Review : Telefon Tel Aviv - Fahrenheit Fair Enough
SputnikmusicWhen Telefon Tel Aviv released Immolate Yourselfthis past January, one of the criticisms I levied against it was for the bouts of stagnation it would go through. This wasn't so much in a creative sense, as the duo had made stylistic changes with every release. Rather, certain parts of the record were somewhat dull and did not work quite as well as they should have. In comparison with Fahrenheit Fair Enough, it simply wasn't as inventive as the duo – Joshua Eustis and Charles Cooper (R.I.P.) – was capable of producing.
Mind you, Immolate Yourselfwas preferable to its predecessors in certain ways; the heavy synth usage made for a warmer, more natural sound, and the flawless production helped create an enveloping atmosphere that was exceedingly enjoyable in its own right. Not only that, but it also featured "You Are the Worst Thing in the World", which is one of the best songs Telefon Tel Aviv has written to date. But I digress; Fahrenheit Fair Enough is still tops as far as I'm concerned.
Contrasting nicely with the heavy, synth-laden characteristics of Immolate Yourself, Fahrenheit Fair Enough is far more stripped down, particularly "Your Face Reminds Me of When I Was Old", which is as bare and empty sounding as the band would ever get. For the most part, however, minimalism this is not, but Telefon Tel Aviv's downtempo approach builds on a similar foundation. "Life Is All About Taking Things in and Putting Things Out" is the most evocative of these songs placing particular emphasis on sublime melodies and a calm, introspective mood present for much of the record. Without abandoning such vibes, the rest of Fahrenheit Fair Enough introduces far more complex song structures with the incorporation of breakbeats. "What's the Use of Feet If You Don't Have Legs" and "Introductory Nomenclature" best convey Telefon Tel Aviv's beat-oriented style, and yet neither is particularly similar; the former sounds almost robotic, while in the latter a melodic edge undercuts the impressive rhythmic work....full text
PitchforkFor guys who've worked closely with Nine Inch Nails, Telefon Tel Aviv's Charles Cooper and Josh Eustis sound remarkably calm and contemplative. Far from being an album of corporately bloated, manufactured angst, Fahrenheit Fair Enough is so laid back that it's permanently supine. Cooper and Eustis have previously worked on remixes with Nine Inch Nails' Danny Lohner, who's responsible for tracks such as A Perfect Circle's "Judith" and "The Hollow," as well as Eminem's "The Way I Am." In addition to collaborating on a glitchy remix of NIN's "Where is Everybody?" (on the Things Falling Apart remix EP), the pair have also contributed to "Even Deeper," which will appear on the soundtrack to the John and James Hughes high school road movie, Newport South.
Though the contemplative vibe of Fahrenheit Fair Enough raises eyebrows, given the band's previous production credits, John Hughes' Hefty label is a perfect home for Telefon Tel Aviv. The band, now supporting Godspeed You Black Emperor and Califone on tour, are comfortably (in fact, sometimes too comfortably) similar to Scott Herren's Savath and Savalas project and, all too infrequently, the seismic waves of Italian glitchworkers Retina.
Kicking off with the title track, Cooper and Eustis perform their deft impersonation of the lulling, tastefully echoed tones of the Album Leaf. An electronic piano makes deliberated, pseudo-profound statements before the Warp-descended posse of percussion squiggles, bips, blips, and blops take up their squirmy position by the e-piano. These opposites never attract. Though a steady backbeat keeps both time and order, Cooper and Eustis are forced into using a calliope-like sound to bring any beauty to this ill-conceived pairing.
A slightly Oval-processed electric piano opens "TTV," but it's the malfunctioning, algorithmic percussion that holds the field before Cooper and Eustis let a solo flute furnish the track with sentimental elegance. "Lotus above Water" initially features dapplings of efx-laden guitars and a Matthew Herbert-style sample-anything atmosphere. The duo tones down those noodly ambiences when they engage a subdued kickdrum, but at 3xBD minutes, the track's too short to build any real steam....full text
BbcWhile much contemporary electronica seems to be disappearing up its own digital fundament in a quest to push the sonic envelope as far as possible, there are still those around who aren't afraid to make music that can actually be listened to rather than endured. Such a pair are Joshua Eustis and Charles Cooper, aka Telefon Tel Aviv, who have produced a blissful and unashamedly beautiful record that still manages a passing nod to the (ahem) IDM massive.
Fahrenheit Fair Enough straddles post rock, electronica and even jazz (and as such pretty much reflects the concerns of Hefty Records); chiming guitars and blurred electric piano chords hover above intricate networks of glitches and analogue beats, glued together by warm, sinuous electric bass lines. Imagine Harold Budd and Vini Reilly jamming with Pole on chords donated by Joe Zawinul, and you might be someway there. Like Scott Herren's Savaath + Savalas project (also on Hefty), Telefon Tel Aviv blur the lines between what's played and what's placed, managing a wealth of detail but allowing acres of space between the instruments....full text
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