Böhm is the ambient, noise, electronic project of Patrick D. Murphy while ATOP (Akkad the Orphic Priest) is the ambient, electronic project of Cody McPhail. Both are mainstays of the ambient/electronica scene in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Both present compelling tracks on their newest split for Tandem Tapes. Böhm begins the split with three fascinating pieces that are evocative of interdimensional travel. ATOP offers up a longform piece, at times unsettling, at others inviting.
Böhm begins his triad of tracks with “Snodrone”. It’s a patient piece as a sampled voice comes in and out of the music landscape. Crisp fuzzy spikes appear among dreamy strings and electronic sounds. The guitar is beautifully situated, with pieces panned right or left to great effect. “Daizee” has eastern accents and percussive noises that flitter about while a drone struggles to become prominent. A kaleidoscope of sounds, there is a depth here that makes it so the listener hears different things every time. “Omage” rounds out the Böhm trilogy with a return to vocal samples. Metallic sounds sit deep in the mix as a rooted, abiding fuzzed out rumble unfurls itself over the populated soundscape. This all evolves into what feels like an impromptu jazz session complete with horns, percussion and some rather eclectic synth work.
ATOP’s piece, “The Oracle’s Cave”, invites the listener on a longer form aural journey with varied percussive moments and deep, swirling synth voices. Crackles move throughout the piece, with textures varying to give the track depth. The use of various sounds are just choice and make for an entrancing piece that never loses the listener. Pulsing with sacred intent, “The Oracle’s Cave” invites the listener into its ritual sphere, humming and throbbing with persistence.
Every time I get to see Böhm and ATOP live, I always anticipate the incredible sonic stories they are going to tell. Owning one of those stories in recorded form is an honor. This split album on Tandem Tapes lives up to all my expectations from these two artists and I highly recommend you get a copy on cassette. After soaking in these tracks, go to both artists’ Bandcamp pages and explore their brilliant catalogs.