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Torngat, "La Petite Nicole"

cover image Montreal's trio of talented multi-instrumentalists hit pay dirt on this album. Revolving around a core of keyboards, drums and French horn, the group has carved out a pleasant niche for themselves inside the well traveled corridors of cinematic psychedelia, employing numerous other devices and useful effects along the way.



Torngat - La petite Nicole

Most albums don’t begin with an “interlude” but this one does, doing the same job as an intro, but better, like I am already keyed in to the action of the plot. It could have been written after the title track, which follows the opener, where the melodic themes hinted at in the “interlude” are stretched out and more fully developed. Everything here is arranged in well fit layers, like an actor in a period costume, whom Torngat might well be providing the soundtrack for. A kaleidoscope of timbres illuminates the hierarchies of the harmonic spectrum, all glowing, washed in the thick espresso sludge of reverb and carefully attenuated distortion that coats all the remaining songs.

Whereas the edges come off rough hewn from the fuzzy swamp gas effects, shimmering melodies float gracefully rising like angels above the crinkling sheen of soft white noise. The group show themselves as being well listened in the prog rock and kraut arenas. Feedback, heavy riffing, and fluid drums (sometimes sounding like they are being played underwater), are all evident on songs like “L’Ecole Penitencier” and “Turtle Eyes & Fierce Rabbit.” “6:23 PM” shows a more subtle, ambient side: the slow but throbbing key playing on this track reminded me on every listen of the dreaminess of the classic Eno song “Spider and I.” This is in no way a disparagement of the piece, but added a weight of familiarity as well as mysteriousness. Gentle piano trickles, alongside a windy electric blur, keep it full bodied and well rounded.

The real light of the group shines through on pieces like “Afternoon Moon Pie” and “Going Whats What,” streaming, coaxed out of the curved brass that is the French horn. Whereas many bands will have garish tracks full of bombast and unnecessary pomp when they bring in a horn section, a single French horn imparts a more pure kind of regality altogether. For Torngat it has the benefit of setting them apart from the crowd.



The Eye: Video of the Day


Ten years ago, launched The Eye, one of the first regular music oriented video features online. Over the years, close to 150 mini documentaries were produced from live and interview footage with some of the most innovative acts. In the last few weeks, the videos have been re-visited, re-mastered, and re-presented on YouTube. We're excited for the new resolution, sound, and clarity of these features, along with the portability afforded by YouTube. Over the next few weeks we will be randomly selecting features on the home page here of Brainwashed but you can always  Start at the beginning and see where it takes you!

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Muslimgauze, "Uzi Mahmood"
cover imageTowards the end of his career, Soleilmoon put in a request to the late Bryn Jones to put together some material that was conventional enough to allow some crossover into the electronic and dance scenes.  This wasn’t an absurd request, because at this time his work more than flirted with dance and hip-hop beats, but often it was just as likely to slide into harsh, abrasive textures.  The proposed 12" requested by the label was delivered as a 90 minute DAT, all of which is reproduced here.  It is two discs of the most ass shaking, head-nodding material he ever did that conjures images of burka clad women shaking their asses, Miami bass style.
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