Review: Troum - AIWS (2007)


artist: Troum
release: AIWS
format: CD
year of release: 2007
label: Trans­gredi­ent
dur­a­tion: 49:26

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Glit[s]ch and Baraka[h] are back with their first full length CD album in sev­eral years. After a few col­lab­or­a­tions and other things, they present us with AIWS. For those who aren’t famil­iar with Troum: they can be con­sidered one of Germany’s fore­most ambient/drone acts, and rose from the ashes of Maeror Tri, the project’s pre­de­cessor. The duo took its time, record­ing this album between 2002 and 2005, but the res­ult is well worth the wait.

The first remark­able thing is the art­work by Alan McCle­l­land: smoke, fire, warmth. Abstract visu­als the fit the music on this album per­fectly. Then there is the album title. Presen­ted on the front cover as A-I-W-S, and else­where as AIWS, it sug­gests more abstrac­tion, or per­haps an acronym? How­ever, aiws also hap­pens to be a Gothic (yes, I mean the lan­guage) word, mean­ing ‘etern­ity’. It would sur­prise me a great deal if this were a coin­cid­ence - but whichever way, a more fit­ting title for such an album is hard to ima­gine.

The music then: these tracks are, in a way, sur­pris­ingly lo-fi for a drone act of today. Everything was recor­ded using instru­ments (gui­tars, e-bow, flute, accor­dion) on 4 and 8-track record­ers. No digital manip­u­la­tion what­so­ever. Nev­er­the­less, these guys are experts when it comes to cre­at­ing deep and dron­ing sounds, and I don’t really miss the crys­tal clear pro­duc­tion that I usu­ally con­sider oblig­at­ory for this kind of music. Although Troum only uses instru­ments, all that remains in the final res­ult are spaced out - and spir­itual - waves and drones, divided into tracks that never become bor­ing or stale. Even the occa­sional vocals (on “Aggilus” and “[Ga]plaian”) are quite ‘out there’. There is a lot of melody every­where, ran­ging from threat­en­ing and dark to calm to mel­an­cholic, util­ising a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent sounds. There are dynam­ics between main melod­ies and deeper bass sup­port (espe­cially in the first track and the excel­lent “Neheh”), which give the tracks a nice devel­op­ment, bring­ing them as close to proper ‘songs’ as is pos­sible in a genre like this.

As a res­ult, AIWS is an access­ible album that has a great deal to offer to many kinds of listen­ers. I can’t do any­thing but urge any­one into exper­i­mental (ana­log) music to check this album out, as it’s very detailed and atmo­spheric, not to men­tion pro­found. A real proof of skill from these two men - and highly recom­men­ded.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Ahmateins (10:00)
2. Aggilus (1:51)
3. Spir­are (5:53)
4. Per Sonum (6:02)
5. Pan­tah (4:27)
6. [Ga]plaian (9:38)
7. Penthos (2:45)
8. Neheh (5:44)
9. Peletä (5:04)