This is a truly standout release that shows Tidal, the performing name of musician Jimmy Billingham, to be not only talented, but extremely gifted. Here Billingham makes a hallmark of the drone form he has taken on as his muse, and also transcends it through his own particularly crystallized expression of emotion.
The main musical qualities which Billingham uses to accomplish the whole effect of this tape are repetition, timbre, and note progressions. Most people familiar with Tidal’s other work will immediately recognize his wavering, pulsating use of synth and eerie washes of manipulated found recordings.
Here that quality is used to great ability, with Billingham achieving the confluence of both emotion and experimentation that defines Richard D. James’s best work. Several of the tracks here would not have been out of place, in fact, on the “Selected Ambient Works II” album by James.
I would strongly recommend this tape to not only fans of drone, but to any person who is seriously interested in the use of music as an honest form of art. Such works are necessary right now: when enormous frauds like Miranda July, Jonathan Safran Foer, Damien Hirst, and other so-called “artists” stalk the land like beasts, ruining careers and syphoning money from everyone in their path, turning to honest creative work for solace is more important than ever.
There is no longer any value in the establishment (although there are a few honest women and men who do manage to work within it, and although it has had principles of value at various times in history), and thank god there are gifted gentlewomen and gentlemen like Billingham who work outside of it.