A ruin is the remains of something destroyed – as one might suitably label. But when you consider a ruin, it stretches further beyond the physical aspects we envision. Portland tandem Kevin O’Connor and Lisa Molinaro subtly offer Ruins with embellished instrumental music that stretches to a sonic landscape of sweeping arrangements. There’s a considerable amount of life one would recognize upon seeking a lost ruin and the orchestration on their latest offering is a worthwhile experience. As stirring as it is absorbing, Talkdemonic’s music is an engaging set of blended fusion that is a solid step forward.
With their fourth album the group doesn’t shy away with directly marrying Molinaro’s strings with O’Connor’s skittery, jagged beats. On “Midcentury Man” the viola and cello immediately infiltrates the music with a soulful melody, while the beats maintain a driving propulsion. Many of the songs on the album are decorations of strings and electronics that are cunningly fused together to craft forward-pushing electronic compositions. They merge into each other on massively-growing builders that crash against the walls with forceful pleasure (“Violet”) and sometimes, the combination turns into a grooving bite of synth-heavy bliss (“Midnight Pass.”) The latter is firmly what it sets out to depict – introduced with a menacing drone of keyboard: like the headache-inducing feeling of midnight blues – it slinks into a bass-driven discord.
In terms of imagery, the dizzying jive of “Summer Glass” is a stunning disposition. The way it flows in and out of focus is impressive; for music that is intended to stand alone, without any vocals asked for or needed, Ruins succeeds in being able to deliver heady concepts with great ease. The album begins with “Slumber Verses,” a glitchy, mono-recorded, synthetic collaboration of vibrant strings and passively-tempered percussion. Its job is to suck the listener in and it effortlessly does so with impeccable dynamics that inflect and deflect at intrepid pleasure points. It’s surely difficult being able to accomplish such a task when the music is entirely instrumental but Talkdemonic do just that.
As you reach “Palace Walk” and its pensive undertones, the strings have entirely taken over. Here they react as both the counter harmony and background melody enthrall the soft reverb in the hallway: there’s a moment where the music balances into an exceptional collection of electronic beats and strings that is often felt throughout. There’s realization in knowing that not all ruins are lost and while Talkdemonic offer little in terms of literal accompaniment to what it all means, the sheer music on Ruins is more than enough to sort it out – much after the bliss has set in.