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To review a Tengushee album is to dive headfirst into the rabbit hole that is The Endless Chronicles, the multimedia extravaganza unfolding across too many platforms to mention, in real time. So instead of doing an in-depth analysis – which I couldn’t do anyway so never mind – I’m going to just hit play on Witness on Bandcamp and freestyle on a piece of virtual A4. Whatever happens is what was going to happen anyway. Or not. I have been reading Gravity’s Rainbow lately, that may or may not play into how and where this will lead.
I know this one, I’ve played it on my radio show. It slays. It’s also one of Tengushee’s personal favourites. Beck had a song called Paper Tiger on the last even semi-good album he’s released, Sea Change. I think he toured with The Flaming Lips as his backing band. He could have used some drum n’ bass on his boring latter-day albums.
I’ve played this one on my show as well. What is this? Maybe the album’s running order shifts according to each listener’s previous personal experience? I wouldn’t put it past him. Or maybe it’s just synchronicity. That was not a bad Police album. Stunningly awful side A though, the title track notwithstanding. What were they thinking? Ah, some suitably satanic backwards sounds. I like the keyboard line starting at around 2:45 or thereabouts. Hypnotic stuff.
What the hell? I think I’ve played this one too. Maybe I’m imagining it. Drum n’ bass, a keyboard hook so insistent you’ll be humming it in your sleep. Earphones are a must for this stuff, but I do admit I’d love to blast this stuff through massive speakers whenever the upstairs neighbour cranks up their out of tune piano to stagger through Brother Can You Spare a Dime once more.
This one I haven’t heard before, but I do remember the collab with La E. The bass drone is nasty, I really do need to get those speakers. Cool, eastern sounding violin style sounds. The bass drone is like a telephone ringing in your sleep, and you just know the news isn’t going to be good. I decided to do this review because I read John Warwick’s review of a DG Adams album, by the way, so not a terribly original idea, I must admit. DG Adams is great, I like the song Fucker.
I’m guessing Gene Simmons won’t be a making a guest appearance. Lovely guitar arpeggio. Almost like something from a Depeche Mode album from when they were still good and would hire producers who – apparently – had the balls to tell them when their ideas sucked. I guess one of the good things about merely being an Indie Legend like Tengushee is you don’t have an army of sycophants telling you everything you do is awesome dude! But what do I know?
What’s this then? Lord of the Rings inspired black metal? Ah, not quite, but the two-chord alternating pattern is totally black metal. Great ambience, more backwards sounds so perhaps a Hail Satan! is in order. A bit of an old school Doom soundtrack vibe, you know, 8-bit metal. Not that I ever heard it when I played Doom back in nineteen ninety whatever, our computer didn’t have a sound card in it. So, I had to blast through all the cool FPSs without sound. But apparently some version of Doom had like Them Bones by Alice In Chains on it. I could be wrong. I saw AIC for the first time just before Covid hit. Great show, but the band at times did their best to not make it so. Tempos were so slow. This song would have scared the bejeezus out of me ten years ago, but I guess I’m too jaded now. Great ending. Didn’t expect that!
Another cool arpeggio. Now who might be the singer here? Should I check? Yes, I should. Well, it doesn’t say on Bandcamp so I’m guessing it’s a sample. Whatever it is, it works. The bass sounds bone dry and dirty, as it should. The chord changes are borderline poppy, no bad thing, but then the distorted guitar just obliterates. Something.
What is this, then? A Rob Zombie cover judging by the title. Would fit with Tengushee’s hat. But no, it’s mellow with ambient rain sound in the background. It’s drenched in dark atmospheric sounds, very cinematic. I’ve listened to some of his live mixes, and this has a similar vibe maybe, like it was really happening right when it was being recorded. Make sense? Of course, it doesn’t. Or maybe it does. But now that I imagined this being performed live, I can’t un-imagine it. Thunder! A segue to Raining Blood perhaps.
Well, not quite. Some more hypnotic rhythms, the stark simplicity of the track is underscored by the super punchy drums. Ah, now the ambient sounds start creeping into the mix. And now they’re gone. Or maybe someone’s hoovering next door? Oh well, as long they stay away from the piano.
