TJ Penzone, aka These People, lays down an infectious, polymetric groove as he investigates the inner workings of the universe on his latest single "Forces at Work." As the music motors ahead, the Godfrey Reggio-styled visual explores the coexistence of nature and civilization, and makes some very clear warnings about the future of mankind as the video's timestamp counts down.
Based out of Long Beach, NY, songwriter and producer, TJ Penzone, the driving force behind These People and formerly of Men Women and Children, has been releasing distorted psychedelic music under the solo moniker since 2011. With a rotating cast of band members, including the occasional help from James Usher and his brother Rick, Penzone has been the centerpiece behind the project, writing, recording and producing the music. Since his 2011 self-titled debut EP, These People's sound has been defined by its primal rhythms, angular guitars, synthesized overtones and ethereal vocals. These characteristics continue to work on the new single "Forces at Work."
Following up last year's heavy psych single "Mind Reading," the Can-inspired groove on "Forces at Work" is propelled like most great grooves by the bass. The bassline drives the song forward with a persistence that keeps the listener from ever having time to relax until the song hits a guitar led bridge around the two-minute mark. An interesting attribute of the groove is that it's actually polymetric. In case you didn't know, a polymeter is when two different meters are being played over each other. A famous example would be Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir," with its main riff counted in three, but the drumming playing a count of four, giving the groove a shifting urgency. In the case here, These People are playing a count of four, except for that driving bassline, which plods along in a count of five, making the groove dynamic as every alternating pass of the bassline locks in with a different part of the drum groove. Beyond the mathematical hullabaloo, the song is very atmospheric with its art rock bent of noisy, distant guitars playing jagged riffs and sharp production.
The visuals that accompany the sonic landscape are a mix of shots that were edited by Penzone and James Morano to look the examine the play between nature at its purest and sometimes most volatile, and mankind, similarly at their purest and most volatile states. The video looks at the intersection of technology, nature, and mankind similarly to Godfrey Reggio's 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi. About his video, Penzone said "The video is a look into the beauty of nature, mixed with man made interference. The ending is a highly possible consequence. The song itself is a questioning of existence. Are we experiencing reality or just the greatest cosmic joke?" Like Penzone describes, things start to take a darker turn as we near the end of the visual. While the beginning of the video seems to paint an objective, observational view of how the world we live in functions, the end of the video is a look into the fears that many of us have. This includes the forces that are out of our control that are not only damaging our planet, ecosystems and now civilizations, but that will escalate to even greater heights in the near-future. Throughout the video there is a clock that is ticking down. Sometimes it is visible, sometimes it isn’t, but it is always there. When that clock hits zero, what does that mean not only for us, but everything around us?
These People's upcoming EP is due out June 2021 through Green Witch Recordings. Check out the music video for "Forces at Work" below.