This is the debut release by Triple Burner, aka Harris Newman and Bruce Cawdron, but is by no means the first fruits of their combined efforts as Cawdron has already appeared on Newman’s Non-Sequiturs (2003) and Accidents with Nature and Each Other (2005). The journey to full collaboration has taken a few years of live performance and like those previous releases Triple Burner has a very live-sounding feel.
There is no obvious studio trickery here; no overdubs, computer magic or multi-tracking to hold these songs down. Just the light percussion or electric hums of Cawdron coupled with the repetitive, hypnotic acoustic guitar of Newman. Sometimes they’re so light you’d think they’d float away or dissolve into nothing, but for the most part the duo take this minimal approach and create some otherworldly substance. Only during the meandering 13 minute “The Pulse Of Park Ex” does Triple Burner lose some of the focus built up elsewhere.
So light you’d think they’d float away or dissolve into nothing, but for the most part the duo take this minimal approach and create some otherworldly substance.
As with a lot of minimal or ambient music tracks taken out of the context of their broader home can seem insubstantial or be misunderstood. Likewise this is not an album for iPods, iTunes and 10,000 songs and a shuffle function. It seems to be best considered in two distinct sides (perhaps then the best format is on LP — but I leave that in the air as this is the CD version). The more direct first four tracks have a tempo and tone that builds gradually but also offer differing styles. So they begin with a 50 second sine throb (“Kelvin Says”) moving onto the minimal drone of “The Wherewithal” and ending the ‘side’ with the more upbeat traditional folk of “Bride Of Bad Behaviour”, which sounds like it has spoons-playing at its heart (Rock and Roll!).
The second half has three more disparate offerings. The dark-shuffle delta-blues of “Wall Socket Protector” (which at times recalls the folktronica of Mice Parade or others on the Fat Cat label) proceeds the aforementioned “The Pulse…” which builds slowly into a psychedelic clatter which then takes too long to end, although if you’re chemically enhanced when taking it in you might adjudge the track too short by half. The final track, “Regresso”, is also one of the albums strongest, and adds an Eastern influence to Six Organs Of Admittance’s more contemplative moments.
The lack of vocals, rather than removing depth from Triple Burner, actually allows each track to create a different mood in the listener by focussing on the music and the slight variations within each. The percussion soothes or drives whilst the guitar takes blues, psych, or other forms. It’s perhaps a stretch to see it as an album and more as a long EP, with one track of 7 under a minute and one (too long) at 13. But TB have created a simple, interesting and rewarding experience.