CD, Zoharum, 2010
Here we have Germany’s ambient guitar drone heroes, Troum, kindly issuing two vinyl-only releases on one handy CD: the 2004 picture LP “Autopoiesis” and the 2005 limited 12” “Nahtscato”. Approaching this review in a rather sleepy and lethargic state, I find myself rather receptive to their hypnotic, dream-like works, my drowsy brain open to all kinds of suggestion.
The opening of the “Autopoiesis” half is a relatively short ethereal track with a gentle, soothing voice, before Part 2 increases the intensity with a dense, repetitive bass loop, overlaid with minimal, haunting lead guitar tones. When the bass gives way somewhere around the midpoint of the track, we are left in a desolate place, hot, dusty and fearful of who or what might be producing the brooding, growling sounds just around the corner. Part 3 begins with jarring, broken fragments of sound, taking some time to develop into some kind of distorted and disfigured space rock take on the opening from the previous track, before culminating in some satisfying atmospherics at the end. Part 4 is then more comforting, with sombre choral voices guiding the weary traveller back to the light.
On “Nahtscato” we begin with “O Choros Ton Epithymion”, foreboding tribal drumming beating the rhythm for a sinister ritual, with things really kicking off about the halfway mark when huge guitar drones take over. “Tsal” is airy and barren, until oppressive mechanical churning enters the picture, forcing us into a suffocating, claustrophobic hole. The title track then gives some warmer textures, with a curiously ancient feeling, accentuated by the obscure voices creeping in and out of earshot.
There are then two bonus tracks in order to persuade owners of the original vinyl to check out this CD, firstly an alternate version of “Autopoiesis Part 4”, which appears to be identical to the original. There is then “Balt Caps”, presumably an addition to the “Nahtscato” tracks, which is really classic Troum, using an apparently very simple set-up to create some powerful emotions. If you’re already into Troum, you’ll love this, although it might not be worth buying for owners of the original vinyls. If you’re new to Troum, this could be a good starting point, although the only real complaint, which might put newcomers off, would be that occasionally things may become repetitive and overly simple. But for the main part, here are some really fine, deep drones!
— Nathan Clemence