(Orange Milk, 2017)
Where does this even come from? I ask you, readers, listeners, to weigh in on the subject, because if you’re one of the lucky few to have copped a Sharp Time LP, you know what I’m talking about. Tristan Whitehill, longtime Orange Milk collaborator (both visually and aurally) and the self-styled “Gainesville Gator Slayer” (that’s not true) has a brand new opus out on the label that I lovingly refer to as “The Milk” (I don’t), but the bar, ladies and gentlemen, has been raised. Maybe it’s the wax talking – this is, after all, the first Euglossine LP pressed to the proper LP format of vinyl – but Whitehill has called all y’all out right here. Sharp Time is gonna make a lot of people look real stupid. But in, like, a good way.
Like a miniature Andrew Jackson riding a honeybee on his way to conquer some unimportant Japanese suburb, Whitehill has mastered the arsenal at his disposal. Often plugging synthesizers and other keyboardy ephemera directly into the space-time continuum and supplementing that with otherworldly jazz guitar, Euglossine casts a wide stylistic net over a pastel pixel landscape and hauls in a remarkable amount of elements to mold and arrange in his own imagination. Nothing stays still for long – there are too many notes, too much texture to explore to remain in stasis, to focus on one thing for any great length of time. Even the fourteen minutes of “Phenomenological Manifold” shift and blossom, retract and evolve so frequently that the suite seems like a flawless combination of disparate tracks – its own internal medley, if you will.
If Sharp Time is the blender, then it’s filled with ingredients like New Age and Muzak pumped with steroids, and electronic and kosmische and fusion and, like, bananas and spinach and honey, all of which soundtrack a nature documentary where the only sound is the music Euglossine makes, and it’s constant, and it’s magnificent. And it’s totally frappé’d first, because all of these things together – warped, mangled, manipulated, and repurposed into a new concoction – sound (taste?) best when poured over a VCR and run through a laptop. You won’t know whether to put it in your ears or your mouth, seriously, such is the overwhelming sensory goodness. From start to finish, Sharp Time is an auditory cocktail of great detail and consideration, and it’s a deft reminder that music can and should probably be the food that sustains you forever, such is the nutritional framework of compositions like Tristan Whitehill’s.