TV2 by Transient Visitor is the second long-distance collaboration between Alex Cargill, AKA The Central Office of Information, and Martin Jensen of The Home Current, and it’s not often you get to type their respective locations of Sidcup and Luxembourg in the same sentence. But it’s safe to say that this melding of electronic minds is unencumbered by their physical distance.
Alex says of the project: “It was fast and furious with files being pinged between Luxembourg and Sidcup every day or two. One of us would start a track from scratch, send it to the other and see what they could add to it. We tried not to overthink it too much and this made it a lot of fun to create. Production-wise it was predominantly a digital affair with occasional analog synth. The lovely, melodic parts are primarily Martin, the ‘dirt’ was mainly done at my end.”
That lack of over-thinking, and the reactive nature of working in this way, was definitely an asset, allowing a looseness to be present in the flavour of the tracks; and there are times when you could be forgiven for thinking it is a live club set.
It opens with ‘Cobra Movements’ which, like much of the album, delivers the kind of electronic crystalline clarity that Kraftwerk excelled at, and in the hands of Cargill and Jensen the clean-room precision has been hosed down with chiming bells, electro-funk beats wielding scalpels, and scuffed up sounds. There’s the edgy thrum and propulsive beats of ‘The Ego Has Landed’, which seems powered by an angry tuba, and ‘Soaked Paradise’ which swells like it’s threatening to burst out into a big band swing number. ‘The Wiring Under The Board’ provides a brief respite from the big beats by evoking a little rain forest of spiralling birds and ground dwelling animals going about their business. ‘The Steinfort Stomp’ (Steinfort is a commune in western Luxembourg) feels like the tension before the big car chase in a film, and ‘Oscillations’ is a steel drum fired into outer space, and ‘I Know I’m Going Crazy I Must Not Be Insane’ is a hang glider riding thermals over a neon city at night. The closing track is the sparse arpeggio of ‘Falcon Funk’ that could accompany footage of a grimy Berlin in the 1970s.
Martin Jenson says that “what TV was meant to be about from the beginning: to compose immediate, catchy and not too overthought electronic music that nods to the golden age of rave/breakbeat/hip hop” and I found that TV2 could easily have fitted into my 90s love of dance, trip-hop and early rap acts like early Groove Armada (Northern Star is over 15 years old now), Rae & Christian or Thievery Corporation. TV2 is no nostalgia-party; its inspiration may come from that golden age, but it feels fresh and alive and I would love to hear a TV2.2 where all the tracks are reimagined by current rap artists.
Their first album, TV1, is also available via Bandcamp here
Review by Paul F Cook