Feb 25, 2016, 10:11AM

The Grayest Lady

52 Weeks of Elizabeth Veldon, Week 8: “Can You Do The Foxtrot (October 1915)” (11/8/13). 

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Glen Tanar is an album so slight that, at moments, it doesn’t appear to properly exist. If the volume is down on your computer, it won’t exist. Tonally, the color is a pale, pale gray: synthesizer drones draping the countryside like soot-peppered snow drifts. Earlier this week, I spent an evening wading into Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves with Glen Tanar playing on repeat in the otherwise silent apartment house—my neighbors are that boring, which is like the pot calling the kettle black—and was startled to discover how much competition music this still and quiet has: a dripping toilet, a throbbing refrigerator, the traffic out front.

Headphones are a must. For its part, “Can You Do The Foxtrot (October 1915)” is pure sub-dermal hum, an intersection of the thermal (that generative throb!) and frigid (the muted volume emphasizing the void beyond said throb). Implicitly it’s present, but figuratively it isn’t present. Anyone who has dedicated time and patience to this sort of music knows that most drone is rubbish: lazy, unimaginative, forgettable. What I appreciate about “Foxtrot” is that it seizes upon a particular anti-melodicism, and then very methodically massages it into something mesmerizing. A low whorl increases almost imperceptibly in volume, over and over again, nudging the dbs up very, very gradually; this has the effect of denying the audience any chance to tune out, while reeling us into trance-like sort of stasis.


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