Review: Troum - Grote Mandrenke (2012)


artist: Troum
release: Grote Man­drenke
format: CD
year of release: 2012
label: Beta-lactam Ring
dur­a­tion: 44:02

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Me: Yo, I’m look­ing for a great new record.
Troum: Don’t worry, we got this.

This ger­man duo is one of those artists that you can rely on to deliver a great release at least once every two years. Mare Idio­phonika and Eald-Ge-Stréon were the two latest heavy hit­ters as far as I’m con­cerned, but this new one, Grote Man­drenke, fits that list per­fectly. Based on a selec­tion of their typ­ical ana­log drones com­posed in live set­tings, it con­tin­ues the oceanic theme of Mare, but far less abstractly, focus­ing on the hor­rible Second St. Mar­cel­lus Flood, known in the local Low Saxon as Grote Man­drenke, the great drown­ing of man.

To my ears, the long work can be divided into three main parts. The first move­ment of ten minutes or so has a steady, mid-tempo rhythm with lots of wavy chords and drones, as well as many melodic parts. It is a rather full com­pos­i­tion but lovely in its warmth and cadence. There is the nag­ging sus­pi­cion, though, that this same cadence might be the swell­ing of the North Sea, still some­where off the coast.

The second part, last­ing over fif­teen minutes, reminds me of the beaches, the calm before the storm, and the slow swell­ing of air and water cur­rents. It has a con­sist­ent melodic pat­tern, start­ing out very min­im­ally, but increas­ing in intens­ity towards the album’s twenty-five minute mark. The sounds retain their light­ness though, until the point where the storm really hits. When it does, thick basses and low melod­ies drift in slowly, as well as a drum rhythm, all of which build to a bril­liant cres­cendo of destruct­ive power, form­ing the last main part of the album.

Because the forces of nature are so com­pel­lingly music­al­ised on Grote Man­drenke, you’d almost for­get the human suf­fer­ing, but per­haps that’s what the four minute clos­ing move­ment to the album is for: a mel­an­cholic, drift­ing cloud of lament­ing voices and airy melod­ies.

The album is com­pletely in line with some of the best mater­ial the duo has released thus far, being var­ied, evoc­at­ive, and very catchy at times. Although Grote Man­drenke doesn’t explore any new aven­ues for the band, it is con­vin­cing through and through and it’ll take a lot more of albums like this before I’m tired of it. Excel­lent work!

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. (44:02)