Tabs Out | galen tipton – Ungoliant

galen tipton – Ungoliant

12.9.20 by Ryan Masteller

OK gang, grab your twenty-sided dice and pack a pipe with Old Toby, because you’re gonna need all the fantasy elements at your disposal when you come face to face with “Ungoliant.” “Whoa!” you’re probably thinking to yourself, “We’re going up against Gloomweaver herself?” To which I say, “Very well done with your references, your deep cuts, but no. ‘Ungoliant’ is the new album by galen tipton, whose ‘Fake Meat’ made all those year-end lists in 2019 [I think]. Would’ve made Tiny Mix Tapes’s list too if we hadn’t done a decade list instead and then closed up shop. No, ‘Fake Meat’ didn’t make the decade list. There was some stiff competition.”

But good call on the Tolkien lore – Ungoliant was an evil spirit who took the form of a gigantic spider, and if that sounds familiar, Ungoliant was old Shelob’s mother! I’m shuddering at the thought of an egg sac the size of my dishwasher filled with fist-size baby spiders that will grow as big as Shelob … OK, I won’t unsee that mental image. Ungoliant herself is a powerful entity – actual balrogs needed to be called in to stop her, whatever she was doing! But look, all this is in “The Silmarillion,” so if you want to dig any deeper, there’s a whole book waiting for you. I recommend re-reading “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” first, though, because there’s never a bad time to do that. Note that I’m assuming “re-reading” here – surely all you nerds have read all those books a few times each.

In galen tipton’s Middle Earth – or “World,” or whatever it is they’re considering the setting of their existence – “Ungoliant” is the greater beast inhabiting the darkness, an entity painstakingly assembled from various pieces and with various collaborators. “Ungoliant” is bent on amassing power and wreaking destruction, and tipton and “fellowship” are on a mission to oppose it – and maybe learn a little something about themselves along the way. The action unfolds through an incredible abstract story-driven model, with electronic and sampled sounds interacting with each other in a narrative arc, with each “song” becoming instead a “chapter” in what turns out to be an epic saga. The songs fluctuate and fracture as if taking collateral damage in a magic battle. Snippets of dialogue and appear here and there and only serve to further spiral the whole thing out of the “realm of men” and into an adjacent reality. I’m not sure where we are or where we’re going!

But “Ungoliant” knows, and “Ungoliant” spins webs of disaster from her banished perch, attempting at every turn to thwart heroic efforts to undo her machinations and bring an end to her foul reign. Each second of the album is a struggle between good and evil, an attempt to heal a great rift between worlds or widen that rift to allow fell enemies through it to cause havoc. How will it end? Who will triumph over the great ancient spirit, the great spider? Or will “Ungoliant” find a way to persevere and maintain a grip on her vile power? Only one way to find out – buy a tape from Orange Milk Records!

Wait, that looks like a dragon on the cover, not a spider …

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