TROPIC OF COLDNESS-FRAMED WAVES.

Tropic Of Coldness-Framed Waves.

Label: Glacial Movements.

It was after a chance meeting in Brussels, Belgium, during November, 2011, between American guitarist, synth and sample player David Gutman, and Italian vocalist, guitarist and fellow ‘sample player’ Giovanni, that led to them forming Tropic Of Coldness.

Since then, Tropic Of Coldness have released one EP and four genre-melting albums where they combine elements of ambient, avant-garde, drone, electroacoustic, experimental and musique concrète. This includes Framed Waves which has just been released on Glacial Movements and is a cinematic album that is rich in imagery. It shows how far Tropic Of Coldness have come since they began their musical journey just under seven years ago.

When David Gutman and Giovanni first met in November, 2011, the two musicians were already involved with bands. David Gutman was the guitarist, synth and sample player with the electro-experimental project Drawing Virtual Gardens who were familiar faces on the Brussels music scene. 

Meanwhile, Giovanni was also a member of Fuji Apple Worship, who were based in North-East Italy. Giovanni was the band’s vocalist, guitarist and sample player, and had much in common with David Gutman.

In many ways, it was a meeting of musical minds and David Gutman and Giovanni decided to form a new band which they called Tropic Of Coldness. This more than hinted at the type of ambient music that they were about to release.

By March 2012, Tropic Of Coldness were ready to self-release their debut EP Commuting as a digital download. It was well received, and was later released as a CDR by the Cathedral Transmissions label. This it was hoped would allow a wider audience to hear Tropic Of Coldness’ debut EP Commuting and worked. When 2012 drew to a close, Commuting was included on a couple of the best of 2012 end of year lists.

Buoyed by the response to Commuting, Tropic Of Coldness were already preparing to release their debut album Unrelated Causalities in February 2013. It was self-released as a digital download and a limited edition of 100 CDRs. Just like Commuting, Unrelated Causalities found Tropic Of Coldness sculpting soundscapes which were a fusion of ambient, dark ambient and drone music. Unrelated Causalities was well received by critics and Tropic Of Coldness would soon complete their next album.

This was Demography Of Data which Tropic Of Coldness began recording in March 2013. It took fourteen months to record just six soundscapes which were completed in May 2014. Six months later, Demography Of Data was released on the ‘26th’ of November 2014 by Organic Industries as a digital download. Demography Of Data was a mixture of ambient, avant-garde, dark ambient and drone and experimental. This was the most ambitious and accomplished album of Tropic Of Coldness’ short career.

After the release of Demography Of Data, nothing was heard of Tropic Of Coldness for nearly three years. Meanwhile, David Gutman and Giovanni were working on their own projects.

The busiest member of Tropic Of Coldness was David Gutman. He hadn’t released any new music as Drawing Virtual Gardens since their 2012 EP Notes Before Travelling. In 2015, he started to make up for the lack of music from Drawing Virtual Gardens during the last three years. The albums Six Weeks Were Too Long Too Wait and The Osmotic Memory of JJ Bhagee were  released in 2015, with Charcoals and  Heartbeats Of A Premature Image following in 2016. David Gutman had just enjoyed the most creative period of his career.

By then, Tropic Of Coldness had returned to the studio and had recorded and mixed their new album Déplacés between May and December 2016. However, it was another year before Déplacés was released as a digital download by Shimmering Moods Records, in December 2017. It was well received by critics and found Tropic Of Coldness combining ambient and drones on what was their third album in just six years. 

What many people didn’t know was that Tropic Of Coldness had already recorded the five tracks that would become their fourth album Framed Waves. The five tracks Distilled Conversation, The Pride Of Our Sails, Two and A Half Stones, They Rested, Then Blossomed and Framed Waves had been composed and sculpted by the two members of Tropic Of Coldness in Brussels, Belgium, between September 2015 and February 2016. 

American guitarist synth and sample player David Gutman, and Italian vocalist, guitarist and fellow sample player Giovanni entered the studio where they began work on Framed Waves. The pair also deployed a myriad of samples, field recordings and drones as they sculpted five new glacial soundscapes that were cinematic and rich in imagery.

