Brand new LP this week from PJ Dorsey’s Tarotplane brings new shades to the artist’s catalog. While his past outside of the moniker may have seen Dorsey work within the realm of minimal techno, that side doesn’t often find its way into the DNA of Tarotplane. The A-side weaves new sonic structures into his Ash Ra Tempel explorations, letting the austerity of the Raster-Norton set design the interior of the album’s cosmic vessel. Field recordings bump against the measured pulse of electronic burble in manner that’s exacting but not cold — an artificial environment that’s got some moss growing between the cracks of its polished exterior. The tension between the motorik snap and the environment overtaking it builds subtly until it cracks completely on the second side.
The natural world opens wide as PJ hits the second portion of the album — the shift brings sounds that might feel more familiar to Tarotplane travelers. There’s a lushness to “Light Under Water” and the temperature drops quite a few degrees, with the listener submerged into damp chills — humid and haunted. The second side evokes alien landscapes. The manicured craft from the first side crashed into unfamiliar environs that glow and glower — light playing off the shadows in unfamiliar ways. Its not entirely sinister, not entirely inviting. There’s a sense of wonder between the groans of the synths that’s eventually consumed by a homesick ache as the guitars begin to wind their way around the headphones. Horizontology works as a kind of sound journey, and its marking some of Dorsey’s best works yet. Turning the dial of expectations on Tarotplane, but never leaving the cosmos he calls home.
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