Review by Adam Horswill / @vogonlaundromat
I discovered Bristol’s Tara Clerkin Trio by accident earlier this year when they supported Vanishing Twin at the Cube Microplex. Both bands have a cinematic quality to them and the social enterprise venue & art space was the ideal setting for what was an incredible evening of experimental music.
Bristol has long been known as a city rich in musical experimentalism, cross-pollination and DIY projects. Peeling back the creative layers of ‘the scene’ there can be as frustrating as it is rewarding. No matter what you find there is seemingly always yet another hidden level to discover. It’s like there’s some keeper of arcane knowledge that keeps moving the musical architecture about to keep you off balance. And so it is with Tara Clerkin Trio who have managed to pass under my radar despite playing gigs fairly regularly for a couple of years now.
Over the course of 7 tracks and just under 40 minutes the trio have created a work of real beauty, it’s pretty tweaked though. They’ve completely jettisoned the notion that conforming to traditional song structure is a good idea. Far from being a noise release, they’ve managed to pull off that most elusive of tricks by making something that’s both experimental and a joy to play through repeated times.
There is a kind of tripped out exotica infused lounge jazz feel to the album, for me it’s music to sink into the sofa to and be inert with. If you are feeling particularly energetic you could even rock backward and forwards gently to it, that would work to. There is a tranquility to it even while it has a quality that makes you feel out of phase from reality. I think the vocals really add to this, they are lyrical vignettes that wash in and out of the mix, repeated and repeated gain for good measure. Much use made of loops, echo and studio trickery throughout the album, and the balance and weight to the playing is lovely. There is a real confidence throughout and I wish I’d seen those early gigs to see how they have developed to this point. It’s pure magic from start to finish. I think you should treat yourself to a copy, it’s just been given a second pressing on vinyl and is also available as a download from Bandcamp.
Tara Clerkin’s Noods Radio Show: https://noodsradio.com/residents/tara-clerkin