Distilled Conversation opens Framed Waves, and meanders and floats along gradually revealing its hidden secrets. It’s a minimalist soundscape where the meditative and melodic music ebbs and flows. Meanwhile, the two members of Tropic Of Coldness seamlessly   combine elements of ambient, avant-garde drone and electroacoustic music as synths sweep, a guitar cheeps and later, shimmering glistening sounds emerge. They play their part in a beautiful, dreamy soundscape that is meditative and melodic and is a tantalising taste of what’s ahead.

This includes The Pride Of Our Sails which is very different from the previous track. Gone is the understated soundscape, which is replaced by a dramatic and cinematic soundscape. It ebbs and flows, veering between ethereal and elegiac against the dramatic cinematic backdrop. Sometimes, the soundscape becomes eerie as creaks and squeaks and otherworldly sounds add to the drama as. Later, the soundscape becomes understated, but the drama remains during this eight-minute epic that is rich in imagery.

Mesmeric describes the introduction to Two and A Half Stones as this ambient soundscape seems reluctant to reveal its cinematic secrets. Soon, sounds assail the listener and paint pictures in the mind’s eye. Tropic Of Coldness deploy washes of synths and a dark, dramatic and droning gothic strings. Adding a contrast is a chirping guitar and haunting,celestial and ethereal sounds. They’re part of what sounds like the soundtrack to a short film, as it ebbs and flows revealing its secrets, drama and darkness. Contrasts abound during this genre-melting, multilayered soundscape. Much later, and with less than a minute of this eleven-minute soundscape remaining, it becomes minimalist, filmic and ruminative as it encourages reflection.

They Rested, Then Blossomed has a shimmering, minimalist arrangement as it meanders along. Soon, ethereal and celestial sounds are added and add a degree of drama that builds. Still, the main part of the arrangement shimmers and once again, contrasts abound. Especially as the drama grows and processed guitars are added to the multilayered arrangement. By then, it’s a fusion of ambient, avant-garde, dark ambient and experimental music. Soon, it’s all change as the soundscape becomes understated although it continues to quiver and shiver. After that, it’s just synths, drones and a chirping guitar that are combined to sculpt the soundscape It murmurs and drones then takes on a thoughtful sound before dissipating into the ether, leaving just a memory this captivating soundscape.

The title-track closes Framed Waves,  buzzing, droning and whining as this dramatic, cinematic soundscape quickly takes shape. Just like Two and A Half Stones, it sounds as if it’s part of the soundtrack to a short film. Tropic Of Coldness create a degree of tension, but as the soundscape glistens and shimmers, guitar chirp and synth strings sweep. Soon, the music veers between dark and dramatic to slow, understated and spacious. Samples and field recording are used to spring surprises, before an organ adds to the drama. It’s best described as gothic and liturgical as the soundscape lumbers almost menacingly along. Filmic is the best word to describe the soundscape  before layers of synths band processed guitars are added to the mix. The guitar reverberates while the arrangement drones and meanders along, before this ambitious, filmic soundscape dissipates after twelve minutes.

After making music for the best part of seven years, Tropic Of Coldness have released what is the finest album of their career, Framed Waves, on  Glacial Movements. Framed Waves marks the coming of age of Tropic Of Coldness as they reach new musical heights with genre-melting cinematic album.

The two members of Tropic Of Coldness spent five months recording Framed Waves, where they combine elements of ambient, avant-garde, drone, electroacoustic, experimental and musique concrète during five soundscapes. They’re variously beautiful and dreamy or meditative and melodic and minimalist and sometimes dark. dramatic and eerie. Other times, the music is thoughtful and ruminative and encourages reflection. However, mostly, the sounds aces on Framed Waves are cinematic and rich in imagery as Tropic Of Coldness paint pictures with their unique brand of music on what’s a career-defining album.

Tropic Of Coldness-Framed Waves.

2 Comments

  1. Cool, now I have something to look up.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  1. Derekmusikblog – Framed Waves – TROPIC OF COLDNESS

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