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by Tsaik
Released25 Mar 2016
LabelLost Tribe Records

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Tsaik (pronounced “saik”) is an electronic music duo from Chicago, USA. Jacob McArthur and Joshua Ruffolo have been on a mission to bring together unconventional organic and digital soundscapes, in order to create their debut album for Lost Tribe. Lemon is an intricately detailed body of work that fully explores textures of melody, rhythm and composition. Spanning waves of calm ambience to manic noise-scapes, beautiful melodies to raw dissonance with everything in between, Lemon is a truly enigmatic and original work of experimental electronica that both amazes and simultaneously challenges listeners' perceptions of what music can be.

Tsaik’s widescreen sound draws from a diverse range of styles and acts - imagine the likes of Mount Kimbie, Shigeto, Boards of Canada, Shlohmo, Giraffage and Tycho getting together for a jam with liberal use of field recordings and you might be close… Setting the tone for the album Introlude++ opens with a swathe of dissonant sound design and filtered samples before a heavily processed Latin guitar line takes the lead. The crystal clear production and seamless blends between disparate textures are a hallmark of Tsaik’s style and are all on display here with the upbeat guitar flirting with synth pads and a found sound beat that brings the track home.

Tehraj arrives with a melodic intricate Asian string picking amongst ringing minor synth notes. Complex percussive rhythms join in as the track builds filling out the whole frequency spectrum with an effortless hybrid of modern electronic and traditional Eastern music. All before taking an abrupt turn in the last 30seconds into an abstract future Hip Hop beat that fades eerily into the distance. Coming into focus from a crowd of field recordings Hera is led by a relaxed but off-kilter Fender Rhodes chord progression that both comforts and intrigues with its subtle variations and tonal wobbles. With a charming J Dilla-esque vibe, more warm and pleasant sounding synth pads waft in and out of the mix intertwined with guitar lines and a Hip Hop kick through to the end.

The first 3 minutes of DUI is a minimal affair with spacious and wide soft pads that could chill a furnace which then suddenly gets beaten into submission by arpeggiated synth lines and a slower Electro influenced drum pattern. Just when you thought it couldn’t surprise you any more an unemotional disembodied vocal spits braggadocio rhymes over until the track slows to a halt. It’s a musical jack-in-the-box that just keeps on opening!

Summer AM is the shortest track on the album coming in at just 1 minute 37 seconds but despite its length there’s a lot going on in there. Old jazz and vocal samples, acoustic guitar picking, white noise flashes and pitch shifted noises all make up a blanket of sound that a heavily reverbed, high pitched synth peals over the top of as it progresses through its obscure beat.

Techno drums open up Vinyl Baby with rhythmically glitched synths floating around the peripherals like spectres producing an ambience not dissimilar to the less aggressive moments of Crystal Castles. A couple of minutes in, half time drums break up proceedings before going back in to the beat full-scale. With added squelchy synth lines and hypnotic vocal chanting it gets going and breaks again before the vocals echo into a wall of noise finishing off.

Straight gated reverb drums and a metronome blip beneath an aggressive synth growl define the intro for Swisher, which then makes way for almost Pastorius like bass noodling and pads awash with reverb. As with Summer AM, the track sounds epic as it crams in the sonic information and emerges through many extreme changes though still somehow coming in at under 3 minutes! The outro is both curious and beautiful with rounds of vocalisations that perfectly segue into the penultimate track.

IO is a more poignant affair. Found sounds, sublime guitar licks, Asian percussion, emotive pads and haunting vocals are just some of the things you’ll discover - all glued together with arpeggiated, glitchy textures and white noise. The result is an ever evolving journey of experimental electronica that conjures up memories of the organically glorious beats of Bibio, Schlomo and James Blake at their best, leaving the listener at peace.

Album closer Lovenote is a playful mix and match as Hammond organ, samples of children, Hip Hop 808’s and rhythmic side-chained synths find themselves together in a piece that both sounds like Musique Concrète whilst having drawn influence from almost every kind of Bass music around at the moment! The track is a suitably eclectic end for this audio experiment that we call Lemon.

Critical Reception

Product Information

  • UPC 5056052700554
  • Catalogue Number LT016
  • Format Album
  • Sound Carrier Digital

Track listing

No. TitleISRC Length
1. "Introlude++"  GBFBC1601405 3:02
2. "Tehraj"  GBFBC1501362 3:02
3. "Hera"  GBFBC1601406 3:58
4. "DUI"  GBFBC1601407 6:00
5. "Summer AM"  GBFBC1601408 1:36
6. "Vinyl Baby"  GBFBC1601409 5:18
7. "Swisher"  GBFBC1601410 2:47
8. "IO"  GBFBC1601402 5:57
9. "Lovenote"  GBFBC1601411 4:39





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