The Bureau Of Atomic Tourism – Eden

Posted: 4 December 2019 in Albums
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Rat Records/Werkplaats Walter – 29th November 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

All these artists that have seemingly well-established cult fanbases… How do people discover them? Where do they hide out? It would seem that sextet The Bureau Of Atomic Tourism are ‘a considerable force in avant-garde jazz’, and while I’m not exactly 100% on the pulse when it comes to the genre, I do have numerous inroads into the musical milieu. But in a well-populated but spacious and divergent field, it’s perhaps not entirely shocking that The Bureau Of Atomic Tourism have slipped under my radar, especially considering the fact that their last long-player, Hapax Legomena, was four years ago.

If the title suggests a yearning for a return to innocence, the album’s fourteen compositions suggest otherwise, and the chaotic ruckus that heralds the album’s arrival in a discordant blast of horns, wandering bass and arrhythmic drumming lands like a series of slaps around the face.

The forms and structures are loose, to say the least, and it definitely requires a certain kind of musical attenuation to appreciate and enjoy pieces that sound like half a dozen people playing half a dozen tunes in different rooms simultaneously.

‘Two Part Oven in Thin Eleven’ is as abstract in its noise as in its naming, while ‘Passed Present’ is a tempestuous aural affray, a blitzkrieg of toots and trills that assault the cerebellum, and so no with no mercy.

‘Search End When Sharing Starts’ is something of an anomaly, straying into atmospheric post-rock territory with a solid and focussed rhythm section holding it all together with real proficiency. Elsewhere, ‘Video Interlude’ has an almost funk-inspired groove and it roll and strolls comfortably. It’s a contrast to the bulk of the album, which is discordant, disjointed, jarring and decidedly groove free, to the point of being disorientating, difficult, and decidedly messy.

In technical terms, Eden is remarkable, a wild blossoming of ideas. But it’s also an untamed sonic tangle of interweaving twines, matted into a sonic thicket that twists and spreads in all directions.



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