Sven B. Schreiber
As the album title "Variations" already suggests, this is a reworking of something previously existing - in this case the bands debut album "Cut The Plans". However, those "Variations" take really extreme measures, tearing the songs apart and reassembling them in a thoroughly new way, to an extent that renders them hardly recognizable. While "Cut The Plans" was a noisy post-metal album, "Variations" now has become a wonderfully lush post-rock album with hauntingly beautiful, mostly clean guitar sounds.
Favorite track: Parys.
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all of a sudden it's instrumental. quiet songs prevail. song structures, never having been too explicit in the first place, further dissolve. naming it »variations«, torchous put out a second album that seems to have but little in common with its predecessor, »cut the plans«. this may be an act of courage from a relatively non-famous band, one might regard it as an act of thoughtlessness, naiveté, the renowned anti-posture maybe, or why not assume the conscious negation of market mechanisms? but just maybe the band's motives and motivations stem from something else.
maybe it's just plain enthusiasm for music, one's own music, at that. so in the end, the difference in sound is not that radical inasmuch as this music is heard from teh beginning to the end, be it the rich, . take the rich, exuberant harmonics, the sophisticated rhythm studies, the eagerness to go into detail. the band's approach to making music has not changed fundamentally. it is the way of putting that approach into real sounds and songs that is different. it is doubtful whether we will ever know what produces the feeling of having completed something in a creative process. a song is always an arbitrary result. possibly incited by these assumptions, torchous dismantle and deconstruct their songs. the remaining ideas form the basis for a new departure. torchous are remixing themselves, in real-time, as a collective, open to any conclusions. the results are rather tracks than songs, at times they are virtually impossible to trace back to their origins, but they create new possibilities.
the new old songs are lighter and more playful than the originals, granting easier access. torchous give their music the space and the time it needs to develop and to take different directions. their is no obtrusion towards the listener to attentively follow its movements. the songs focus less on reason and more on intuition and - let's just name it, shan't we - tenderness. fortunately much of this atmosphere has been captured in the recording process. the music has been mastered carefully and lightly, preserving the liveliness, the space and, most importantly, the dynamics. similar to recordings of classical music, the quiet parts are really and truly quiet, the louder sections therefore even more impressive. it is, from a global point of view, quite sad that these special features are so special.
but anyway. last, but not least, this music is simply and stunningly beautiful.
The Chicago wunderkind's debut album is half lo-fi hip-hop pianos and breakneck drumming, half polished pop songs full of orchestral arrangements and whimsical but melancholic melodies. Bandcamp Album of the Day Nov 23, 2020