stream Titan To Tachyons’ debut LP ft. Mr. Bungle’s Trevor Dunn & read a track-by-track breakdown
Titan to Tachyons is a new-ish NYC trio featuring some familiar faces from the avant-garde rock scene: Sally Gates (ex-Orbweaver, ex-Gigan), Kenny Grohowski (Secret Chiefs 3, Imperial Triumphant, Brand X), and Matt Hollenberg (Cleric, John Zorn). They made their live debut locally last year, and then they hit the studio to make their first album, Cactides, which was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Colin Marston (of Krallice, Dysrhythmia, Behold... The Arctopus, Gorguts, and more), and which features Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Fantômas, Secret Chiefs 3) on the closing track "Everybody’s Dead, Dave."
If you're into the out-there sounds of Secret Chiefs 3, John Zorn, and other related stuff in this realm, you may wanna check out this album too. We're premiering a full stream of it, and Sally Gates also spoke to us in-depth about each individual track. The album -- which Decibel already gave an 8 -- is out August 14 via Nefarious Industries, but you can listen to the whole thing now right here, and read on for what Sally had to say...
As a largely visually influenced person, I wanted to translate ideas of unsettling and seemingly abstract surrealities, particularly based on the likes of Lynch and Kubrick, into musical themes and textures. 'Morphing Machineminds' in particular paints an image of Lynch-esque illusions of backwards movement, tied to the idea of a sentient machine malfunctioning and interspersing itself within smoother, almost comical passages.
The writing process for this track traversed three cities in two different countries. After beginning in New Zealand, a lot of these parts were written during the tension and claustrophobia of awaiting hurricanes in Miami. Everything came together after relocating to New York, where I was extremely fortunate to join forces with Matt Hollenberg and Kenny Grohowski.
"The Starthinker is Obsolete"
I originally pieced this track together in Miami with Davin Sosa (Shroud Eater) on drums. He very patiently worked through the intricate arrangement with me, and added some Latin flavours to the riffs. We recorded a demo of the tune together, right as I was preparing to make the move to NYC. Within weeks of arriving, I was offered my first gig, and quickly recruited Kenny and Trevor Dunn to join me. They learnt 'The Starthinker..' from the demo recording, and we performed it live for the first time at the show.
Douglas Adams and Lewis Carroll inspired the bulk of the visualisation for this one.
On New Year's Day, 2018, I forced myself to work through a hangover, which paid off, as I ended up writing three of the main riffs that became 'Tycho Magnetic'. I wanted to explore rhythms and melodies that vaulted over Baltic territory, and also approached the solo with the characteristics and phrasing of a violin in mind. The intro came together while drinking entirely too much coffee and finding dissonant tones with open strings on a classical guitar outdoors in Miami.
"Earth, and Squidless"
'Earth, and Squidless' is a little different to the other tracks on the record. Written shortly before entering the studio, it had the most full band involvement to complete it. Diving a little further into improvisation as a composition tool, it expands upon a more minimal set of ideas. Thematically, it explores experiencing uncertain, illusory perceptions of reality, and trying to distinguish between alternate timelines. Musically, this translated into creating vast hypnotic space, with cyclical ostinatos throughout, juxtaposed with driving, upbeat riffs.
"Everybody's Dead, Dave"
Taking inspiration from various Red Dwarf and Doctor Who storylines, this improvisational piece is the most musically abstract on the album, but has the strongest narrative, which forms the structure. An astronaut awakens out of stasis to find his space colony deserted, which is revealed to be under attack, and eventually overrun in a mixture of chaos and delirium. The final section portrays claustrophobic regret, and eventual acceptance as the dome explodes, and he is sucked out into space.
EBDD was performed together for the first time in the studio, with the addition of Trevor Dunn on bass. I explained the general vibe and narrative of each section to the band, to use as a guide for improvising, then we agreed upon cues to signal transitions. Recording this was one of the most enjoyable musical experiences I've had, and it was an honour to direct such accomplished musicians through the piece.
Pre-order Cactides here.