The Tin Box - Invisible Kin

The Tin Box

Tucker Sferro is a Brooklyn-based composer and performer who began his career playing trumpet in live jazz ensembles, moving on to guitar, bass, and electronic music production with various bands throughout the Northeastern US in the late 90s and 2000s. He is known for blending rich and complex synth melodies with layered percussion, cultivating an innovative organic sound through assorted digital processes. Tucker is fascinated with mathematical models of probability and weaves a large component of chance into his compositions and live sets to create music that is constantly evolving.

Invisible Kin

Invisible Kin guides the listener on an expedition into the psyche in which successive layers of identity are peeled back to reveal a pantheon of archetypal themes. Spacious ambient backdrops, hypnotic swirling melodies, and fracturing percussive rhythms provide a roadmap to the discovery of synergistic relationships between music and experience. The interplay of melodic architecture and decomposition is a constant theme throughout the album in which the nature of the identity of both the musical arrangements and the listener are explored.

AB072 | Sept 2017



  1. Igloo Magazine

    In fact barely a tone here is jangling or discordant—everything is focused, intricate and direct. Invisible Kin’s sound has its roots in Autechre’s easier material, or Boards of Canada’s more upbeat and uptempo productions.

    The Tin Box is a solo project by US composer Tucker Sferro. Sferro is something of a rarity when it comes to electronic production: beforehand he was a brass player in a jazz ensemble who’s transformed into an electronic producer. Invisible Kin is The Tin Box’s fifth release and it lives up to Sferro’s own musical history. This is a composer who knows his stuff. Very well. Invisible Kin is a record that’s been made feeling steady in a stream of optimism, complexity and intimacy.

    In fact barely a tone here is jangling or discordant—everything is focused, intricate and direct. Invisible Kin’s sound has its roots in Autechre’s easier material, or Boards of Canada’s more upbeat and uptempo productions.

    Opener, “Far Away Spaces” is somewhat of a false starter, with an edgy synth leading in melody. Things get delicate on the second track “Wellspring Unlimited,” with glass sounding melodies alongside intricate synth patterns creating a ruminative play in harmony. Invisible Kin has abrasive moments too, the big bending baseline of “Metropolis One” gives the record a muscular groove despite its restful being. “Twins Ecstatic” has pure intentions but distorted sequencing.

    A repetitive trait in Sferro’s composition style is that he uses pattern-based-MIDI-sequencing leading all the tracks. A line found in Invisible Kin’s press release is how the sound is occupied with “mathematical models of probability… and how this weaves a component of chance into his compositions” and when we think how Sferro uses pattern-based-sequencers to make music this is an insightful description. The description translates to a loose and natural vibe, in the face of controlled electronically designed music. Sferro used to play in jazz ensembles—chance and improvisation are fundamentals of jazz and they’re also fundamentals of Invisible Kin too.

    Given the confidence shown by Sferro in Invisible Kin, it’s tempting to see this release as a beginning chapter to a project where his sound can evolve into a thrilling new form. This record communicates and expresses so clearly: joy.

  2. Beach Sloth

    Beautiful cascading tones define the delicate world of the Tin Box’s “Invisible Kin”. Drawing from a wide plethora of influences, from Four Tet’s folktronica whimsy to Oval’s digital imprecision, the album feels lovely. Full of light and airy the Tin Box explores a plethora of divergent experiences throughout. Every piece builds off the last resulting in a unified coherent whole. By opting for such a style the songs shimmer and shine with the utmost of grace. The album unfolds in nearly a geometric way as the multi-faceted layers of sound interact to explore deeper and deeper into the hyperactive world.

    Poppy influences introduce the album on the powerful muscular groove of “Far Away Spaces”. Fragile and perfect, “Wellspring Unlimited” allows the glitch-like effects to flutter about resulting in an atmosphere that teems with life. Everything moves at such a breakneck speed resulting in a kaleidoscopic, almost psychedelic effect. Stripping things down a bit the ambience of “Voyage Immeasurable” offers great warmth. A toy box melody rests at the very heart of “Metropolis One” with deep synthesizer sweeps giving the song an urbane sentiment. Quite ambitious in size the luxurious “Twins Ecstatic” bounces about with true contentment.  Heavenly wordless vocals rise with “The Muse Eternal”. Nearly translucent with its spaciousness “Life Aquatic” hovers about. Nicely summarizing all that came before it “Far Away Spaces (reprise)” brings the album to a satisfying conclusion.

    The Tin Box delves into a deliriously happy world with the beautiful glistening melodies of “Invisible Kin”.

  3. Merchants of Air

    While Björn is taking care of some of the heavier releases in our inbox, I'm still hooked on relaxing, calm music. Today, the soothing tunes have been delivered by Audiobulb, who claim to specialize in "Exploratory music & other beautiful audio excursions ....".

    I can live with that, especially when I listen to their outputs. Take this album by Brooklyn-based act The Tin Box. It's formed by composer Tucker Sferro who began his career playing trumpet in live jazz ensembles. Later, he expanded his instrumentarium and his music followed.

