Martina Quake & Tarquin Manek - Locks On Our Doors Not On Our Hearts LP
Label: Blackest Ever Black
For all intents and purposes, this is a solo project of F Ingers' Tarquin Manek, with Martina Quake being his anagrammatic, female alter ego.
Locks On Our Doors Not On Our Hearts utilizes EMS VCS3, Oberheim OB-Xa, and ARP 2600, in combination with cheap, contemporary consumer electronics. It is, in all intents and purposes, a short, cautionary story about love. It is also a folk-tale, a science fiction, a suicide note. Unusually for a long-form spoken word piece, it is immediate in its impact, and lasting in its effect. The narrator is damaged and unreliable: Martina Quake's voice, digitally processed into a flat, AI affectless-ness, conveys this all too well. Is this the vernacular poetry of the Uncanny Valley, or is it just that loss makes robots - numb and listless not-quite-humans - of us all? Locks revels in the space between the spontaneous and the programmed (what is a poem if not a program?). It's part Tales Of The Unexpected, part Susan Howe, part Ruth Rendell, part HAL (or Holly). Tarquin Manek's music is widescreen but understated. A becalmed landscape populated by distant drones, just-out-of-focus field recordings, and phased, minimalistic, Rhodes-style keys. A sort of somber, lunar jazz. Just as Quake's words are cumulative in their tragedy, the music grows more agitated and turbulent, at certain points harking back to the smoked-out psycho-acoustics of Manek's 2015 Tarquin Magnet LP and his work in F ingers, with Samuel Karmel and Carla dal Forno.