Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
Something smells as if it were burning right out of this roof, right out of this sweater. It's as if a simple stroll of these shoes would leave a charred black trail of soot and ash a mile long if a decision to stand was to be made. Moving these bones into another room - if there are any rooms left, oh, we're monstrously afraid to look out of the door - would made this crumbling down and apocalyptic scorching a reality confirmed by the senses.
It would be here, under our noses, or rather cooked into them as it seems has already been done, and it would be here at the corners of our mouths like a forgotten splotch of jelly or ketchup, grossly discovered hours after the meal involving it. Takka Takka of the known and prolific city state of Brooklyn, N.Y., named its latest release using a term that is most commonly tossed about when discussing the activity that geese and other fair-weather birds - when they book it south to warmer climates when the northern winter sets in where they call home the majority of the year, though this would suggest some sort of continuance of times, a move that could be reversed. How many migrating birds over the centuries have been pictured as the quintessential sight of a crisp fall rapidly approaching a harsh winter of bundling and white canvas, seen against the backdrop of an evaporating light cast golden orange and wild?
The answer is many, but it seems that this dynamic band's material has little to do with a seasonal vacation down into the more southern temperate regions of the world from say, North Dakota or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Put this record on whatever kind of player it is that you prefer and it could cause a response that pulls you voluntarily, yet violently into a lion's den that acts as a front to a pissy beehive that's been laid to a ruin of sorts - though the bees have chosen to sharpen their ends and swarm madly about. But these aren't bees they're talking about, these are people. There are an unlikely number of lions cavorting with these people, creating a theme that somehow still remains brilliantly out of reach at the end of the album. What seems to fling itself to the front and the center, through these words of Gabe Levine, is a world (whether it's the ultimate world or just the personal galaxy of a person or two isn't clear, but it feels like a catastrophic deal) that's been sent through a wood-chipper and then worked over with some flamethrowers for good measure. There are people battling silences. There are people creating the silences that are being battled endlessly. Maybe it's a scene like in "Lost" when everyone's supposed to be dead or something and they just don't know it yet, even if that's not the premise of the television show, so the pundits say.
Takka Takka have made a world of some of the most interesting living dead people - the ones who don't know it, still haven't decomposed and are living as if nothing ever happened - speaking to the people that they always did and waiting for the second half of the conversation to kick in, waiting for their friends or loved ones to pick up the tab this time. It is the oddest and loneliest state that there could ever be. But wait, these people are alive. They are living, but they are somehow on the other side of the mirror and their appreciation for what's going on is enhanced in such a way that they feel like complete outsiders and this comes through in the blooming and swooning arrangements that Takka Takka put together, saying so much with expressions that no instrument could muscle out. They are there though. It takes the eyes being closed to fully appreciate their presence. This is heady stuff and Levine's words read like award-winning prose - the words draping over the slow-churning orchestration like a planetarium or the real thing, deep and purple-y black, ancient.