Tongue Depressor (New Haven, CT) is the duo of Zach Rowden and Henry Birdsey. They write, improvise, and perform drone-based music with fiddles, pedal steel, lap steel, contrabass, organ, and bells, usually involving microtonal tunings and re-arranged/re-tuned fragments of American church music.
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“In another time, Tongue Depressor’s ethereal tunings set into motion an unstable peace. With their bows, the duo conjured spirits to settle serpents. In another time, it was enough.
“In the Quarter Column” showcases Tongue Depressor’s progression into an exploratory and singular craft, balancing technical ability with discipline, and magnetism with precision.
“Everyone Was There” features Tongue Depressor’s first use of magnetic tape loops, with Rowden manipulating recordings of Birdsey’s playing while Birdsey bows his lap steel in accompaniment. The hypnotic piece delicately reminds us that what has come before will come again, bringing decay and dislocation. Warbly echoes of what is past are present. The duo’s preferred territory exists outside of time.
On the B side, “A Singing,” Birdsey’s resolute playing of a microtonal organ merges with the moans and sighs of Rowden’s bass to illustrate a fresh lucidity that is patient and attentive. Demystification has disconnected the doors.
Grasping sound and experience from within, “In the Quarter Column” builds an apparitional world for the listener to inhabit. Once again, Tongue Depressor offers anyone with the ability and will to listen a very generous gift.”
– Jason Filer (Crazy Doberman, Doberman, Gateway)