Crate-Digging: The Twombley Spiders – And the Reused Folkway Whisper

I have a completely-filled 120 GB iPod classic, the record crate of the digital age, containing my entire music library. I’m listening to each release in alphabetical order by record title – kind of a virtual archaeological dig. These are my findings.

(No Type, 2009)

This is both your and my introduction to The Twombley Spiders and the man behind them, Eryk Salvaggio, so I think it’s necessary to get the formalities out of the way. Critical Masses and audience, Eryk Salvaggio. Eryk Salvaggio, Critical Masses and audience. There, now we’re not strangers anymore. We can give each other rides to work, or the coffee shop, or the mall. But is that really enough? Do we trust Eryk? What’s he up to? Well, his music output has been fairly prolific – he’s recorded and released music for the No Type net label since 1999 under various pseudonyms besides The Twombley Spiders, including Matrix Assimilation, Infoslut, Influenza, as well as eponymously. Jeez, right? He’s certainly made a name for himself in the indie IDM world, bathing listeners in warm and inviting soundscapes. Sometimes he collaborates, and sometimes he incorporates vocals. It all seems so effortless. So yeah, I could trust him. I’m totally digging what I’ve heard so far.

And the Reused Folkway Whisper (the two other Twombley Spiders albums I have on my iPod begin The Twombley Spiders and…, suggesting this album’s placement among the A albums is a quirk of file naming conventions) is a remix album (or EP – four of the tracks are between one and two minutes, and two push just past four minutes), although it fits in to the Spiders’ oeuvre with ease, as the pastoral, chiming electrofolk the band specializes in is replicated here with minimal embellishment. “I’m Sorry for What I Said About You (A_dontigny remix)” bleeps into existence in the manner of an orchestra tuning up before a performance, adding appropriately arachnoid robotic skitters (sounding like the quick strumming of a guitar above the bridge) and shimmery keys. The drums kick in with a 4/4 beat, but almost instantly the speed of the recording slows down and they stop. Then the drums kick in again, a little slower, and the track ends. Strange, but a nice start, as if Salvaggio’s warming up your ears to prepare you for every possible permutation of his idiom.

“I Heard You Didn’t Acknowledge You Had a Problem at Your Intervention (Drexon Field remix)” is more skittery goodness above beautiful keyboard drones and a more traditional rhythm, and would give Photophob a run for his money, especially compared with something like About the Living Things. The track essentially is a synthetic delerium tremens reaction to alcohol withdrawal. But much prettier. And speaking of pretty, “The Sun Setting on LaGuardia (The Pandas w/ DJ Siddharthveda remix)” (Siddharthveda – get it? Priceless!) shimmers with nostalgic synthesizers, shuffling rhythms, and programmed harmonica. It sounds exactly like what the view of the airport at dusk would look like on a crisp autumn evening from the hood of your car just off the runway, but in time-lapse photographic surreality. “Dorval Transit (A_dontigny remix)” wakes us up with a loud oscillating ringtone before gurgling into a disoriented morass. It’s another short track. In fact, there are four remixes spread throughout credited to A_dontigny – you’re supposed to be able to listen to them back to back for another possible track. (They’re all very disjointed though, so I’m not sure that the result would be worth the sum – they work best as interludes.)

“A Song for Drunken Flower Throwing (Kalx Lava Swan Remix)” is a nice Four Tet/Photophob stylistic mashup, more metallic and rhythmic than what we’ve heard up to this point. After another brief A_dontigny interlude titled “Shattered Legs” (which is what the track sounds like), we’re treated to “Then They Will Just Have to Break (Plastic Horses remix),” another pastoral folktronica jam in the spirit of Boards of Canada. Delayed and treated guitars ping back and forth in the mix over the low-tempo rhythm and calming synthesizer. Its gorgeousness transitions into the very Books-y “And I Don’t Miss It At All,” the only original un-remixed Twombley Spiders track on the record. Lullabye-like acoustic guitar and minimal tin-pan percussion share time with synth blips, while a sample of a female declares “That’s right,” but the simplicity and childlike nostalgia of the track combine for a rewarding listen. And how could this end but with a final A_dontigny remix? “Exclamation Mark Wrapper” closes with pulsing ambient synths for nearly two minutes, a beautiful (I know, I know, you get it, this record’s beautiful) way to end the album. So I think our introduction is complete – I’m a new fan of Eryk Salvaggio’s, and I can’t wait to get into the rest of his discography. You can too over at No Type – click here to download The Twombley Spiders and the Reused Folkway Whisper.

RIYL: Boards of Canada, Four Tet, The Books, Photophob

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