If you’re familiar with the work of Mark Templeton, you’ll know he likes to miniaturise and extemporise a context on top. In terms of musical chops, he chooses sounds that fit the rustic ambient palette, and uses contextual signposts to impression something deeper out of the material. This is what academics mean by extemporising, as far as this layman knows – what I do know is that “Distorted Tourist”, a fifteen-minute travelogue into the realms of Herzogian theoretics, is a mighty fine artefact to have, here presented as a book stroke disc operation, and without all the philosophical asides, stands without inebriation.
On its own steam the music could dissolve into the aether too quickly, but this is Templeton’s knack: he manages to surfeit the purpose of a worthy riff to continue and bubble-build throughout each recording, so that by the end of each phase, we’re left with a general happiness about how things have been going, hearing, et cetera and so on. The music is impossible to pin down to a certain few elements, always evolving without nascent unease, and always purposeful. This is the key strength of the release, whereas other producers might leave less brush daubs on the material, and let the potential decelerate into an arcadian decay.
Stylistically Templeton has always been in the same sort of cache as modern composition composers, such as Deaf Center and James Leyland Kirby (The Caretaker). But there’s greater urgency to his work than those artists and a revolvent absorbancy on the factors that can make musique concrete so delectable (see Michael Chion, Trevor Wishart, etc). The fact that over the course of five tracks so much is communicated – without the rusticness becoming chokingly soft – this is the compositional genius. I genuinely think this EP, call it that if you must, deserves to be heard by everyone, and if you were a fan of 2008’s “Standing On A Hummingbird” LP. Likewise, it’s a superb little nugget.