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(55:58, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Pulse 5:41 2. Llama and Alpaca 10:28 3. Avalon 5:11 4. Garden 6:58 5. Dr. Skin Head 10:50 LINEUP: Yohei Aso – synthesizer, programming Junichi Ebisawa – drums
Prolusion. The Japanese duo TORI, based in Denmark, is a relatively recent formation. The MySpace page, which is their official home on the internet, indicates that they started back in 2010, and just one year later they were ready with their debut album "Albatross", released through Musea Records’ sub-label Gazul.
Analysis. Those familiar with Musea Records will often find the productions to be issued under the Gazul moniker to be among the most interesting of their productions, but also the most unpredictable. This sub-label has an emphasis on new music, and what constitutes that particular description may be innovative and boundary breaking in a manner fans of progressive rock won't always feel familiar with, as is the case for this particular specimen. Fans of minimalistic electronic music will find opening effort Pulse to be a tantalizing experience. An echoing pulsating electronic noise dominates, backed by careful floating synthesizer textures and a dampened, improvised array of percussion details coming and going, the synth textures eventually developing into a layered majestic overlay prior to the song regressing to the opening minimalistic territories. But when Llama & Alpaca comes next, we're dealing with a creation of a very different character. On this occasion a slow, circulating bass motif with a distinct jazz oriented style is the backbone, with a fine (and innovative) support by improvised drum patterns emphasizing the jazz orientation. With occasional bursts of free form piano flavoring the proceedings early on, alongside drones, sampled sounds and two elongated spoken word sequences: strangely compelling material, but vastly different from the just as intriguing opening piece. Next up we're treated to Avalon, a creation that blends a pumping techno inspired synth motif with ambient textures and downmixed rhythms. Well made for what it is but quite clearly entering unfamiliar territories for followers of progressive rock and electronic music alike. The following piece Garden explores similar territories, but utilizing twisted and distorted techno-tinged synth motifs and inserting a passage with improvised drums that you won't find on any techno album I'm familiar with. At last we're treated to the 10 minute epic Dr. Skin Head, a construction that opens as some sort of floating, ambient excursion and ends up somewhere in the neighborhood of symphonic rock by way of richly layered keyboard textures and steady rhythms. An unpredictable creation through and through, and at least for an audience geared towards progressive music a journey that will touch upon many unfamiliar bases.
Conclusion. Trying to define a core audience for this CD is a task that is much more demanding than describing the musical contents per se. I'd hazard a guess that those who enjoy commercially oriented techno music just as much as progressive electronic music and ambient soundscapes should be the perfect crowd for this album, a very select audience, I suspect, isn't too numerous. But for anyone that finds this description a tantalizing one, this is a disc you should find rather enjoyable.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: January 10, 2012
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