From Drone Records in Bremen, the two-disc set Troum Transformation Tapes (TRANSGREDIENT RECORDS TR-13) is a generous helping of very droney music – lovers of this genre of digital drone, and associated fields such as dark ambient or industrial-lite, will find much to enjoy. Troum are a German duo, the successors effectively to Maeror Tri (the slightly darker 1980s industrial act who only worked with processed guitars), and they’ve been active for 20 years; this set marks the anniversary, and is credited to Various Artists. Numerous friends of Troum – and other bands whom Troum admire – were invited to contribute.
I appreciate we’re not supposed to call this a “standard remix collection”, but Troum music seems to have formed the basis for much of this output, either by way of collaging and remakes, or just plain “inspiration”. This format seems a bit old hat to me; the Viva Negativa! box set was one benchmark in this overcrowded field, and that was in 2006. I found most of Troum Transformation Tapes just too “rich” for my ears on tonight’s spin, dronewerks packed with layers and swirls that ultimately turn into so much mushroom soup, so I will single out the colder and more minimal statements which I enjoyed. Vance Orchestra’s ‘Gascei’ is quite nice in its pursuit of a sense of creeping doom, admirable because it does it using small sounds and a relentless persistence, which borders on the harrowing. It is a reworked track; the players, Wellink and Deters, intended to convey the meaning of the word (it translates as “glacier”) as a slow unstoppable force. Contrastate’s ‘The Silent Fish’ has an edginess which is OK, but they ruin it for me with a pompous voice segment.
There’s Nadja (the prolific Aidan Baker) with ‘Mirrored In You’ whose subdued mood works for me for the most part, but grows soft-centred and tasteful. Ure Thrall’s ‘Krypte’ is eerie and gloomy. I see this SF guy has his own label Discorporeality Recordings on which there’s a ton of material since the 1990s. I liked the breathing effects on ‘Chaneism’ by Markow C. and the use of a single-note drone. There’s a case to be made for the first half of disc two, where for 3-4 tracks we get some hard-ish beats and a nice sense of cybernetic sci-fi doom menace in the steely clanking sounds, but these moments seem uncharacteristic of the remainder.
There’s also a booklet of notes with a para or two written by each contributor; gets a bit too insider-y for me, too much of the mutual appreciation society, but at least they are heartfelt sentiments. Quite a lavish tri-fold digipak with embossed covers, but the printing and awful brown colours make for a murkoid experience on the eyes. From 16th August 2018.