TYLER HOLMES “Devil” (Ratskin Records)

Every single one of us, the devil inside. Tyler Holmes has to check his shoulder regularly, because there are “Two Tylers,” himself and that evil version that pops up to give him bad advice before disappearing with a “poof!” while normal Tyler Holmes stands with his jaw dropped in disbelief that he’s about to follow the wrong inclination but is unable to stop himself. It’s like an out of body experience: he witnesses his human shell barrel through events in every wrong way possible yet is powerless in the face of sheer momentum and unbridled nature. “Two Tylers.”

These starkly honest and honestly stark MIDI jams are intensely personal and labored over, baroque but sparse, miniature but spacious and lived in. They sound like a dream collaboration between Tunde Adebimpe and Tricky if the two of them sifted through old keyboard sketches by the Police and left them as total sketches. The nakedness of Tyler’s delivery is perfectly accompanied by soft rhythmic patterns and textures. The fragility of each sonic construction is evident in the way it always feels like something’s going to topple over, one last bad decision causing the whole thing to come crashing down. It never does – not until side B’s “The Promise” anyway, a seventeen-minute sound collage as alien as it is intriguing.

Come to think of it, it’s all just intensely human, reflecting failure, holding out hope for that win in the face of adversity. It’s a last-ditch effort at righting the ship and gaining positive yardage. The secret’s in here somewhere, we just have to figure out what it is. It’s the Devil in the details.