alley as far as this kind of semi-ambient stuff goes. There’s certainly elements of melody contained on this here disc but it’s not pop as we know it. He uses a mixture of organic and electronic instrumentation to build up his relaxing tone sculptures. Vibe-wise the synth bits are kind of reminding me of Food Pyramid or something, but there’s always that interplay between those and the organic instruments which is satisfying, and the melodic focal point is generally the guitar. Phil thinks some of it’s a bit like Spacemen 3’s dronier stuff. Pretty blissed out stuff anyway. The material on this album seems to vary from quite complex and melodic fingerpicked guitar to fairly minimal drone. It’s constantly evolving and never really grating. I like it.
The Chocolate Pudding Cup (USA)
Anontendre is Anonymeye’s third full-length release and it’s a cosmic mixture of electronic experimentation and soft, gentle folk. And though a combination of those two sounds isn’t completely unheard of, this quick half-hour of an album is something delightfully fresh. Andrew Tuttle, the man behind Anonymeye, freely released a live compilation album earlier this year and two of the new tracks from there translate wonderfully here as studio recordings. With a listen to Anontendre, it’s clear that Tuttle’s return is a confident one – he’s expanded and refined ideas from 2009’s The Disambiguation of Anonymeye and created a more accessible and enjoyable batch of songs.
There are some tracks on Anontendre that heavily prefer either electronic or acoustic instrumentation over the other but opener “Federation” finds a perfect balance of both worlds. A third into the song, acoustic guitars get comfortable in the mix and contrast the constantly shifting synths to embody a free flowing spirit within some sort of song structure. Other tracks find harmony in both means of instrumental expression as well. “Minarchism” brilliantly unites the natural with the alien as steel strings are plucked alongside warped and otherworldly noises. It’s strange and fascinating at the same time, and the way Tuttle is able to create such a cohesive bond between both mediums is extremely impressive.
Though Tuttle is clearly capable of making his various instruments compliment each other, he sets aside moments for each to shine on their own. “Meritocracy” houses a lovely guitar and piano serenade while “Exilarchy” is a dreamy closing peace filled with classic fingerpicking and electric guitar flourishes. On the electronic side of things, the creepy “Plutarchy” is filled with terrifying sounds. The drums sound like a monster trying to escape and near the end of the song, there comes a point where it sounds like a marble is rolling down a table in your brain (give it a listen and you’ll know what I mean). And even when listening to the abstract, nine minute “Plutocracy,” there’s a subtle beauty to its minimal progression and it’s all evidence of Tuttle’s talents.
I can’t say I know too much about anything that’s happening in Australia currently in regards to music, but I’m quite surprised to hear something so incredible come out of a country that hasn’t offered too much excellent music historically (at least, that I’ve found). Anontendre is easily the best Anonymeye release so far and as long as Tuttle keeps making music as creative and cohesive as this, the rest of the world is sure to notice.
The Thousands (Australia)
The only thing Andrew Tuttle loves more than a good pun, banjo’s, Australiana and letting his life in East Berlin come through in his recordings is commitment to his very particular musical aesthetic. His brand of Electro-folk long moved away from simple sampling, to a highly structured arrangement of field recordings, grabs from copyright free materials and Tuttle’s own brand of looped country-influenced guitar.
Anonymeye‘s latest release, Anontendre is an aural equivalent of snow falling on cedars, or an examination of pastel hued fractal patterns coming at you from all angles. Not as beat-driven as previous efforts, Anontendre is bumbling and, at times, corrosive. Cornel Wilczek (aka. Qua) also makes a guest appearance on the album, in the spirit of all that is collaborative.
Anontendre is a record that Warp would love to release, were it typically Australian in the sense of road trips singing Acca Dacca a cappella (which he has been known to do), op shopping and taking the wide open road and shortening it into 31 minutes of subtle glitched out electro-wave. This is music to do some serious contemplating to.
Boomkat (United Kingdom)
‘Anontendre’ is the third album of tender folk/electronic fusions from Australian, Andrew Tuttle aka Anonymeye. Crafted with steel string guitar, banjo, analog synth and computer, the Anonymeye sound meshes the organic and the electronic in a confluence of improvised and meticulously composed techniques. The results are a set of charming, shimmering sonic contradictions.
4ZZZ FM (Australia)
Brisbane’s Anonymeye A.K.A. Andrew Tuttle has been making it his business to create gorgeous, experimental music, and on album number three, this bad-ass trend continue. This latest offering Anontendre, sees Tuttle create luscious instrumental music, centred around a backbone of acoustic guitar & banjo, set in a haze of analog synths and subtle electronic flourishes. Tuttle has certainly grown into a great big beautifully & musically adept butterfly recently, coming a long way from those early years making unashamedly brash, casio-fuelled, electro pop with Brisbane skuzz duo – the now presumably defunct – Molliger. The track I’ve chosen, Federation is the opening cut from the record and is a pretty darn good indication of what you can expect from the rest, it’s very much mood music to lose yourself in. Background music for the front of your mind, the soundtrack to a life so wonderful you can only stand-back and watch in awe. So put on those big ol’ cans, slide yourself down into a comfy chair and melt into the good vibrations.