Review: Tiger Village – Modern Drummer (Hausu Mountain, Mar 29)

Tim Thornton’s newest tape as Tiger Village, Modern Drummer, is a colorful romp through complex rhythms, off-kilter percussion, and occasional mangled fragments of arrestingly beautiful melodies. Much like its overstimulating cover art, the tape is a bubbling, shifting amalgam of elements both synthetic and organic. None of its components are anywhere close to quiet or submissive, so each track plays out almost like an auditory grudge match between disparate drum loops and plasticky synth patches, fighting against each other as well as Thornton’s jagged, unpredictable sampling technique. Despite the heavy emphasis on rhythm, many of the songs become so complex and saturated with indifferently brash ingredients that they turn into something much more formless, drawing abstractness from structure in a way that’s fascinating and unique—closing piece “Tightly” is a great example of this. But Modern Drummer isn’t all dizzying, disorienting blasts of electronic mayhem; Thornton also has a great ear for the sublime, and knows when a respite from the insanity would be appreciated. Tracks like “Modern Drummer II,” with its pleasing, subdued kick drum stampedes, or “Beat Tape,” which enthralls with its slow disintegration, offer opportunities to breathe amidst their more frenetic neighbors, making Modern Drummer feel like a well-composed and complete album despite its concise length.