Album Review: Fat Tiger, 'Crosstalk' | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Album Review: Fat Tiger, 'Crosstalk'


Fat Tiger, Crosstalk
  • Fat Tiger, Crosstalk

Though big-budget music videos are mostly a thing of the past, the music industry continues to push the union of sights and sounds. Whether it's an elegant lyric video uploaded to YouTube, an experimental film like Beyoncé's Lemonade or looped clips that play on your phone's screen without warning as you listen to Spotify, there is no shortage of ways to combine audio with visual stimuli. Just don't expect to see many more "Sledgehammer" or "Take On Me" epics.

In keeping with the times, Burlington experimental duo Fat Tiger's debut album, Crosstalk, comes with an accompanying set of psychedelic visuals courtesy of Tony Berry. Kaleidoscopic swirls of color and shapes bend and bleed as the duo's instrumental electro-lounge tunes play. Local concert lighting company Heavy Light projects the same kind of liquid analog effects during live shows. The visuals are the perfect companion to Fat Tiger's slippery experimental sound.

Eric Segalstad and Gahlord Dewald, both scene veterans, first stepped out as Fat Tiger on Sound Friends Vol. 1, a 2018 compilation cassette from local tape production and duplication service Sticky Shed Tapes. Their tune "Zealot," which also appears on Crosstalk, is a 40-watt chill-out piece composed of murmuring Moog synth, whispers of bass and jittering percussive accents.

The duo's seven-track album expands on the sexy-smooth compositional language uttered on "Zealot" with Spanish guitar, breakbeat cymbals and trip-hop aesthetics. Along with Segalstad and Dewald, abstract painter Steve Sharon and Binger timekeeper Dalton Muzzy add live drums to the band's white-hot cauldron of smelted analog synth.

The album opens with "Portal," a foreboding and twitchy introduction. Syncopated bubbles of synth contend with dramatic stabs of electronic noise over herky-jerky beats. In certain brief moments, the track's elements seem wholly independent from a greater entity, each forging their own path. But as they twist and writhe, those components fuse into a reflective prism.

"Peña" begins with a Star Wars droid-like gargle: Segalstad's guitar sent through layers of processing. The jazzy track continues as a melancholy conversation between guitar and bass, but, as it ticks on, the song unravels into avant-garde chaos.

A steady bass line gives "Pixel" an unmitigated groove as metallic jangles and swaths of tingling noise flit in and out. Reaching an almost disco-like pinnacle, the tune recalls local funk-hop outfit Japhy Ryder.

As Fat Tiger, sonic whizzes Segalstad and Dewald forge an utterly listenable partnership. Mysterious and invigorating, the atmosphere they create is sublime.

Crosstalk will be available on all major streaming platforms on Friday, April 19. Fat Tiger celebrate the album's release the same day at Community of Sound in Burlington.