    'Invisible Kin' shows a few of these influences, namely ambient, intelligent dance music and downtempo electronics. Opener 'Far Away Spaces' immediately reminds me of acts like Plaid and Boards Of Canada, two names who will pretty much remain a constant throughout the entire album. On the other hand, Laraaji and Autechre also come to mind, sometimes together as in the immersive 'Voyage Immeasurable'.

    The overall tone seems to be playful and joyous. I think listening to this album can seriously improve your mood. Although the album is easily categorizable in the ambient scene, there are numerous uptempo melodies, hence probably the Laraaji influence. Of course, the percussion and beats also do their part in the bright and almost cheerful atmosphere of the music. 'Metropolis One' is an excellent example of that ànd one of my favorites here.

    Another one of my favorites is 'The Muse Eternal', a slow but energetic piece of music with less capering passages than most of the tracks here. That being said, yes, the majority of the music consists of rather jumpy melodic aspects. Personally, I wouldn't mind one or two deep droning pieces of music in between the others but that's just a personal opinion. In this house, I probably solve that by adding these songs to my day to day shuffle list.

    I suggest you do the same. In all 'The Invisible Kin' is a highly enjoyable album which will quite possibly put a blissful smile on your face. So check it out and allow the music of The Tin Box to take you on a little journey through your own psyche. It'll be worth it.

  4. Ether Real

    Avec ses multiples sorties (principalement en digital, comme celle-ci d’ailleurs), Audiobulb s’avère typiquement une structure à même de procurer découvertes et nouvelles têtes. C’est ainsi qu’en ce début d’automne, on fait la connaissance de The Tin Box, projet d’un musicien dont on nous indique qu’il a commencé sa carrière comme trompettiste de jazz, avant de bifurquer vers l’électronique et, plus spécifiquement, vers une electronica mélodique particulièrement gracieuse et sensible.

    Avec ses chromatismes rafraîchissants et immédiatement accrocheurs, ses rythmiques bien senties et justement dosées ou encore sa capacité à travailler sur la longueur (plus de six minutes de moyenne pour chacun des dix morceaux), le New-Yorkais présente tous les atouts qui nous ont fait (et nous font encore) aimer ce style musical. À la fois assez franches (celles de Voyage Immeasurable, par exemple) tout en restant dans un registre non agressif, les pulsations de The Tin Box voient parfois affleurer quelques consonances que le parcours de l’artiste nous conduit à rapprocher d’une cymbale be-bop. On retrouve les mêmes accointances avec la tessiture de certaines mélodies qu’on pourrait relier à celle d’un vibraphone (Life Aquatic).

    Le caractère aérien de l’ensemble (on serait presque tenté d’évoquer un voyage stellaire, à l’écoute d’Invisible Kin, sentiment renforcé par l’intitulé des morceaux Far Away Spaces et Voyage Immeasurable) fait de cet album une belle délectation. Celui-ci sait donc aller chercher des sonorités très oniriques, colorées et chatoyantes (à l’image de la pochette, avec ses arbres chamarrés), mais aussi des expressions plus urbaines (les rythmiques très fragmentées de The Angel Esmeralda). Face à cette vraie réussite, on conseillera simplement aux auditeurs d’interrompre leur écoute avant le dernier morceau, « reprise » du premier auquel Tucker Sferro adjoint une voix parlée, des granulosités sur certaines notes et des pulsations plus appuyées tout à fait dispensables.

    Translation into English:

    With its numerous releases (mainly in digital form, like this one, Audiobulb has proven itself to be an organization that can make new discoveries and find new faces. So it is that now, at the beginning of fall, we meet The Tin Box, a project created by a musician who, we are told, started his career as a jazz trumpeter before turning his attention to electronic music and, more specifically, towards an especially graceful and sensitive melodic electronica.

    With his refreshing and instantly catchy colors, his strongly felt, precisely measured rhythms and his ability to work in long format (each of the ten pieces averaging more than six minutes), the New Yorker has all the qualities that made (and still make) us love this musical style. The Tin Box’s beats, while at once quite direct (those in Voyage Immeasurable, for example) without assuming a harsh register, occasionally allow certain sounds to break through which the artist’s trajectory causes us to compare to a be-bop cymbal. You find the same connections with the tessitura of certain melodies, which one could link with that of a vibraphone (Life Aquatic).

    The overall airy quality (listening to Invisible Kin, one is almost tempted to imagine a journey among the stars, a feeling that is strengthened by the titles of the pieces Far Away Spaces and Voyage Immeasurable) makes the album truly delightful. The album consciously strives for very dreamlike, colorful and shimmering tones (like the cover, with its richly colored trees), but also for more urban idioms (the very fragmented rhythms of The Angel Esmeralda). In the face of this fine achievement, we would simply advise listeners t stop listening before the last piece, a reprise of the first piece, of which Tucker Sferro adds a spoken voice, a bit of graininess to some notes and more sustained beats, all of which is quite superfluous.