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Totakeke – The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes

Totakeke - The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes

2CD, Tympanik Audio, 2009

There might be some upsides to the tough economic times, as it seems like Frank Mokros (Totakeke, Ativ, Synth-Etik) might be unemployed. Or at least I assume he’s unemployed, as it seems like his projects have a new album out coming out every other month.
“The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes” makes you feel like you’re drunkenly trying to put together an aural jigsaw puzzle – there’s a lot of different shaped/colored pieces and you’re just not sure where any of them go. Many of the tracks are overwhelming, as there’s way too much stuff happening. Maybe it’s because originally I made the mistake of listening to this album while trying to read Proust, but I just couldn’t concentrate on either music or book. In tracks such as “Lost and Falling,” there’s a multiplicity of ambient sounding loops trying to punch through a very narrow keyhole of my stereo speakers. If you suffer from “attention problems” (or ADD if you want to use the pop-psych lingo) “The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes” gets a bit nerve breaking.
I think the biggest mistake of the album is use of a few over-used film samples. While I realize that, for some, these samples hold some form of indexical quality, holding their very frail world together, I just wish we could move on. The opening track, “Past Forgotten,” features the infamous, over-used samples from the accidental comedy, The Prophecy (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, anytime you hear a sample involving angels killing, it’s from that movie). The unfortunate use of the Memento sample in “Permanent Note” (makes sense, I guess, with the song title, but it’s just that I hate that movie, as it seemed like nothing more then a poor defense of cognitive psychology)… But on upside, it has a great sounding “clubbish” bass line.
The club-like bass lines are actually a trace of the change in the Totakeke sound. This new approach seems to put much less complexity in the rhythm, and much more emphasis on digestible synth lines. What’s really surprising is that there are relatively few traces of noticeable use of distortion – they’re present, they just don’t really stand out. And tracks like “The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes” touch upon a club-friendly electro feel (though I suppose using the word electro probably causes more confusion than using the word IDM). Hell, the DJ of your local Euro-gay bar – assuming that you have one of those – could easily sneak in a track like “Where I Belong.”
However, the most (guilt-free) enjoyable aspect is its use of dissonance. I don’t know, nor care, whether this occurred because of trying to jam too many things in the mix or if it was intentional. There’s an amazing use of atonal arpeggios in “Disconnected Inside.” And while I hate “industrial-piano”, the dissonance created in “Patient HM” works fabulously in roughing the texture of the album. At its stronger moments “The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes” has a slight Anton Webern feel to it.
But the real gems of this release are on the second disc. While the re-works of old Totakeke tracks are novel, they didn’t get me that excited. The remixes done by other artists do exactly what you think they’re going to do and do it well. So if you were listening to the first disc and wondering, “What would this Totakeke track sound with drum done by [insert other Tympanik artist],” you’ll be getting just that. But the true pot of gold at the end of the tunnel is the progressive trance anthem remix of “Burried Is…” – it’s cheesier than most of the stuff you don’t want your friends to know that you listen to, but it will definitely make you want to go to the disco.


— Lemmy S.

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