Alexander Tucker
Guild of the Asbestos Weaver

(Thrill Jockey)


Sometimes there’s virtue in extending simple songs beyond their natural lengths, pushing past the is-this-boring-yet phase and into a space where the music starts to feel part of the air. When it works, you become wonderfully engulfed in sound. When it doesn’t, however, it’s just a bit of a drag. Alexander Tucker must know this: on his eighth album, each of the five songs expand with almost boundaryless zeal, looping and echoing in the hope of achieving existence loftier than just a song. That only about half of them genuinely manage to do so proves how difficult that trick is, but that’s not to say that the other half are duds. Indeed, the chanted vocals of ‘Energy Alphas’ lend it a pagan outsider appeal that nearly compensates for the track idling in second gear throughout. Equally, the strings on ‘Artificial Origin’ are gorgeously scabrous, but after three of its nine minutes it’s difficult not to wonder where the song’s going. The answer, revealed six minutes later, is nowhere in particular.

Thankfully, though, when Tucker finds his feet, the effect is transfixing. ‘Precog’ mutates from abstraction to groove imperceptibly and seductively, and the only complaint against stand-out ten-minuter ‘Cryonic’, perfectly ramping up tension with its nagging, gnawing strings and massed choirs, is that it’s not long enough. It closes the album on a paradoxical note that feels emblematic of Guild… as a whole: a short album that feels over-long, with its longest songs tantalisingly brief, making for an enigma wrapped in a timewarp. 

Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines

As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.

Having thought about the best way to support our running costs (the printing and distribution fees, the podcast and production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for works out at £3 per month for UK subscribers, charged yearly.

If that seems like a bit of a punt, you can pay-as-you-go for £4 per month and cancel any time you like. European and world plans are available too, at the lowest rate we can afford.

It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.