Saturday, June 19, 2021

CD Odyssey Disc 1483: Tami T

Welcome back to the CD Odyssey! Let’s dig in, shall we?

Disc 1483 is…. High Pitched and Moist

Artist: Tami T

Year of Release: 2019

What’s up with the Cover? A painting of Tami T, sitting on a bed deep in thought. Based on the keyboard, I’m going to say she’s composing.

More interesting is the wide range of objects strewn around on the floor. We’ve got kitten figurines, a magazine, headphones, makeup, flowers. Oh, and a whole bunch of sex toys.

How I Came To Know It: My friend Patrick shared a song from this album a couple of years ago. I liked that as well as the full album. Unfortunately, it wasn’t released on my favourite format (CD) and a couple years ago I was still not comfortable purchasing music by download.

The pandemic helped me overcome that particular phobia by keeping me cooped up but still eager for new music. I eventually downloaded it a few months ago for around 100 Swedish Kroners (Tami T is Swedish). That’s about $15 CAD. Because I am a stubborn sonofabitch I burned it onto a CD and made a jewel case for it.

How It Stacks Up: Tami T only has one studio album that I know of, and this is it. Consequently there shall be no stacking up.

Ratings: 4 stars

“High Pitched and Moist” is a mix of sugar, sadness, and sex. Tami T’s particular blend of electronica and pop alternately makes you feel like you’re dancing in a club, being the heroine of an indie romantic comedy, or walking down a dark and dangerous street in a John Carpenter movie. And if you’re a wondering if the moistness in the title is from sex or crying, the answer is ‘a bit of both’.

The album is entirely electronic noises and keyboard, plus Tami T’s modulating voice that – like the cover – makes you wonder if she’s part anime character, or maybe an escapee from a video game.

This type of music is way outside my usual wheelhouse, but despite the artificial sounds (both music and voice) it held my attention in a way that most electronica albums do not; with the depth of emotion and honesty in its delivery. The music isn’t played on instruments, but the melodies still managed to pull on my heartstrings throughout. As for Tami T’s singing, it may sound artificial at a surface level, but her delivery and lyrics are heartfelt and poignant.

Tami T is trans, and throughout “High Pitched and Moist” she explores just what this means for her from the inside out. It is deeply personal, and powerful. It can also be filled with deep sorrow and even dread. On “Afraid” she recounts dark walks home, afraid of getting beat up again, with that “again” landing with a foreboding finality at the end of the line. On “Disgusted” she recounts the morning after a regrettable hook up with:

“Lucky you
I'm in this state
Low standards
Because of self-hate”

And on “Birthday” she has a drunken night out on the town, summed up with:

“Another year wasted on attempts at having fun
Another year of making mistakes you can’t undo
A sad birthday fit for a sad person like you”

Grim stuff, but it never feels self-indulgent, it just feels raw and real. Also, these moments are balanced well with songs like “Princess” that are filled with empowerment and defiance. On “Mucous Membrane” she turns the “Disgusted” theme on its head, reveling in the freedom of a consistently satisfying booty call where the two participants may not have much to say to each other but are still great in the sack.

Face Riding” is a one of the album’s best moments, mixing an irresistible organ riff, well placed handclaps, and a dance club beat. There’s also a whole lot of consensual bondage and domination, in case you were wondering whether some of those objects on her bedroom floor were appearing randomly.

Single Right Now” is the most danceable song on an album that has a lot of danceable songs. It also features a cleverly repeating chorus that characterizes the cycle of meeting someone, falling in love, finding out they are an asshole and then…doing it all over again. Like a lot of the songs on the record, it is a little sad, but a little playful as well.

My main issue with the record is that it needed to be edited down in the studio a bit more. There are 15 songs totaling almost an hour of music, and a number of them don’t need to be there, particularly dreary mood pieces like “Bad Temper.” I could also have lived without a couple of the aimless instrumental numbers (“Gullis”, “Den Ledsna Valen”). Tami T also employs a sound that mimics a Caribbean steel drum a few too many times for my liking.

The beats however are great overall. Danceable, groovy and organic enough that they still feel like complete compositions. Imagine something similar to that background music at a fashion show runway, only if it didn’t suck.

I often find electronica music comes up with a half-baked concept only to recycle it without ever completing the melody. Tami T has a good musical sense, and avoids this pitfall, making fully formed songs with beginnings, middles and ends.

I doubt I’m going to be converted to electronica music anytime soon, but I’m glad I was introduced to this little corner of that world.

Best tracks: Birthday, Princess, Face Riding, Mucous Membrane, Single Right Now, Disgusted, It’s Not Your Right To Know

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