Demography Of Data
The last album I heard from Tropic Of Coldness was “Commuting”. I was impressed with its lithe mellifluousness in melody and contrasts between compositional rigidity. I like “Demography Of Data” even more! This LP progresses along the roulette-spinning rimshot of Grouper, Lawrence English and Loren Connors. It’s instrumental — no vocals — and speaks in a soft voice, stepping quietly towards a kind of polarity enuui — harmonic heat with moodiness cold, candle with no flame to power it, only ultramundane energy.
That’s a benefit as the imagery is also ultramundane; a beyond-physical experience transcending mere enjoyment, enacting something deeply immersive, like gazing out on a coastline. ‘Circles In An Empty Square’ is all reverberant guitar power chords with a shoegaze-y shimmer to it. “Brain Drain, Curly Girl” goes further into fragments and shares its ground with thoughtful tapestries of afterlife bliss. My favourite moment, however, comes halfway through the album with the aptly-titled ‘The Distressing Dilemma Of Rational Choices’. A pensive drone starts out the piece with layers of guitar feedback gradually on the attack. It has something in common with depression and sleep — the polarities at work as sleep relieves depression — so is perfect personally. For 10 minutes you feel like the world has cocooned you in a gentle shell and is caressing your ears with a warm drone pulse that breathes like a lion after nailing a large kill.
Tropic Of Coldness, it could be said, use synthetic textures and organic guitar treatments to produce a gorgeous, time-lapsed sound that feels at no odds with technology, which makes it partly timeless, the banquet that’s always there for you in times of crisis. This quality is no mean feat to achieve — and it’s easy to say there’s a wealth of similar stuff out there — but only when we have focus so exact on the music at hand does the message reveal itself to us as a better-than, rather not an also-ran. If you’ve been intrigued by any of the sounds I’ve reviewed for Fluid Radio in the past 130 instalments, I can say this is one of the most memorable and affecting for me — it is right up my street, I can listen and savour it like a creamy curry sauce. Tropic Of Coldness produce creamy and dreamy ambient gems, and with “Demography Of Data”, they’ll solidify their place as needed chefs.