Nice, massive piano chords! Again, slightly reminiscent of Depeche Mode for some reason. Well, the obvious reason, really. DM is about the only electronic artist I’ve really listened to before late 2019 so my references often default to them. Which is a bit sad. This feels like an interlude, or maybe a prelude? The album is a collection of music from a longer period, at least I think so. I should have read the liner notes again. Ok, I did. This collection was curated by Melodywhore. Correct me if I’m wrong. Or don’t. Anyway, it was supposed to be a Top 10 but turned into 20.
Bith? Like those creatures in the original Star Wars? Or a typo? I choose it believe the former. I forget what they looked like though. Anyway, this is my favourite song on the album so far. I enjoy simplicity but I enjoy songs where a lot happens even more. Those weird synth stabs are killer! Lots of melodically interesting things happening here. This would be awesome as the soundtrack to the weirdest martial arts movie ever. Where lots of fights start but not a single hit or kick ever lands.
I love broken synth sounds. The beat is scary, interesting mix, the left/right panning on the weird toms is marvellous. I’m halfway through, something terrifying is coming, I’m sure of it. No, as always, the most terrifying this is waiting for something terrifying to happen, regardless of whether it does.
More mellow fare here. Nice chord sequence. Some crazy trap hi-hat stuff going on. And the beat arrives to hit you square in the face. I think not being surprised by Tengushee’s music would be the most surprising thing that could happen while listening to this album. The next most surprising thing would be to claim the previous sentence was coherent.
Well, where else? This is just magnificently weird. I’ve heard of Battle Metal, but this must be a very specific sub-genre: Battle Themed Electronic Music with Erotic Undertones. Or overtones. What’s the difference between them anyway? Don’t answer that. Or any of the questions in this review, it’s all strictly rhetorical. But getting back to the song, it’s one of my favourites on the album, no question. The beat is infectious as hell, and the synth lead rips!
Not a happy song then. But nice contrast to the more bombastic style of Sex on the Battlefield. More laid back rhythmically, but typically quirky and odd otherwise. What was I thinking when I decided to write this review? That it would be easy? That anyone would ever read it? Well, 15 songs in, no turning back now. I like this song though, it hits the spot, I like melancholic music, and this is quite reflective stuff by Tengushee’s often rather abrasive standards.
I have definitely played this song on the show! I love it, from the intro theme to the very end. Again, it’s on the mellower side of the material on this album but listening to it again after not hearing it for months I’m struck by how gorgeous this song is. I am also reminded why I liked it in the first place. I like the fox motif too, for obvious reasons. If you only listen to one song in this album, make it The Fox Chases the Moon.
Ah, we’re back to dark beats and moody basslines. No wait, the arpeggio is like some sunlight peeking through. Very interesting, straddling the line between sad and happy, light and dark, pick your metaphor. Lovely song.
The spooky whisperer is back. Cool intro riff, not sure where this is going. Keep waiting for the beat to appear as the piano riff plays. Another curveball, the expected super tight kick & snare combo does not appear, instead this is a looser affair. I like the vocal hook; the distorted guitar sounds like midi but that might be on purpose and it fits the song perfectly.
Well, that took a sharp turn. Just when you start to get into the intro synth part, the beat hits you. Nice flutes, mellotron maybe? I like mellotron. It’s simultaneously a throwback to the ’60s and ’70s and somewhat overused by certain modern prog artists <cough> StevenWilsonAndOpeth <cough> but it does have a unique sound and I like using myself. This song is kind of disjointed, but it still hangs together well. The piano parts are lovely, some classic chord changes.
This is the last song. This IS the last song? Yes, and it features an artist called Bhaal Spawn, adding a somewhat demonic twist. It brings the album to a close in fine style. Well, not really. In The Endless Chronicles nothing ever really ends does it? That would be a contradiction in terms. Besides the Bandcamp links contained in the text, I’m not going to link you to a Tengushee website or anyplace for that matter. He’s around, go look for him yourself.
Written by: Jay
These Thrilling Lies