Wednesday 12 March 2014

Review: TROUM – 'Syzygie'



This is a collection of analogue recordings from 1999 through 2002, beautifully mastered. Part of the strength if this material may be that the music on this release was made using all organic sound sources. There are real melodies developing in the abstractions. What is particularly striking is how cohesive this collection is, even with its impressive variety in moods and sounds. These tracks must have stood out on their various compilations, but the care with which they were selected, sequenced and mastered make for a most satisfying experience.

'Makaria' takes the form of a round, melodic figures weave in and out, grow tense and resolve. Underneath this a slowly shifting drone moves at a much slower pace. The relation of the drone to the plucked string loops creates an harmonic movement that enhances the meditative atmosphere. From here 'Ganymed' opens to the sound of ringing gongs spread out into a portentous hum. This is the sound of the dust settling in the aftermath of a tumultuous event. 'Fantaum'a comes at the listener in waves. Each pulse drawing one in more each time it rushes forward and recedes. Ambient music is rarely this dynamic. The rhythm underlying 'Uegh [Cunabula]' calls to mind a rusting war machine appearing over the horizon and drawing slowly nearer. The melodic components are – in their modal variations. The word "Cunabula" may suggest a cradle or a glass coffin set like a jewel in a hulking steel monster stalking the land, perhaps... Well, one does expect evocations of dream imagery with Troum.

Brahma opens one eye and a universe comes into being. 'S’engourdir' is the primordial OM of this universe bringing the brain waves into order. Voices cut in and disappear like generations of monks born, meditating and transcending. Underneath the OM remains. Forms proliferate, rush towards cataclysm and fade. Brahma closes his eye and the universe goes out of being. 'Khan-Arachnid' has a narrative feel to it with unintelligible whispers and organic sounds like walking on gravel moving along in the forefront as a melodic drone rises up behind it all like a faint stream of smoke. 'Wit Wists Fra-Qistjan' floating and slowly evolving with some dramatic vibes beneath the serene surface. Throughout 'Thrausmata Enos Oneirou' resonating metal drones fade in and out, the sonic equivalent of an impressionistic wash of colours. Like the distant memory of music echoing through a dying brain.

Most of the tracks are relatively long, but seem to pass by quickly. Says the bio: The duo create unbearably beautiful drones, multi-layered transcendental noise, and highly atmospheric dream-muzak. This is the kind of statement one usually takes for what it's worth from label PR, but Cold Spring continue to back up with releases from masterful artists like TROUM.

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