Analog Tara-Fundamentals EP: Album Review

I’d find it hard to overstate Tara Rodgers’ impact on electronic music.  Once a website and now a book, her project Pink Noise has expertly cataloged the work and presence of women in electronic music ranging from the academics like Maggi Payne and Pauline Oliveros to indie-cred folk like Le Tigre.  In terms of her own work, I think it’s fair to say that Maggi Payne’s obsession with sound in a massive sense has had the biggest impact–in Payne’s interview she speaks about hours spent recording pipes in an empty building, late into the evening, her favorite part of the music making process.  The specific moniker Analog Tara is rather specifically a techno outfit, but Rodgers has consistently drawn from field recordings, classical composition, and her jazz piano roots throughout her career.

Rodgers is skilled at keeping her project tight in terms of vision, however.  Although relatively ambitious, her 2007 album Ocean State mixed an improvisational jazz feel with the textures of sound art, not a sound out of place.

On this EP, the music is breezy yet detailed, true to form yet unique.  An unsuspecting bass line opens with raucous kick drums following closely, but Rodger’s snare pattern is consistently dynamic, matched with expertly placed stabs of shimmer late in the game.  “Pulse and Light” remains effortlessly light on its feet with it’s broken drum pattern, and “Propulsion” fleshes out a bouncy synth pattern before covering it in washes as the track pulses forward.  Closer “Density and Surface” is perhaps the most adventurous, beginning only with a shiny high drone, before delving in and out of wide open space and big, thobbing material.  The “student of the game” feel to Rodgers’ music is always present, but she also never fails to make it sound effortless and fun.

-Donovan Burtan

7.5/10

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