This is certainly the beginning of a new chapter for TIS. Spread Against the Sky effectively transitions from the glitchy, feedback-soaked noise of past work and collaborations with NTRLWRM to a sort of minimalist, meditative expression of echoing guitar and bass work. The first two tracks, "A Thousand Shades of Night" and "Rabbit Fence," are mostly improvised and center on the use of effects and effects loops and twisted, smashed guitar sounds. Each is a slowly building experimental work, layering interspersed chaotic strumming and ambient drone. "Rabbit Fence" eventually crashes its way from glitchy distorted chaos to softer chaos that brings the word "ambiance" and even "melody" directly to mind.
My favorite track while the record was still in progress, "A Touch of Frost" sounds like pure decanted atmosphere. You can hear the melancholy chords drifting out across the mountains. You can feel TIS sitting and staring into the melancholy of the abyss. Slowly, the guitar and bass build and drop and flow into the delay-harmonised melody of "An Aging Statue." This statue is lonely. Introspective. Quiet. Then the modulated fingerpicking of "Drifting Away" builds tension, rather than releasing it and ending this album's chapter. I'm waiting for the next TIS release, so I can see where this is going. Get this.