George Korein and the Spleen - The Touch Tendril

5 songs
20:15 minutes
***** ***

Some musicians have just been made to thrive artistically during the coronavirus lockdown, as their preferred method of recording is within their own four walls, and not being able to go places made them even create more music. The Touch Tendril comes two months after George Korein’s last endeavour, and is already his third output this year. At five songs and twenty minutes, he considers it a one-sided LP, but you might as well take it as an EP, and like always, at a pay-what-you-want price on Bandcamp.

A lot of guests have been invited once again, most notably his pal Colin Marston from Infidel?/Castro! times. Since then, Marston has made quite a name for himself, but still seems to like to fiddle around with Korein on his (even) more experimental music. The Touch Tendril begins with its title track, a rather subdued track with lots of clicking and clacking, bass and keyboard parts from Marston, and of course Korein’s signature odd vocals. This is experimental music, mind you, but its quite ambient nature make it a relaxed listening experience. On the following No Clipping, Korein uses ambient soundscapes from Marston and skilfully turns them into a surreal ambient song. Even more minimalist than the opener, it still manages to sound suspenseful as you never know what will happen next. The third track, Terrariums In Mind, is the record’s quasi hit single, or at least it’s the track the artist suggests to be played on the radio, provided you find a station adventurous enough. At a little over three minutes, it’s not exactly a long song, and still contains so many parts that other artists would use for an entire album. The beginning has a meditative, even esoteric feeling, then rhythm joins the song, and the vocals are courtesy of Alex Vallejo, whose great performance made me think of Time Of Orchids, or if you are not familiar with them, try imagining Radiohead by the way of Eighties King Crimson. The guitar work of DM Hotep of the Sun Ra Arkestra is sublime as well on this piece. The Eden Of Garden features yet another guest singer. This time it jazz vocalist Michelle Lordi whose sultry voice makes this hypnotic, meditative piece quite alluring, although at seven minutes, the song overstays its welcome for a little bit. The concluding 2020 Spring Mix is an ironic view at the early stages of the lockdown, displaying George Korein from his more humorous side.

The EP is a sensible format for artists who like to release music every few months. It’s more expansive than the single format, and in less risk of becoming boring like the full length longplayer. George Korein once again shows that his frequent releases are still essential listening for fans of experimental pop music. If you like the Residents, you should check out the generous catalogue of George Korein’s manifold output.

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