From the first moment a certain encounter tempted ears and imagination, we have been haunted by its lure of atmospheric mystery, rhythmic manipulation, and crepuscular breath. Tranceaphone is an adventure of intrigue and mystery, a seduction of unpredictable charm and undiluted craft which became an itch under the skin in no time.
The source of unbridled magnetism is the new EP from Violent Femmes founding Victor DeLorenzo, the first recording under his name in 7 years and his sixth solo release overall. The musician, actor, writer, audio engineer and producer is also one-half of the chamber rock duo Nineteen Thirteen with cellist Janet Schiff who also features across the Tranceaphone EP’s five tracks alongside Milwaukee based DeLorenzo. The tracks within the release seed their lures in rhythmic invention, a frame and enterprise to which melodic and dextrous imagination wraps a further web of suggestion and implication. DeLorenzo has given clue to the birth of the EP by saying, “The ‘Tranceaphone’ EP is lovingly based on the idea of multiple layers of drum choirs that sing out not only in time, but with joyfully implied melodies that bob and weave. After recording different drum systems, I then wrote music that could breathe within the improvised drum set structures. “
It is a compelling adventure in sound which swiftly gripped attention through the EP’s opening title track. Also featuring the guitar and vocals of Mike Hoffmann, the song opens with the resonating pulse of DeLorenzo’s bass. It is quickly joined by the organised skittishness of a Gretsch snare drum and the similarly captivating touch of, unsurprisingly, a tranceaphone; their united contagion directing body and appetite as Schiff’s synth tempting weaves around the imagination.
The track breeds an infectiousness which infests the whole of the release but as the following Lullaby reveals its character is as unique each time just as that of the songs themselves. The second song skips in and swiftly the imagination found itself basking in the darkly shadowed intimation of Schiff’s cello and equally inky toned bass. All the while DeLorenzo’s voice casts bait as somnambulistic as it is spirited; a fusion just as potent within the uncomplicated yet rich enticement of keys.
Invisible Shadows is next up, it too calm yet animated in its gait and breath and as its predecessor casting a caliginous temptation upon ears and thoughts. The rhythmic grip and creative resonance of the song firmly echoes early XTC and indeed the brief melodic keys forged return just after its close has something of that band’s Barry Andrews about it before Then Don’t Say A Word strolls in on another rhythmic captivation instantly joined by a kaleidoscope of voice and melodic crystallisation; Schiff and DeLorenzo casting a short and gripping blend of defiance, melancholy and creative impulse.
Finally When She’s There rises up to captivate as thickly as all before it. With keys provided by Matt Meixner and additional vocals from Monia, the song serenades ears and hips equally. Again rhythms cast the heart and voice of the track, its uniqueness accentuated by keys and vocals as too its emotive breath and haunting persuasion.
It is an enthralling close to a beguiling and fascinating release; the Tranceaphone EP a mysterious rapture and beauty upon a minimalist rhythmic skeleton as bold, stirring and manipulative as that sonic secrecy it wears.
The Tranceaphone EP is out now via bFrecording; available digitally across key online stores and online streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music.
Pete RingMaster 09/05/2020
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