♫♪  Tanner Garza - There’s More To Life Than This

A tattered canvas sign hangs on two poles out there in a small patch of grass between two warehouses in a Houston industrial corridor. “Come One, Come All: See Tanner Garza, The Prestidigitator, Demonstrate His Stunning Feats of Patience.” No exclamation point. Stop by at any point during the day and you’ll catch Garza engaged in a war of attrition with the natural world. He looks down at the yellowed grass and he watches it fade. His eyes follow one cloud for as long as possible. He places his hand on a metal ballast and withdraws it days later to see the rusted print left by the condensation of his sweat. Without spectators, he wins each of these battles.

There’s More To Life Than This, Garza’s new tape on Bridgetown Records, presents five tape-loop based exercises in restraint and ambient stasis. On a moment to moment basis, the guitar and synth phrases he distills into his layered mixes murmur with hi-fi textural detail. Artifacts of his magnetic tape surgery click softly into the space where one end of the ribbon comes back to meet the other, as reminders of the physical process that built this music. Step a few paces back and survey each track from a distance. If you wonder whether anything else is going to arrive, whether the onset of a new voice will shatter the atmosphere, whether a track will drift into a space different than its origin, I ask: do these things need to happen? Does anything need to happen?

There’s a moment in Björk’s “There’s More To Life Than This” when our heroine, demanding an escape from the overbearing club zone, slips into a chamber adjacent to the dancefloor (the back room? the bathroom?). The party is getting boring. The track’s thick kicks and bouncing bassline mute into a muffled specter of a beat for a few measures. We imagine miss Guðmundsdóttir alone and at peace. We realize that the titular “this” she seeks to escape is, in fact, activity, and that the “more” could actually be nothingness. In that near-silent moment, we better discern her voice’s sublime acrobatics. We find ourselves wanting more of this absence.

• Tanner Garza: http://tannergarza.bandcamp.com
• Bridgetown Records: http://www.bridgetownrecords.info

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

Most Read