Toulouse Low Tracks
“Jumping Dead Leafs”
(Bureau B Records)
Anyone that has been listening to much electronic music from Germany in the preceding ten or so years would be aware that some of the most notable sounds of this genre have originated from within the musical collective that is based around three bands from the Dusseldorf area. Those bands are (in no particular order) Tarwater, To Rococco Rot and Kreidler, and since they formed in the mid 1990s theirs is a mutual reputation that has continued to grow. And while I won’t pretend to be an encyclopedic expert on their work, I saw all three of these bands share a stage when they visited the UK at the end of the 90s – To Rococco Rot and Kreidler played live while Tarwater DJ’d if I remember correctly. Anyhow, in the two decades since those shows they’ve continued to pursue their collective and individual visions, a process that reached a culmination of sorts with Tarwater’s 2012 ‘Inside The Ships’ album, a definite creative highlight for all involved.
Of course it hasn’t stopped there. Detlef Weinrich is a member of Kreidler and also another side project Toresch, and ‘Jumping Dead Leafs’ is his fourth solo release. Described as variously Post Rock, Ambient and Neoclassical, once again I need to separate my preconceptions from what is actually on the stereo. Basically, Weinrich is doing exactly what he wants to in the studio and with a practised flair : over eight tracks and thirty eight minutes of often one-take experimentation, underpinned with percussive additions that, in this instance, aren’t the sole purpose of the individual tracks. Anyone expecting a set of club numbers or lengthy improvisations will need to look elsewhere.
I would like a bit more insight into what Weinrich is actually doing though. The press release for ‘Jumping Dead Leafs’ mentions J.S. Bach alongside Drum and Bass and Psychedelia, along with relying on repetition and the basic Techno essentials. First track ‘Inverted Sea’ shuffles along with a rhythmic wave form and spoken interjections over phased bass lines and clattering woodblocks. ‘Berrytone Souvenir’ is taken at a more leisurely pace although it isn’t exactly laid back, again finding a tune in some scattered percussion over minimal basslines.
The albums title track brings a film noir atmosphere alongside the abrasive rhythms and vocal interjections, a more defined Techno sound than what has preceded it. ‘Dawn Is Temporal’ sees Weinrich fully realising his percussive ambitions, the bassline is incidental to the mechanics of the drum tracks and echoing vocal samples. Lastly, ‘Sales Pitch’ is something of an extended take on what has gone before, leaving the listener with the impression of having heard an almost forty minute extended mix of a single track. Of course that isn’t what has just happened, although I would speculate that it’s Weinrich’s actual intention to leave his audience a bit bewildered as to what they’ve actually heard.
If you appreciate this sort of electronic collage, you probably won’t hear it performed with more ability and subtle sonic trickery than from the current Dusseldorf school of bands, whose approaching three decades of experience in taking the club and Techno sounds beyond their usual limits continues to find results. Rather than beat us over the head with mind numbing overdrive, Toulouse Low Trax smooth the edges of their ragged jumble of sounds and throw them haphazardly together. A definite case of less being actually more.