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Tarquin Manek Tarquin Magnet Blackest Ever Black

Originating from Australia but currently stationed in Berlin, recent years have seen Tarquin Manek rifle through DIY junkyard marginalia (Fingers Pty Ltd’s compelling scrawl Broken Fingers), dire swampland dub (Tarcar’s Mince Glace) and frayed dead-end somnolence as a member of F ingers. With Hide Before Dinner, the first release under the F ingers guise, Manek and his conspirators assuaged those previous instincts for dishevelment and density and turned them into bewitching, heavily blurred nocturnes.

As opposed to those collaborative efforts, Tarquin Magnet is Manek’s most significant solo release yet, revealing individual indulgencies which centre on an open-ended suite of strident clarinet soloing and claustrophobic wormhole FX. In some ways, he remains true to the notions which inform his work with Blackest Ever Black label cohorts and Melbourne associates Carna Del Forno and Sam Karnel. But in place of the soused silhouettes of those collaborations, the focus here is purely on Manek’s free moving instrumentation. At times the effect is staggering, the music mimicking a delirious kind of fatal tailspin on Sassafras Gesundheit, whilst remaining furtive and ominous on Blackest Frypan, which bookends the record with tainted kosmische disorientation punctuated by sampled yells. At times it sounds like a capsized form of jazz, its usual class and formalism substituted for ruin. At others it proves more meandering than alluring with the inconsequential tape defects of Perfect Scorn losing their way in a wasted maze of clanging contortions.

It’s not an affair which matches the heady dereliction of F ingers, but there’s an indisputable potency to the atmospheres conjured which suggests the notion of something special being carved out by Manek and his collaborators. Ultimately, Tarquin Magnet is a mini odyssey of eerie underworlds and mistreated electronics, and another auspicious notch in BEB’s canon.