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Tonetraeger

This Is Not Here (Quartermass)

Tonetraeger is an electronic duo from Düsseldorf whose dissatisfaction with being an electronic duo from Düsseldorf is their biggest problem. Rather than just stick to layering willowy vocals over humming organs and hiccuping percussion -- a trick they turn nicely for the bulk of This Is Not Here -- Tonetraeger feels compelled to pay lip service to the pop song, and the three milky, guitar-based ballads that result upset what is an otherwise stirring and hypnotic mood piece.

On their stronger material, Tonetraeger shows how to be sedate without being boring; these songs are like murmurs in a dark room, offering hints of sound without concrete shape. Tender three-note cycles rise, repeat and disappear, are joined and then replaced by misty whole-note synth lines. It's like staring at the aurora borealis until individual color bands become distinct. The interruption of such glorious sustained subtlety with trad pop is like slapping a Colorform on a Monet.

 
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