toneclusterfuck is a 2009 ambient album by Brooklyn-based experimental electronic musician Max Alper (if you’ve seen The Pluto Moons at one of our events, that’s how you know him!). He asked me to take a peek at his impressively extensive archive of ambient compositions, and I decided to show toneclusterfuck to you, dear reader. I entrust these sounds to you with the utmost care. Feel free to stream the individual tracks I’ve linked or hop on down to the bottom of the review to stream the whole playlist. Enjoy.
The album begins with an artfully layered two-minute vocal composition (“boitoisk8destroi”) which sounds something like an upbeat and hopeful film soundtrack (nonspecific setting, this track could really be used in a lot of contexts). The climax at the end entails a deepening of vocal resonance and intensity, and it’s incredibly pleasant and tasteful. “Treefaces” is a quick minute-long jingling number which isn’t too standout, but I wanted to link to it specifically because it’s minimal yet vibrant and that’s one of my favorite vibes. The momentary throat singing in “Dero” (a longer, more traditional vocal-based number) is a little strained but the effort is appreciated
“Couldhavekilledbees” sounds like a precursor to all of the dream-pop which flooded the ears of listeners between 2011-2014, a mellow and spacey number that relies on a short vocal loop and chunky keys. The simplicity on this album really gets me in the best of ways. Did I mention I love minimalism and drones?!
There are a bunch of really heart-warming, upbeat, quiet instrumental interludes clearly named after imagined mentalities (“math class,” “youareadog”) interspersed throughout this album. This one in particular is plucky and bright and hopeful, which makes me think that there’s a very specific set of adjectives I keep coming back to for this album. Come to think of it, I don’t think of this album as a “clusterfuck” at all, though it is very tonal. It’s much more pleasant than a clusterfuck. The last track I’ll link for you individually is “stampsagain,” an anthem-esque piano melody-driven number that moves at a deliberately slow and delicate pace. All in all, toneclusterfuck is a super super tasty sampler of what Max Alper’s music has to offer – if you’ve got the time, listen to the whole thing and more!
Keep up with Max Alper on facebook and stream many, many more of his albums on soundcloud. Also, don’t forget that you can come see him perform with The Pluto Moons on December 3 at Palisades!