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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.



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Review of the Day

t.raumschmiere, "the great rock 'n' roll swindle"
Shitkatapult / Kompakt
Is there too much I in your DM? Leading innovators in fun electronic dance music, Kompakt, has teamed up with the Berlin-based Shitkatapult label to release this full-lengther from Marco Haas (owner/operator of the Shitkatapult label). While it might not have the Coil-sample based tune or noise-based numbers from the recent live shows with Telefon Tel Aviv, it certainly has the fiery, raw energy that made the night F-U-N. Many readers might recognize the name from Hefty remixes or Kompakt compilations, but this release is far more deep, dark and sweaty than what might be expected from those tunes. Fuzzy digital bass and insanely punchy beats line a number of the tunes, the others are equally as fat-sounding; all are built of the stuff that makes the ass want to shake uncontrollably. (I can still even picture Marco's head bopping up and down just like Flat Eric.) Ripping the album title from an obvious punk reference, the artwork also clearly makes a stab at the punk days of stenciling. Heed the signs on the wall: this isn't a "pretty" or cute album. This is the stuff that can turn any dance floor into a seedy, sweaty meat market. Listening to songs like "Ravemusik," it seems painfully obvious that people like Chicks on Speed need to hire this German boy to make them some new beats. At only eight tracks, the album is a mighty fine treat and it's only the first of two full-length releases by Haas under the guise of T.Raumshmiere this year ('Anti' is due out in October through Hefty). Beg your local shops for this one or threaten the closest DJ shop with stink bombs if they look at you with the puppy-style cocked head.



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