Ambiance: Beyond Dub and Downtempo
To those who say the ambient electronica scene peaked during the early 2000s, I say the best has yet to come. When it comes to the often esoteric, downtempo outfit, Tosca, this Austrian twosome helped blaze trails back when chill music was the hip thing and have since been expanding the ever pronounced divide between dub and downtempo electronica. Fast forward to 2013 and their 10 track studio album, Odeon, still displays an array of downtempo delights.
The eerily tranquil intro on “Zur Guten Ambience” leads listeners into the illustrious world of Tosca. This is a world of warm, ambient landscapes constructed from progressive layers of synthetic electronics which echo onward endlessly.
Every track on Odeon has an aptitude for creating vivid imagery by way of their elaborate soundscapes. Fancy a trip to the beach? The synths on “What If” are like holding a conch to your ear. The instrumental track, “Soda,” is reminiscent of a rainy day spent relaxing indoors. While this particular imagery may be subjective, the existence of vibrant, thought provoking musical layers is undeniable.
The album waxes and wanes in style, from the Depeche Mode-esque “Jayjay” to the Modeselektor-gone-dub sounding “Meinxer.” Although some of the vocals are done in German, some in English, and some being purely instrumental tracks, fans of the old school Eurpean downtempo scene will definitely get a kick out of Odeon.
The greatest thing about being in the music industry for over 15 years is that, by the time you are ready to put out your sixth studio album, you have been making music that is a sincere artistic expression with no pretext whatsoever; something that is seen too often with debut and sophomore releases. Although Tosca is far from becoming a househould name here in the States, they have long since earned their status as legends amongst Austrian downtempo enthusiasts and beyond. Odeon only further reinforces that status.