Not far off two years from the day, Bristol's Tara Clerkin Trio return to World of Echo and the EP format for a five song collection of quixotic, emotional redolence. But do not mistake their absence for inertia. If their musical output has been a little sparse during those in-between years, limited to a few solo ventures and an astonishing ten minute long piece as a trio, their time has otherwise been richly spent: continuous writing and recording, extensive live performances across Europe and Japan, a cultivation of local and more far-flung artistic connections (musical and otherwise), and a monthly NTS show that, through the voice of others, speaks most obviously to their own unorthodox interests. It's the conflux of that winding activity that leads indirectly to On The Turning Ground, 26 minutes of probing, thoughtful composition that draws from no one specific source.
Their inspirations might be centreless, but the trio still possess a very obvious anchor in the form of their hometown. Bristol stands as a city of multitudes, heterogenous and vibrant in such a way as to allow it to renew and remake time and again. Tara Clerkin Trio drink from that same well, duly reflecting a rich musical heritage built on fwd-facing electronic subcultures and experimental urges. As such, On The Turning Ground finds them subject to their own subtle internal evolution, the pervasive sense that you've caught them mid-bloom, on their way to becoming but never anything but themselves.
The two instrumental pieces that bookend the EP stand as a perfect case in point, displaying an increasing mastery of compositional space. Pensive and restrained, 'Brigstow' and 'Once Around' both emanate an interstitial quality that's not so much after- as in-between-hours, miniature dub-folk symphonies held together by the kind of tacit understanding that remains the preserve of only the closest of family units. If those two tracks are shaped by a sense of shifting temporality, then the three vocal-led pieces that comprise the record's core feel like a gentle ossifying of aesthetic into something approaching their own unique form of avant-pop. 'Pop' is, of course, a broadly subjective concept, but there's no avoiding the overt sparkling melodicism of songs like 'Marble Walls' and 'The Turning Ground', undeniable re-directions of that late 90s impulse to bend pop sensibilities into off-centre terrain, to render the familiar new again. This is what Tara Clerkin Trio do, gently pulling the ground from under your feet, turning you to face something you'd not quite seen before. To view the world as they do: sideways, sometimes, all of the time.
On The Turning Ground is released on 12" and digitally on 3rd November.
2. World in Delay
3. Marble Walls
4. The Turning Ground
5. Once Around