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MARTYN BATES / TROUM
To A Child Dancing In The Wind
Transgredient TR-03, 38:27
troum.com; eyelessingaza.com


Review by Steve Koenig

Dronemeister Troum (famous both as Troum, and for producing the amazing Drone label series of vinyl seven-inchers) meets wonderfully haunting singer Martyn Bates in their first audio collaboration.

Bate's Murder Ballads (with M. J. Harris) is one of my all-time favorite (triple) discs in any genre. He's probably most famous for his duo Eyeless In Gaza. Bates' voice has a beautiful Irish-sounding timbre; although you can imagine him doing simple, traditional Child ballads, it has a commanding ring when he extends it.

Troum is not "just" drone; these textures range from, well, drone to orchestral to folky. The result is felicitous: six extended, moody pieces, each a song in its own right. To accomplish this, Troum uses loops, accordion, guitars, djembe, guitar, voice and "choirs," whatever that means; Bates does harmonica, melodica and vocals. Texts are inside the beautiful triple-fold digipaks, each wistful poem akin to a song from a 21st century Winterreise. Deeply moving.

If it's still available, grab Troum's brilliant 2001 triptych Tjukurrpa, the second of which has a track dedicated to Bates.



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