Nick Bindeman owns the summer of 2011. In June, Bindeman released a new record from his band Jackie-O Motherfucker, and then followed it up with a release from his other band, Eternal Tapestry, in July. Now it’s August and Bindeman unleashes another record, this time under the name Tunnels. While Jackie-O and Eternal Tapestry delve into the realms of experimental ambient/noise/drone, Tunnels takes an exciting turn into experimental electronics. The Blackout is rich with songs reminiscent of early 80s New Order crossed with Bauhaus that channels the spirit of Seventeen Seconds era Cure.
Throughout the record, Bindeman keeps the music fairly sparse and seems to have a knack for moving these songs just slightly off the path you imagine they should take. The first few tracks seem to be building to something, trying to gel into their desired form. The goal is achieved with the songs “Without Light” and “Red Road.” While the sounds remain minimal, these songs achieve a fullness and balance that make them stand out. The sound and tone of The Blackout seems to be fully fleshed out at this point, finally feeling comfortable and right. Naturally, now is the moment Bindeman takes the rest of the album down a similar but slightly different path. The second half of the record sees the Bauhaus influence fade in favor of a Thin White Duke David Bowie vibe. With this subtle change in vocal mood comes a slight shift in the atmosphere of the music. By the time the album reaches the closing tracks, “How I Hate You” and “Moon Bombs,” the album has landed solidly in the land of forgotten late 70’s sci-fi film soundtracks.
As the summer of Bindeman comes to a close, it’s clear he saved the best for last. The Blackout is a delicate, subtle record that gets better with each listen. For as minimal as Tunnels’ music is, you will find many new sounds and textures every time you hear it. If you like a challenging listen, settle in with The Blackout and see where it takes you.