Sunday, November 08, 2015
Troum - Mare Morphosis
Transgredient Records. TR-09. CD
Troum & Yen Pox - Mnemonic Induction
Transgredient Records. TR-11. CD
Once upon a time there was a cassette only label called Direction Music run by a man called Peter Harrison. Direction Music released music by the likes of Vidna Obmana and Morphogenesis, Nurse With Wound appeared on an early compilation tape and Colin Potter seemed to be heavily involved as producer, contributor and tape duplicator. I used to write to Peter and send him money and in return I’d receive some of his tapes and more often than not a long hand written letter detailing all the music he’d bought recently, usually expensive Miles Davies and John Coltrane box sets. The man was a true music fan and like all good label owners and music fans he only ever released music that he truly loved.
I bought Maeror Tri releases from Peter because I liked their ambience and used to carry their cassettes around with me in an Eno-esqu bid to create my own ambiences and then one day in 2000 Peter Harrison sadly died leaving behind a back catalogue of 28 releases and that was that.
Maeror Tri morphed in to Troum who I sort of kept tabs on for a while but eventually, as is my directionless way, I found myself wandering down different avenues of musical exploration. So it was with some sense of glee that I opened a package containing two Troum releases and wondered how they were getting on.
What happened next can only be described as a moment of earth shattering devastation. It was as if the foundations of my very being had been rent asunder. For some reason Troum had recorded something so utterly awful, so ear displeasingly bad that I had to remind myself that this was in fact Troum and not some Black Metal Symphonic Rock hybrid the result of a very drunken conversation between a Norwegian Death Metal band and someone who had a trumpet who one night, after far too many Jagerbombs decided to make a record together.
I am talking of Mare Morphosis [itself a clunky linking of the shortening of ‘nightmare’ and ‘Morphosis, unless this has something to do with horses and I’ve got hold of the wrong end of the stick completely] an almost hour long battle between pounding drums, climaxing bass runs and heavy synth breathing. It has, in all honesty, to be one of the most disfiguring hours I’ve ever spent in my entire life, a thing so lumpy and ungainly and so horrible to listen to that I want to be not to be able to recall it ever again as long as I live.
What Troum have created with Mare Morphosis [the third and final installment in the Power Romantic series I’ve just discovered] is a kind of hideous New Age Ambient Symphonic Rock, as if ever such an ungodly thing could ever exist. A thirteen minute intro of those drums followed by some noodley atmospheric snyth and some deep breathing before the sodding drums come back to pound my senses into submission once more. My jaw doth drop open.
As you can imagine, inserting the Yen Pox collaboration into the player shortly afterwards was nothing less than traumatic but thankfully the results less than harmful.
Mnemonic Induction is of the throbbing bass rumble undertow school of ambient and the kind of droning ambience that benefits from having a decent hi-fi up so as to capture the power of low end drone. The kind of drone as heard in the cargo hold of propeller planes as you make your way across vast expanses of ocean, the kind of drone upon which you can layer all manner of atmospheres [some like to say ‘textures but I find that word difficult to use seeing as how it conjures up images of things you can touch not hear] that go towards creating the kind of ethereal rumble I so used to enjoy on La Bradford records, the way they used to give the bass guitar five minutes to play ten notes. Empty spaces filled with roaring drones. Not bad and after what had gone before, nothing short of a miracle.
What we have here is a reworking by Yen Pox of a fifteen year old Troum work. Perhaps we have Yen Pox to thank for this not being the self indulgent twaddle that Mare Morphosis is. Either way this had me digging around for those old Maeror Tri cassettes until I remembered that I sold them to a Russian collector a few years back. Life goes on.