Riot Meadows
Titanium Coma Seeds






“I see dried scratches of asbestus… and billows of moist tranquility.” The tweets of your humble reviewer are ever-strange, but that particular one was and is specifically directed to Wisconsinite cyber synthesist Riot Meadows aka Steve Targo whose tape Titanium Coma Seeds is the cause and solution of all problems. Released on the San Francisco-based Turmeric Magnitudes tape label and available to purchase and stream at Bandcamp, Targo is back with two long Ambient pieces which are again loaded with rapidly moving synth spirals, ophidian serpentines covered in dust, mercilessly whirling filters, and eupeptic effects distilled from jinxed swamps. Pleistoscene Psychedelia versus virtual vulture, glagolithic Glitch against sybaritic superstructures, the endemic worlds of Titanium Coma Seeds are shimmering vestibules of enshrined beauty. I am a sucker for these long pieces which change and flow incessantly. Riot Meadows achieved exactly this on his tape debut Natural Circuitry (Twin Springs Tapes, 2013), and Titanium Coma Seeds is no different, except that it is different. Whereas Natural Circuitry creates the perfect flow, a river of elation floating through turquoise-yellowish landscapes, and Simulacra (Purr Tapes, 2013) sports 13 easily selectable fir-green tidbits, Titanium Coma Seeds is willfully different, kicking and elbowing the listener out of a sequence and right into the adjoining, potentially different location. One might be quick to degrade this stylistic particularity to a worrisome peculiarity, but I’d beg to differ: this is exactly Steve Targo’s plan, each vignette could, for instance, simulate one specific titular seed corn. Even if this is not the artistic intention, the stop-and-go notion – and motion – makes for a highly delightful and versatile Drone album complete with Glitch vestiges, faux-Folk as well as a robotic New Age turmoil in the veins of Panabrite and DIYPYЯΛMID. Here is a closer look at the seed of the future… patent pending.


Start your favorite bonfire or campfire site projection right this very minute, for the Western-influenced prairie steppe extravaganza vignette launches right from the get-go. It is the first internal part of side A which sports the long-form kaleidoscopic Seq. A – Palatial Estates Of The Mind. Already magnanimously dirty and incisive guitars are nevertheless drowned in an alkaline liquid which makes their superimposed sinews feel ragged and raucous yet iridescent. The galactic drone washes are ever-bubbling, a trademark sound of Riot Meadows who does celebrate certain moments of a vignette, but only for mere seconds. After this timeframe, Steve Targo ventures into different worlds and textures. The guitar-oid void leads to a rather elysian section after approximately three and a half minutes. Riot Meadows opens the curtains and aurally depicts a crystalline-vitreous diorama of an oversaturated cyber chaparral, gyrating gusts and frizzling fallout. The adjacent interim sequence then sees its bits crushed, overdriven and darkened. A static noise cocktail of said wraithlike diorama, everything is an earthquake and in permanent motion, but the polar light keeps shimmering and scythes through the ferocious rockfall. Etiolated faux-reels mimic the effect of a droning tape, plasticity is exchanged for bucolic blisters and jagged prongs. After about nine and a half minutes, the divine finale of Seq. A comes in the shape of a chiptune galore if there ever was one. According to the artist himself, the whole section was composed on a Korg Mini. Saltatory square lead specks, 8-bit ameliorations and gorgeously polyhedric synth arabesques twirl in front of a pitch-black backdrop. Beatless, bassless, botless, this final section is baklava transformed into music.


Side B consequentially features Seq. B – Don’t Let Go, Sky, a quasi-begging plea in written form, but something entirely different in the realms of its sound waves. Mildly infernal cascades of acidic coils and shapes scrape across the lands, their interstices being supercharged with VHS memorabilia and virtual realities of yore. Some frequency benders may be eminently malevolent and a tad over the top, true, they can, however, never kill off the mirthful joyfulness and pristinely polished surface of the gateway vignette. After almost four minutes, a much more enchanting and unexpectedly soothing fluxion leads into the mellow maelstrom of hamartia and cognizance. Superb synth fibers – 70% cyberspace, 20% New Age, 10% ecclesiasticism – become enmeshed in a wondrously silky ode to Drone. They wash away over the listening subject, spawn both an enigmatic timbre and pastel-colored overtones of ethereal rapture. The ripples, billows and undulation function as markers of time and eventually fight the perpetuality. A mere moment later, one is thrown out of the euphoria and into another section which starts after over nine minutes. Droning cavities of heterodyned rivulets and echoey architecture are created, their wireframe alloyed with textures, the created flow is more mystical and desiccate due to the argentine-aerose foreign matter particles and frequency-crushing molecules, but yet again, euphony cannot be blasted away. The section ends rather abruptly, with all the bolstered bleeps, pointillistic pings and valedictorian vesicles still in place, but this is the beauty of Titanium Coma Seeds: it does not care for archetypical cinematography and therefore lives up to the alatoric-artificial arcanum.


Titanium Coma Seeds is a strong release for reasons not everyone will adhere to, but which I for one coincidentally happen to adore: Riot Meadows basically fools the listener yet again with two seemingly long-form compositions… except that they are anything but long. Seq. A sports four vignettes, Seq. B a triad, but thanks to the encapsulation process, they are glued together, for better or worse. Steve Targo has an adamantly short attention span, or to be more precise, he fakes this disorderly jumpiness and hence revises the sequences to match the demands of the new generation. And this new generation is – surpriiiise – inferior to the generation you belong to, fulfilling a genealogist’s law of your choice. Both sequences are deliciously compatible with each other, and better still, Riot Meadows achieves something odd: variety through cohesion. Ambient musicians have a whole matrix of possibilities in front of them, and so does Mr. Targo, but he cherry-picks the filters and tonalities he needs and embroiders them into each micro event. Expect for that lala-land video game phantasm at the end of Seq. A which is delightfully quirky and overall welcome but also infinitesimally de trop, the whole tape is much noisier than one might expect, sometimes even malevolently so. No worries though, melodies to the rescue I say, for their clinically sterile complexion and glow detests the destruction of these filters. Ambient was once a majestic genre. Now it is torn apart, muddied up, gleefully destroyed and built anew on the grounds of an ancient graveyard which is in reality the epithelium of a gigantic space ship that launches into the Stygian abyss… I'm sure you get the meaning. Titanium Coma Seeds is a pulp product of the video cassette craze (plus the implied Betamax ostracization), an artifact about ever-changing patterns of patchwork zoetropes viewed through broken binoculars in neighboring galaxies glowing at 10,000 Candela.



Further listening and reading:

  • You can purchase and fully stream Titanium Coma Seeds at Bandcamp
  • Follow Riot Meadows and the Turmeric Magnitudes label and on Twitter: @rIOTmEADOWSturmericmgntdes



Ambient Review 284: Riot Meadows – Titanium Coma Seeds (2013). Originally published on Nov. 20, 2013 at