Sylvan Tirelle - Omni​-​Gatherum (Album Review)


Sylvan Tirelle is a multi-instrumentalist from Washington, USA. When I say multi-instrumentalist, I mean multi-instrumentalist. Tirelle's debut album, Omni-Gatherum, consists of no less than 15 different instruments, from your standard drums and guitars to more exuberant saxophones, flutes, and synths galore. Helming all instruments single-handedly, Tirelle takes a variegated approach to genre. Funk-infused jazz with a penchant for global rhythms and 80s detective show soundtracks culminates in an admirably confident collection of easy-listening instrumental music, however intentionally or non-intentionally jejune. 

There's an aloof coolness to Tierelle's compositions, as well as a tongue-in-cheek ability to hypnotize. This hypnotic quality comes via layered instruments playing complex counterpoint melodies through persistently colourful and meaty compositions, most notably "pp500", which, for its six-minutes-and-fifty seconds, never lets up, and the odyssey-like adventurisms of "Hammer Heart", which for over seven minutes induces psychedelics through whammy guitars, hokey organ keys, and steady-but-shure drums and percussion.  

Often, like on the playful "Squidgeman", the bass plays an integral role and is the guiding force for the assemblage of horns, iridescent keys, and joyous compositions, sometimes making the music Seinfeldesque. But there's more depth and musicality here than its muzak contemporaries. Layers of harmonic complexity that play around shifts in time signatures; quiet moments, like the new-age-centred "Jestic Iskrem", inspire spiritual inquisitiveness.

The only person besides Tirelle with a production credit for this album is Nick Tripi from Bing Bong Studio, who took care of mastering duties. There's a somewhat brick-walled aspect to the sonics, but clarity isn't compromised, and the wealth of instruments on offer are all audible and spread out across the stereo field. On tracks like the closing "Rainy Day Rat", one can admire the guitar solo, complex key arrangements, roaming bass, horn section and frantic rhythms simutaneously. Somehow, the chaos is straightforward. 

Overall, there's an ebullient flair to Omni-Gatherum, but there's also an awful lot of noodling and over the top exercises in self-indulgence. Thankfully, Tirelle owns this, calling the album "a self-indulgent DIY" on Bandcamp. But for a debut album from one musician, it's an undeniably impressive feat of endurance and evidence of hard work from someone who loves to make music. By proxy, the listener can share the musician's joy of creation thanks to Tirelle's willingness to have fun and not take himself too seriously. However, that's not to mean there's a lack of attention to detail. On the contrary, Tirelle has meticulously assembled his puzzelesque ode to soundtrack music with clarity and certitude.