Terrestrial Tones is the home recording side project of Dave Portner (aka Avery Tare) of Animal Collective and Eric Copeland of Black Dice. Over the course of the past couple years, the already-prolific roommate duo have put out several releases of roughly assembled, semi-abrasive tape and electronic loop experiments that call to mind a murky world of cheap, broken instruments and overloaded circuits. Dead Drunk finds the two right back at it, with seven tracks of noisy lo-fi antics clocking in at just over thirty minutes.
From reading this site, it's pretty clear that I'm a big fan of the Animal Collective, and while I've never gotten into Black Dice too much, I can appreciate some of their work. That said, Terrestrial Tones is one of those groups that always seems to keep me at an arms length. "Car Fumes" opens the disc and the title is actually a pretty decent approximation of the sound as wheezing, blistered noise loops wail and squeal in the background while chipmunk-filtered vocals mutter incomprehensibly over it all.
"The Sailor" follows, and takes a slightly less abrasive loop, building slowly before a warbling electronic loop mingles with some hollow percussive noises and pinched vocals sing over it all in an almost playful way. Given the layer of grit over everything, it's hardly poppy, but it's a bit of a different direction for the group, even in comparison to the rest of the album. Speaking of which, the duo pretty much gets back into looped lo-fi experiments from there on out, and the results are mixed at best. "Plow Man" layers a couple of metallic, industrial-style loops over one another as some tribal-style chanting adds a touch of a human feel while "Magic Trick" is all helium-balloon vocal weirdness that doesn't really go much of anywhere.
Hearing albums like Dead Drunk make me both appreciate and think twice about just how easy it is to put out albums in this time and age. A decade ago, a side project such as this would have still existed as a mixtape, a CDR, or even pared down to a 7" or something, but here and now it arrives in a nice digipack with all the rough edges exposed. For fans who are obsessed with seeking out everything Animal Collective, Black Dice, and experimental noise related, it's a fine bet, but for others this is going to rub the wrong way, which I suppose is part of the point.