Thursday, May 1, 2014

Imperial Topaz - Full of Grace (TQ56)

Shining more brightly than ever! peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

Full of Grace is the 'nova' release for New York-based synth duo, Imperial Topaz. Featuring Caroline Teagle and Zachary Zierden, Imperial Topaz' adept use of electronics coupled with varied rhythms - and Teagle's moving, nuanced voice- result in evocative, poignant tracks. With two previous releases - one of which is a split with Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Full of Grace ascends from the strides made on the MSOTT split and emits shimmering golden, yellow rays of energy. Teagle's affecting voice and breathy vocals, which featured prominently on the split, suffuse the atmosphere. Bleary synth and crystalline vibrations are provided more room to develop on the vinyl release. Icey, melancholic melodies comprised of variegated textures and enervated beats establish a dreamy, somewhat torpid, tempo for the majority of both sides. Yet, Teagle's beautiful vocals melt the icicles, imbuing the tracks with a degree of warmth.

The ominously titled intro, "Death Drift", is surprisingly idyllic - one of the most peaceful tracks on the album. Shimmering synth floats gently as droplets of electricity twinkle. A stream of buoyant energy occasionally overcomes everything, only to subsequently subside. Drum machines pulsate and throb next to Teagle's light and airy voice in the following track, "Juarez". Mysterious, contemplative synth exudes dark waves. "Moonlit Mind" sprinkles the kosmische crystals over crisp rhythms. Teagle's breathy vocals are joined by electric buzz and textures that one might associate with an organ. I love the energy of the final track on side A, "White Car". Infectious, driving rhythms abut Teagle's mellifluous voice. As it careens in one instance, her voice gently rises and falls in the next. Deliberate tones seem to echo for infinity and lightly touch the listener's consciousness. The title track starts off the flipside. Tranquil passages of synth float easily, while deep beats and stuttering drum machines provide the backdrop to Teagle's ethereal voice. Their use of texture is salient in the subsequent track, "Follow". Pace is integral to conveying the vibe in the next track, "The Soul Still Burns". Effervescent synth races through a labyrinth and is followed closely by bouncy tones. The synth and electronics dart furtively and bubble with excitement. Everything leads to the beautiful closer, "Wet Sand". Pensive, voluminous tones burst; their particles dissipating as they descend from the sky. Bleary synth ruminates while Teagle's voice hovers and sprays like a fine mist.        

Tranquility's first vinyl release is excellent. If you enjoyed the two tracks on the split with MSOTT, then I highly recommend securing a copy. Pressed on sturdy black vinyl, Caroline Teagle's artwork aligns nicely with the mood and feel of the album. Full of Grace may be purchased directly from Tranquility Tapes.

peace and love, friends :)