The Valley and the Mountain (as TVTM) ‎– Alphanumerix

3 out of 5

Label: WeMe Records

Produced by: Andreas Kauffelt (mastered by)

A stunning, perfect A-side; a stunted, imperfect B-side.

Here is the description of this release from TVTM’s bandcamp page: “Due to technical limitations, numeric keys are displayed as a workaround. Numbers indicate a song’s offset from a given epoch. Alternate character codes are included for human readability.” Song titles are a mostly references to things one might witness – Atmospheric Tide 90; Meteor Shower 112 – with splashes of science-y gobbledygook, a la ‘Past Glitches with Thundervision.’ Epoch can be a general span of time, of course, but it makes me think of epoch in computing terms, especially given that “alternate character” mention. Hm.

With other artists, I might brush this off as nonsense, but The Valley and the Mountain’s generally dense, emotional compositions get me thinking and dreaming even without any additional wordage, so I want to digest this. And Alphanumerix’s A-side, a brilliant ebb and flow between burbles of glittering electronics and then smooth, watery Detroit-tinted beats, does just that: the LP’s scribbled image of a dude in some kind of tech visor matches my feeling of being submerged in some mysterious world or morphing, beautiful visions.

The B-side, though, is off. None of the songs quite feel complete. Excepting the final ‘Light Through Clouds (TVTM 32 Mix) 8720160605,’ which isn’t really as affecting as anything on A, but is a pretty good acid jam, B’s other three tracks burble but don’t ebb and flow; they don’t build into or conjure anything. The titles seem pretty epic – both ‘Atmospheric Tide’ and ‘Meteor Shower’ I already mentioned, and inbetween is ‘Last Breaths of First Life 95’ – the beats just don’t commit to that, coming across as half-committed to the song before it fades out.

It’s an unfortunate discrepancy, given how fantastic the A-side is, though those tracks still make the listen absolutely worthwhile.