Boomkat Product Review:
The end is finally here for Low Company the label, clocking off with a full album from Tarquin Manek, one of the most prolific, distinct and perhaps under-recognised producers in our orbit. If bezonked, subaquatic dub-pop zoners are your thing, anything from The Skaters to Swell Maps, YL Hooi to Carla dal Forno, CS + Kreme to Jac Berrocal, this one’s for you.
The 16th and final number from short-lived yet beloved London shop-turned-label Low Company renders a raft of works made by Tarquin Manek (F Ingers, Kallista Kult, Tarcar) 2013-2020, and shafted in the release schedule until now. Nine songs depict Tarquin in his soggiest songwriting mode, floating over rugged, groggy loops in a rare, non-collaborative form. It’s a captivating self-portrait of an artist who is perhaps best known for his collaborations and work behind the scenes, variously fostering talents from the Naarm (Melbourne) undergrowth such as YL Hooi and Carla dal Forno, the latter of whom was his bandmate in F Ingers alongside Sam Karmel of CS + Kreme, and many of whom would grace Low Company and its cult predecessor Blackest Ever Black.
A sense of desiccated bliss riddles the bittersweet fantasy tang of ‘Breathing Under Honey’, where Manek sets a course from the bleached coral underfoot on ‘Stones on the Beach’, to a lizard-hipped bossa shuffle on ‘Mirage Game’, via superb bouts of Count Ossie-meets-Spencer Clark whims on ’Submerging Emergency’, thru Hassellian trumpet gargling in the sink on ‘Sea Slug Bender’, to instrumental cyberpunk sea shanty, ‘Age Old Squall’, or coming across Lewis on a jolly with drunken sailors at a late night Berlin bar on ‘Basic Trouble’.
Of course it all hits that crinkled sweetspot for levels of eyes-half-shut perpendicular pop that we’ve come to expect from Low Company and their constellation of affiliates, joining dots between the ahead-of-their-time ‘80s post punk tape oddities that surface on Efficient Space, A Colourful Storm’s febrile dream sequences, to rickety DIY bops from the London mulch.
Laters, Low Company - a proper bunch of sound cnuts.