Germany’s Troum produce an instrumental blend of music which can be both beautiful and horrifying — often in the same song. Their music has been called Dark Ambient, but what they do is so far removed from typical genre categories that it is nearly impossible to classify.
Their latest release, Eald-Ge-Streon, speaks for itself. The emotional depth these seven tracks evoke in the listener is somewhat startling. Troum is an old German word which translates to the modern-day “dream.” The variety of moods Troum incorporate on Eald-Ge-Streon really do work to evoke a unique state of mind.
“Elation” opens the record up in an appropriately ambiguous way. Intentional or not, the song reminds me of nothing so much as the extended introduction to Welcome To The Pleasure Dome by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. I have a feeling, however, that the gothic portentousness of the track is meant as anything but camp. In any event though, “Elation” serves as one hell of an introduction.
The payoff comes next, with “Usque Sumus Lux”. This is what Troum are all about and why their music is so hard to describe. The song has an undeniably tribal feel, and the guitar feedback and loops add an element of color rarely heard in this context. The most prominent characteristic amidst all this seeming noise is an absolutely intoxicating melody.
Both “Eolet” and “Dhanu” qualify for what is commonly considered “ambient” these days and either song would've fit perfectly on the From Here To Tranquility samplers released by the legendary Silent Records a few years back. The tracks serve as brief respites among the mayhem that is Eald-Ge-Streon.
The remaining three cuts go all the way. “Ecstatic Forlorness” gets right into it with a driving, tribal beat. Clocking in at over nine minutes, the song takes the listener down many roads less traveled, yet never loses sight of the original path. Likewise for “Procession.”
“Crescere” is Eald-Ge-Streon’s piece de resistance. With nearly 17 minutes to play with, Troum pull out all the stops. “Crescere” is sort of a condensed version of the album itself. From the gothic drone introduction to an intensely tribal beat, and on into some incredible guitar pyrotechnics, everything Troum do so well is showcased on this song.
With the first 500 copies of Eald-Ge-Streon, Troum have included a bonus CD titled Abhuna. Comprised of one 33-minute track, it's a fascinating extra. For me, though, it could have used a little bit of editing, but what the hell? Abhuna is a welcome addition to this already excellent set.
Kudos are in order for Troum’s label, Beta-lactam Ring Records, for yet another outstanding package. The liner notes are superb as are the graphics and slipcases. If only the rest of the world could present their music with such style and class.