There Is No Teenage Love
Sonic Soundscapes for the Post-Everything Era
Los Angeles musicians Erik Tokle and David J Dowling (There is No Teenage Love) create organic compositions through improvisation and live looping, manipulating guitars beyond recognition and dispensing with conventions of structure in favor of a post-modern, abstract and painterly approach to composition.
Formed in 2011, There Is No Teenage Love has recently completed and released their eponymous debut album against extremely unlikely odds of time and geography (more about that later). Members Tokle and Dowling use their guitars to create improvised/instinctual source material for subsequent deconstruction, multi-tracking, and post-processing; manipulating the sound beyond that of typical "guitar music." The result is a blown out symphony of ambient bliss; a sea of tonality where both beauty and chaos dissolve together into a wash of colored drone. The band compares their compositional style to that of more visual artforms (particularly the Abstract Expressionist movement), following the Jasper Johns dictum "Do something, do something to that, and then do something to that."
Opening track White Flag pays blatant homage to Johns, whose art was a significant influence on both band members' early creative development. Tokle and Dowling met in high school art class during the late 80s in the suburbs of Boston. They began playing music together in their first (and thankfully short-lived) punk band, traded tapes of Joy Division, The Smiths, Hüsker Dü, Brian Eno, and Talking Heads and tore it up on their skateboards (long before the East Coast thought it was cool to do so). Then they grew up, left home and didn't speak or see one another again - for 22 years.
Reconnecting through Facebook, the pair realized that they were both living and working in Los Angeles; Dowling as a photographer and Tokle in technology. More improbably, they both came to learn that each had continued playing music, and had each independently developed a style of guitar playing that involved live looping, vast amounts of effects processing, and layers of multi-tracked improvisation. Picking up where they left off 22 years earlier, they came together to collaborate in this shared style. The results were instantaneous - some of the live tracks recorded during the first few improvisational sessions became the basis for what would ultimately become the debut album.
Throughout the compositional process, the band kept several key principles in mind. First: the majority of the sonic palette needed to be guitar-generated - there would be no noodle-fest keyboards or field recordings of whale song. Second: they decided that anything they did on the album would have to be reproducible in a live performance - which would require an elaborate orchestration of looping devices and multiple effect chains. Third: this was to be a true collaboration; both had to agree to the aesthetic direction, artistic sensibilities, and musical decisions of each track on the album. After several months of live performance sessions, multi-track looping, and mixing, There Is No Teenage Love was deemed "done enough to consider done" and the band laid down their sonic paint brushes and let the music out into the world.
'There Is No Teenage Love catch glimpses of what Matthew Cooper’s Eluvium and early Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts era M83 did. This airy, droney, post-rock album is definitely the most unexpected musical item we’ve stumbled upon this year.' — LA I'm Yours
'Avec ses drones éthérées, sa guitare en apesanteur aux contours nappés de reverb, ses orgues majestueux et ses traînées de synthés sans âge au romantisme diffus (à moins que tout cela ne soit le fruit de manipulations guitaristes dignes de l’élégance light d’un Christopher Willits?), on imagine aisément l’effet que doit procurer l’écoute de There Is No Teenage Love au lever du soleil sur un océan à perte de vue.' — Indie Rock Mag