Painted Girl - Familiar Trees of the North West
Familiar Trees of the North West
May 22, 2022
Hearing jungle and garage-inspired music from the USA is always a strange experience. The spirit or aura surrounding the music can often feel jilted or displaced. But, as interest and acclaim for the style grows, so too do the amount of artists from all over the world that are able to tap into the tremendous energy enshrined in such music that found its start in the UK. Ternion Sound can certainly serve as a testament to this, opting for powerful production and incendiary bass on many of their outings. Exploration EP sees them team up with Manchester/Seattle-based label Manuka Records.
Detuned key samples bleep out an artificial, pulsing tune at the beginning of Exploration 52. The crisp crackling of the hi hats signal to the listener that the incoming track will be explicitly dance-y. Ternion Sound waste no time infusing this garage-inspired introduction with dissonant, mechanical chirps beckoned in by the harrowing howl of a wolf that disappears into the distance. From the very start it feels as the trio from Minneapolis mean to combine quintessential UK beat-making with dark and dubby tinges. The listener is suddenly welted with a solid, monstrous bass tone. As it recoils at an intense speed, the bounce of the high frequency percussion bleeds through the cracks left by the horrific impact. As Ternion Sound drive us forward in the track, they lay out basslines of varying textures and sounds, allowing for the track to grow in depth despite already hitting hard. Those fuzzy kick drums that cut everything out and lead us into the next section have a feeling of villainy about them, like an approaching enemy in Resident Evil. The collage of different bass tones are the focal point here, though the trio provide us with ever-shifting hi hats and snares or spritely melody.
Spiral begins with a rich sample sounding like a beautiful stream running in reverse. This is very quickly chewed and spat out in a lower pitch amidst a growing sonic atmosphere. Voices stutter and rattle as everything droops and melts from its foundation. For a moment or two, the listener is left without the buoy of percussion, adrift in a rich soup of voices and general ambience. But after a while, Ternion Sound appear, a thunderous strike parts the waves of ambient noise, the earth-shaking bass moving with a steady and almost terrifying momentum. The group harbour this tremendous power within them, they hold the higher pitched contents of the song in a tractor beam of heavy bass and steady impacts. A vocal sample shouts into the unstoppable torrent of the bass, splashed against it as it echoes and dissipates almost immediately. In the middle of this chaos, the trio bring back in the beautiful pearl-like sample from the start. They hold it out for us to see, unfazed by the destruction around us.
Find and Kill, despite its fairly scary name starts with a more friendly, futuristic vibe. The muffled sample painting pictures of a rainy cityscape before the listener. A slow exhale ushers in tight percussion, lasers zip by like subway trains in fast-motion. Everything has an almost tranquil feel to it. Until the sounds drop out, that classic jungle granular voice sounds and all hell breaks loose. The futuristic metropolis shatters under the force of another chaotic bass tone. The trio again do an incredible job keeping things interesting after the bass has hit, dropping percussion out, bringing it back in odd, syncopated rhythms. Things get light on their feet at the midway point once again, the sun rising on tower blocks and streets as glassy tones find their way to the top of the mix. But the artists can’t help but let that relentless, dirty low end come searing back through. We dive back into the murky depths of screeching bass and rattling drum samples once again.
Exploration EP catches Ternion Sound delivering some of their best material. There is a real sense of anticipation surrounding the climactic moments, but beyond that, the trio do not let the beat simply play out. They keep things fresh and engaging, despite already having floored the listener with incredibly constructed bass and percussion. Each of the three tracks burn with an incredibly powerful energy.