Tom Tyler: Asleep at the Switch

tyl-aats.jpg (7k) Tom Tyler: Asleep at the Switch
(DC Recordings - 2000)

Tom Tyler can claim to be lazy (see this month's interview) but he won't convince me he's Asleep at the Switch. Tyler shares DC Recordings-head J. Saul Kane's predilection for inserting quirky spoken samples amid swaggering beatfests. These dozen, often jazz-flavored, creations are light in spirit but heavy in a beat-driven groove.

Big streetwise beats pound through a swirling haze and scratching turntables in Undupitably, laced with assorted spoken samples. Acoustic guitar, shimmering electronics, mid-tempo rhythms and overlain hornsounds give Chewin' the chew-z a dreamier pace. Standup bass, brass and lounge piano are a predominant part of the downtempo jazziness of Sadness of man (as are a few wordy samples).

Strutting down a neonlit boulevard of jazz influences, Wonderful wino radio also manages to work samples of an old George Carlin routine and female porn moans into the cool mix. The electronic oscillations of Inner turquoise mood (1:45) waver among drifting strings, plucked harp sounds and pattering taps. Yet another groovy urban sprawl flows from Shatner's bassoon (5:22); agile bass runs meander through an entrancing fog of hovering electronics, 70's-style electric guitar tricks and subtle beats.

Warbling with sci-fi effects, Kilgore trout is pounded by a storm of electrotribal drumming. Then it's back to the smoke-filled jazzlounge as The way to go in n.o swells with tinkling e-piano, trickling guitar, echoing horns and buried words (including a comedy bit I know I've heard, but can't place... about a guy who wants to be cremated so all his friend can smoke him...). A short, beat-free bit of sonic comings-and-goings, Papa Fin is piled high with odd noises though retains a mellow mood thanks to the underlying string and piano drifts.

Another brass, reed and beat mix, Carmel Conclusion is densely stirred and topped with assorted electronic effects and other hip hop seasonings. And so we drift is carried along by swooshing streams of various sources, then propelled by adept drums and molten horns. Closing on the only other beatless piece, The intravenus number swelters in billowing, sparkling soundclouds of unknown origin and a quavering little voice.

Tom Tyler's affinity for tossing spoken word samples into his mix may or may not jibe with your own tastes for such things, but muscially speaking, Asleep at the Switch is a very cool ride through some artistically twisted electro-jazz creations. Some serious grooving is presented in an enjoyably light-hearted 8.7 recording.

Thanks to Arthur at Dutch East India for turning me on to the sounds from DC Recordings.

This review posted May 29, 2000

AmbiEntrance © 2000-1997 by David J Opdyke (except CD cover art, rights retained by original owners).