» LATEST FEATURES

LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid
Tongues
Domino

Rating: 8/10 ?


March 15, 2007
Tongues is the third collaboration between electronic artist Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) and experienced jazz drummer Steve Reid. Following the success of their first two efforts, Exchange Sessions 1 and 2, Hebden and Reid got together again in the studio to build a more profound dialogue of sounds and ideas.

A warning should go out to Four Tet fans: Tongues is nothing like Hebden's more infectious, alter-moniker signature moments such as "Smile Around The Face" (from Everything Ecstatic). The Hebden-Reid collaboration is a product of experimentations from the two artists, high moments picked out of drawn-out jams rather than overtly composed song structures. The two-man process allows Hebden to create through tinkering and experimenting, and moreso than when he is matching beats and finding fresh sounds as Four Tet, because in Reid there exists another side to the group.

A second warning should be issued to jazz/soul heads: although Reid has provided cadence for a wide range of greats - Miles Davis, Archie Shepp, James Brown, and Dionne Warwick - Tongues doesn't really show off the precise chops or tempo command that found him manning the kit for those gigs in the first place. Needless to say, Hebden is not comparable to any of these artists, especially in this sphere.

A third and final warning should be issued to anyone not falling directly into one camp or the other: as clichéd as such an admonition may sound, nothing could be more true than to say that Tongues isn't like anything you've ever heard before. The duo's sound is defined to a large extent by Reid's inclination that the moment in which to capture music is as it occurs for the first time. Call it focused improvising or whatever you will, the music of Tongues is greatly based around spontaneity. The album is made organically, entirely without overdubs or edits of any sort.

Further making the whole thing unique is that both artists are creating with a deep intrigue towards the style of the other. Reid looks to make music that extends his creativity and the boxed-in nature of some 'jazz.' Hebden is a sound finder/maker/exploiter and throughout his career he has been known for delving into styles that others have avoided. Here he attempts to delve into Reid's background of free jazz with electronic instruments that are unconventional even for that genre.

Tongues is the result of Reid and Hebden's separate backgrounds and collective ambitions. The influence of the music leans more to the side of Hebden, with Reid at times being more accompaniment than featured player. In this element we find the drummer fitting his hard-worked, clunky acoustic beats amongst anything-goes electronic gurgles and oscillations. When both members get into a groove, the sound is so newborn that it's still learning how to stand, and some listeners might not appreciate the beauty of such rawness. However, on a second listen the combination of experimentation, bright electronic twitches, accentuated and warped bells, and around-the-pocket drums are undeniable. Being from so far afield, Tongues has created its own language with which to communicate.

Some may blow off Tongues as too jammy or underdeveloped, but neither is truly the case and, in fact, it's unpolished characteristic is core to it's sound. The ten compositions here (including an intriguing take on the jazz standard "Greensleeves") are examples of the extended creativity interacting between two exceptionally talented, and totally different, musicians. Hebden and Reid are allowed to make an electronic/free jazz album and call it gold. Experimental, yes. Good shit, another yes.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

» MEDIA DOWNLOADS

» GOT STICKERS?

If you'd like to help spread the word about LAS, or simply want to outfit yourself with some adhesive coolness, our 4" circle LAS stickers are sure to hit the spot, and here is how to get them:

--> Send an with $2 in PayPal funds to cover postage. Don't worry, we'll load you up with enough to cover your town. Then just be patient. They will arrive soon.

» WORLDWIDE DOMINATION

LAS has staff and freelance writers spread across North and South America, Europe, and a few in Southeast Asia as well. As such, we have no central mailing adress for unsolicited promotional material. If you are interested in having your project considered for coverage, please contact us before sending any promotional materials - save yourself time and postage!