- Baltimore's Max Eilbacher has involved himself in so many different projects—Matmos among them—that he hasn't had much time to work by himself. Red Anxiety Tracers, on American synth outpost Spectrum Spools, is his first solo vinyl release, and it's good enough to make you wish he would produce alone more often.
Red Anxiety Tracers is the kind of record that asks you to invest yourself: the deeper you burrow, the more it gives to you, though it doesn't come easy. It comprises two side-long pieces, and the first section of the first side ("Slowlo") could scare away some potential listeners. A sputtering collage of sound effects and field recordings, it sounds more like Eilbacher setting up his equipment than a proper song. The rest of side A drifts off into more serene currents, through "Persistent Scenes" and the slow flow of "Did The Surfer Survive?" Rather than settling on a zen-like calm, however, Eilbacher constantly disturbs the peace with glitches and interruptions, as if he were picking at a scab.
By comparison, the B-side offers up more discrete sounds, emerging from a smoky fog of ambience with the tremulous pluck of treated guitars. As minutes pass the sounds get hectic and the composition turns chaotic, taking itself apart just when you think it's settling into a groove.
An unruly series of contrasts, Red Anxiety Tracers is unpredictable, but it progresses slowly enough that you get a feel for its odd contours. As it roams from one idea to the next, it begs the question of what exactly Eilbacher's personal style is, but he's got plenty of time to figure that out. For a musician who cut his teeth working within the projects of other artists, Red Anxiety Tracers proves that he's got a lot to offer on his own, too.
A Slowlo / Persistent Scenes / Did The Surfer Survive?
B (Intro) / Geetar / No Room For Breathing / Rail Trax