Tanner Volz is the man behind electronic and IDM artist Anklebiter, bringing us his third release in as many years with Raintree. For the next hour we are treated to aural delights; ambient melancholia and synth a staple of most of what we hear. The album kicks off with “Homonymic” and swirls and ethereal tones of strings. It’s a gentle awakening, to which industrial drums enter slowly. There’s a suffocating aura to this track as it progresses, and it’s negativity we’ve not seen the last off in this release. Echoing piano bass notes holding a haunting melody begin “Nested”, reminding me of a lesser known artist in Blah Kesto, and this builds and gives way to high pitched space synth, rolling high and low volumes. Again we are short of breath – no space is vacant – like the instruments are sucking the air from the speakers when the industrial reverbed drums enter.
“When Your Ghosts Outnumber your Living” is one of the highlights of this release, Volz confidence rightly placed in it by releasing it prior to the album landing. It starts in a similar vein to its predecessors, with a kindly awakening and percussive action before hitting us with a bounding melody and droning synth – this is one you may be sad to hear come to an end. There’s positivity on this track which is followed through to “Clever Drunk” which after an initial slow start turns into an all-round more upbeat affair. “The Lazy Pioneers” is a playful number layered on a solemn violin reprise. Chiming notes juxtapose deep bass synth lending to another lifting in emotions – welcome relief from the album’s opening numbers.
The album takes its darkest form in the industrially lathered “Feature Creep”, with Venetian Snares style glitch to start, with plenty of tension at the forefront. This industrial sound remains for “The Best People” which is the most uncomfortable listen on the album with constant distortion making it quite a suffocating experience. This reviewer’s pick of the album is the beautiful “Colorado Recursion” and it’s fair to say it serves as a reward for those who have endured much of the tracks before. Swells of delayed guitars akin to Lowercase Noises coupled with simple drum pad ease instrumentation in and out seamlessly. Album closer and title track “Raintree” plods slowly on a backdrop of more industrialised bedlam, coming full circle back to our starting point with erratic and quirky glitches, and a suffocating calm to finish.
- Lewis Woods