You're walking alone down an alien cityscape surrounded by familiar, yet vaguely threatening sounds -- the far-off wail of an ambulance siren, the hollow echo of a passing subway train rising up from an iron grate, the hiss of dirty steam coming from a rusted pipe, and the sudden tap-tap-tap of unseen shoes. Is it a lover, a mugger, a cop, a crack dealer, a harmless muttering homeless drunk? Such are the images conjured by the shadowy, purposefully anonymous electronica collective known as Teargas & Plateglass.
The music it makes on its self-titled debut fits loosely into the industrial/illbient genre, and it's full of unexpected twists and turns: the hint of a surf guitar drowning in a sea of sludge here, a martial drum and bass rhythm morphing into a classically flavored requiem played by a symphony orchestra there. There are a couple of conventional tracks -- a remix of Natacha Atlas's "Adam Lullaby" to name one -- but the album's strength is its unpredictable juxtapositions of rhythm, noise, and melody.
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You wouldn't want to put this CD on while doing yoga or as background music at a housewarming party (unless you live in that dilapidated Victorian on the edge of the cemetery). But the next time you're ready to plunge into the darker side of your imagination, Teargas & Plateglass will be there waiting for you in the dark, ready to extend a skeletal helping hand.