Producer for Guided by Voices, one half of Brother Earth, and musician for many other projects, Todd Tobias has gone at it alone to produce his second solo album. In this release Mr Tobias has developed 16 instrumental soundscapes, each depicting an imaginary city, each with its own characteristics, atmosphere, and skyline.
The tour from city to city sees some sharp contrasts with a range that includes chilling desolate ghost towns, loud partying nightlife. harsh industrial areas, and some calm airy places. The contrasts make for quite a jagged journey but at the same time allow the differences to be fully realised and appreciated. Each track is full of vivid imagery and atmosphere allowing you to feel as if you are actually visiting these fictitious cities, even if in some cases they are cities you wouldn’t care to see.
Lamura opens the album in a soft yet creepy fashion. The music drifts along with a certain chilling factor giving the feeling of wandering through a ghost town at night. Kur, the album’s lead single, is a more rocking piece. Led by a roaring guitar there is a lot more life and activity complete with a certain uplifting party vibe that is a little edgy. Pyrrus is a rough, industrial offering bringing out a confronting steel and unwelcoming feel.
Dravidia is a harsh and confronting tune full of sharp piecing sounds. There is a certain Transylvanian atmosphere exerted as it feels like you are racing around a dark and haunted castle courtyard late at night. Gorgum Reeth continues the dark menacing feel, making you feel like you are wondering around in where ever Erasurehead was set.
Saz brightens things up a fair bit with a great rock anthem feel. The stadium guitar gives off a massive party vibe.
Gazark has a harsh heavy metal sound with a spooky psychedelic backdrop. This creates the feel of a horror movie soundtrack, set in some remote and uninviting location. Iranoi provides a little comfort with a calmer vibe, yet at the same time has a feeling of hiding from something more scary.
Smazbaal, the album’s longest track, takes an epic journey though a battered and desolate place full of abandoned factories and polluted wastelands. This is pushed to the side by the active sounds of Nargesh racing around like a subway through the exciting yet dangerous nightlife.
The album closes on a lighter note with Akrova. There is a nice balance of chilled out ambience with uplifting African-sounding dance beats. This results in a relaxed yet active vibe.
This is a mighty album that will take you on an epic journey in more ways than one. The album works like a tour of 16 unique cities and as a result may leave you tired by the end. However like an actual tour, it also provides an action packed adventure with a ton of eye opening experiences!
Check out Todd Tobias’s webpage to find out more!