Toulouse Low Trax – Mask Talk

It’s quiet, restrained, and well mannered at times, but so bloody inappropriate!

Oh, how I love this LP. It’s not for everyone but I entreat you, give it time and you’ll be finding yourself playing it over and over. It’s quiet, restrained, and well mannered at times, but so bloody inappropriate! And get this, you never really notice the tracks changing; right from start with the menacing opening number Subghosts. The LP leaves you in a blur and it’s difficult to really pin down what’s going on.

Subghosts is a hell of an opener mind. Its dedication to repetition is second to none and it’s paced at that nagging, addictive mid-paced shuffle that just doesn’t let up. Mask Talk is another menacing blurp-fest, which has the feel of a spy thriller about it. Think what was going on in Rudi Dutschke’s mind, or think of that Fassbinder soundtrack that never was. Brilliant.

Vai Vai is a slightly camp whisper leaning heavily on a bastardised Latin rhythm whereas Kingdom sounds like the soundtrack of Where the Wild Things Are, albeit fashioned by early Cluster. It’s a really engaging stomp that always threatens to wander off somewhere. Prox kicks up a gear with an infectious, organic beat that again threatens to build up to something but doesn’t – apart from the odd daft electronic noise which has a distinct feel of Aphex Twin about it -  albeit an Aphex Twin who’s been practising in his shed. Following that Qual and Glueck is an insipid, reedy affair that feels like it’s been created in a test tube. I really like it, mind, because there’s a doomy post-punk feel to it, and lo! yet again it starts to turn into another Cluster-style barrage balloon of atonal bleeps and squeals. 

Reptil Farce is spooky interlude whilst Peculiar Fields a marvellously quiet funky shuffle, tipping its titfer (if only in attitude) to Talking Heads. It’s possibly the defining moment of the LP. Last up is Septembra which is a lovely, if dippy work out that seems to exist in stasis. I can understand that me blathering on about an LP which essentially doesn’t really change a lot over nine tracks is going to irritate some, but please, bear with me. This is well worth your attention.