Review: Telmetale – Telmetale (tmrw❯, Aug 15)

“Tale,” the opening track from Telmetale’s debut C20 that takes up the entire first side, rises from the darkness like a whirling spectral apparition, composed of skulking drones and hair-raising prepared guitar plinks. The newly formed duo consists of guitarist Jacek Chmiel and multi-instrumentalist Kamil Korolczuk, who here contributes a mixture of moody modular transmissions and live magnetic tape processing, and their chemistry is audible in the music’s consistently evocative milieu of smoke and shadow. When writing about recordings with a similar approach such as qb and Rural Tourniquet, I like to bring up the idea that small-scale collective improvisation can end up being a unified pile of sound rather than a discernible musical conversation; however, in Telmetale, elements of both seem to manifest. “Tale” is a dense and harrowing amalgam of drones and AMM-esque nocturnal clatter, but on “Serotonin” the musician’s additions are separated in the stereo field, with plasticky tape frequencies butting up against tactile scratching. The duality of source is even more apparent in “Part II,” in which Chmiel’s guitar playing becomes much more sporadic. This promising duo’s first release is queasy and unsettling, but ultimately an intoxicating document of atmospheric free music.

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