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Gum Takes Tooth – Silent Cenotaph


Gum Takes Tooth - Silent CenotaphThe live-wire pairing of drummer Thomas Fuglesang and electronic sound-mangler Jussi Brightmore have come on leaps and bounds, deservedly gathering admirers as they have done so, since their debut album, Silent Cenotaph. First released in 2011 , it’s now finally been blessed with a Tigertrap vinyl edition, wrapped up in as suitably bizarre a gatefold cover as its music deserves and Brightmore could devise.

The duo push the envelope of drums’n’FX-centred outfits with a heavy electronic bent, as exemplified by the distended visceral jolts of Lightning Bolt, the Moog-infested lurching thrills of Temperatures or the more trance-oriented Zombie Zombie. With tendrils which flow back to such luminaries as I’m Being Good and Blood Stereo, and their own joint genesis in Infants as well as primal connections to the cosmic mass caprine mania of Chrome Hoof and familial links to the infamous polymorphic chaos of $hit & $hine, Gum Takes Tooth could probably be found in possession of similar key characteristics to any or all of the above.

For a first album, even given the spectacular progression demonstrated on last year’s Mirrors Fold, it’s entirely pleasing to look back and evaluate how well Silent Cenotaph holds up when compared to the Gum Takes Tooth of 2015. Even if this had been their only album, it would stand as a sterling example of how to manage dynamics, how to switch fluidly from muscular, BPM-churning percussion into reflective passages where electronics hold sway. But of course the real magic comes where the two facets of the GTT sound are combined in real time, Fuglesang and Brightmore locked in recursive feedback structures (rather than structures made of feedback, as such) where the drums are fed through the devices and trigger systems with pleasantly self-modifying results.

This is nowhere more evident than on side B, where the blistering racket of “Tannkjøtt”, which is like nothing so much as the Butthole Surfers notoriously demented rhythm section trancing out dub style on an outer space excursion to a planet infested with demon percussionists locked in a never-ending duel with sentient vintage arcade machines. “Rise From The Peat and Walk” marries skronk with a lurching rhythm that stumbles doggedly onwards until collapsing into its own vanishing point of excoriated powertool klang.

With Valentina Magaletti, later of Bat For Lashes and $hit & $hine, on board to provide double-drumkit action, “Hermaphrodite and Nourishment” provides a logical if slightly subdued conclusion to a substantial début LP. Multifarious beats and circling metallic scrawls ignite into a slow-burning morass which glowers with an immanent menace that, while never fully unleashed, successfully outlines future paths for Gum Takes Tooth to follow.

-Linus Tossio-

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