|Tropic of Cancer — Restless Idylls (2013)|
Tropic of Cancer — Restless Idylls
θ Minimal wave-inspired shoegaze, post-punk from California's Camella Lobo.
θ It's somewhat ironic that Camella Lobo's Tropic of Cancer project is named after Henry Miller's most famous novel. It's usually only remembered for its — for the time — highly provocative 'pornographic' content, and famous ensuing obscenity trials. — James Ubaghs
Location: Sunken City ~ Los Angeles, CA
Style: Electronic, Post-Punk
Album release: September 23, 2013
Record Label: Blackest Ever Black (BLACKESTLP005)
01. Plant Lilies At My Head 4:28
02. Court of Devotion 5:14
03. The Hardest Day 6:44
04. Children of a Lesser God 7:31
05. More Alone (album version) 4:44
06. The Seasons Won’t Change (And Neither Will You) 4:44
07. Wake The Night 5:58
08. Rites of the Wild 2:45
Mastered at — Alchemy Mastering
Lacquer Cut at — Alchemy Mastering
Designed at — Silent Editions
Artwork — Juan Mendez
Layout — Oliver Smith (6)
Mastered By, Lacquer Cut By — Matt Colton
Producer [Studio] — Karl O'Connor
Written-By, Performer, Recorded By — Camella Lobo
Recorded in Sunken City, Los Angeles, 2011-2013
Artwork by Silent Editions / Juan Mendez
Copyright control 2013 © Blackest Ever Black
Credits: Written and performed by Camella Lobo. © Tropic of Cancer at the Garage — London / Photo credit: Graeme Wilmot
Words / Aaron Coultate / Score: 4
θ Since Juan Mendez stepped out of Tropic Of Cancer, leaving it as Camella Lobo’s solo project, the ruggedness of their early records has evolved into something more elegant. Remnants of the LA outfit’s first incarnation remain — the post-punk pulse, the macabre atmosphere — but their sound has been anesthetised, refined, and coloured by her vocals. As if to reinforce Mendez’s distance from the project, Karl O’Connor was drafted in for additional production duties.
θ The album’s sleeve, stylish and sinister, shows a woman’s hand reaching for a chandelier like someone desperately clutching for a phone to dial 911. It’s a neat accompaniment to the music itself, which is aesthetically informed by the hardboiled cop movies Lobo cites as inspiration. And while the overall feeling is bleak and austere, warmer moments shine through like glints of sunshine poking through clouds. Never is this more apparent than on "Children Of A Lesser God," the album’s most elegiac moment.
θ "Plant Lillies At My Head" opens the record with Lobo’s voice draped over bare-bones instrumentation. On "Court Of Devotion" the vocals become more discernible, but they’re still tangled in the dubby drums and droning guitar line. "Hardest Day" has a strange sense of foreboding, one that dissipates as it eases into "Children Of A Lesser God," before Lobo's vocals blur against a backdrop of echoing drums on "The Seasons Won’t Change (And Neither Will You)."
θ "More Alone" provides the album’s perkiest moment, as stormy guitars come to the fore. "Wake The Night" and "Rites Of The Wild" have a more ritualistic feel, the former evoking images of a sinister tribal gathering, the latter a rickety instrumental workout. On Restless Idylls, Lobo has cemented Tropic Of Cancer as her own, crafting a signature sound that is sleek and addictive. Where she takes it from here will be fascinating to see. (http://www.residentadvisor.net/
θ Originally a duo of Camella Lobo and Juan Mendez (a.k.a. Silent Servant of Sandwell District fame), Tropic of Cancer’s releases have been housed on Downwards, Mannequin, Sleeperhold and Blackest Ever Black, who will be releasing Restless Idylls.
θ It contains eight unreleased tracks, written and performed by Lobo in Los Angeles, with additional production from Karl O’Connor (a.k.a. British techno stalwart Regis) in New York and London.
θ A press release for the album describes its themes as “The usual: romance, devotion, pain and helplessness. Mixed up mortals struggling against the brute mechanics of fate, and proving unequal to the task. A forced retreat into private, precious idylls of longing, faith, mystery, even misery.” (http://www.factmag.com/)
Artist Biography by Richard Wilson
θ Be Brave Bringing together goths, shoegazers, techno aficionados, and minimal wave enthusiasts, Tropic of Cancer's unique sound draws from all of these scenes whilst also drawing in their followers. Formed in 2007 as a collaborative project between Camella Lobo and her partner Juan Mendez — also known for his techno work under the guise Silent Servant — the duo surprised many with the release of their first single, The Dull Age, in 2009. Released on the British label Downwards, it stood out from the grinding, industrial techno sound that the label had previously released since its inception in the mid-'90s, with its mix of reverb-drenched drumbeats, shoegazy synths, and hushed vocals. Two years passed and with a handful of live shows under their belts, the duo released their second single, Be Brave, for Downwards, quickly followed by their first EP, The Sorrow of Two Blooms on London-based label Blackest Ever Black. Focusing on his own solo output and his work with techno collective Sandwell District, Mendez decided to leave the project, with Lobo taking full creative control. Her first solo release as Tropic of Cancer came in 2012 with Permissions of Love for Italian label Mannequin. I Feel Nothing followed later that year, and in mid-2013, Lobo announced that she would release her debut album on Blackest Ever Black, preceded by the limited 7" More Alone.
θ The live incarnation of Tropic of Cancer — featuring Dva Damas's Taylor Burch on guitar — will be supporting the release of the album with an extensive European tour, including a headlining appearance at the Blackest Ever Black showcase in London on October 12 (alongside Shampoo Boy, Dalhous, Source Direct and others TBA).
θ The album consists of eight new recordings, written and performed by Camella Lobo in Los Angeles, with additional production from Karl O'Connor (Regis) in New York and London. It marks ToC's return to BEB two years after the three-track EP The Sorrow Of Two Blooms, the label's third release and one if its most cherished.
θ Its themes? The usual: romance, devotion, pain and helplessness. Mixed up mortals struggling against the brute mechanics of fate, and proving unequal to the task. A forced retreat into private, precious idylls of longing, faith, mystery, even misery.
θ The urgent motorik of lead single 'More Alone', available to stream below, is perhaps a misleading foretaste of the full-length, which is more lush, languid and extravagantly despondent than previous TOC material. Troubled hymns from an empty room, in a drowned world. A sensual and sepulchral psychedelia.
θ The solo project of Los Angeles-based Lobo, Tropic of Cancer debuted in 2009 with 'The Dull Age'/'Victims', a 10" single on Downwards and the first of three collaborations with Juan Mendez (Silent Servant). Two years later came a second Downwards release ('Be Brave', remixed by Cabaret Voltaire's Richard H. Kirk), followed soon after by The Sorrow Of Two Blooms. Since then there have been 12" releases on Mannequin, Sleeperhold Publications and Ghostly International (a Part Times Punks Sessions live split with HTRK) and a limited edition compilation, The End Of All Things, compiling singles and unreleased recordings from the Downwards era.
θ Restless Idylls, the first original studio LP from Tropic of Cancer, will be available on gatefold double-vinyl, CD and digital formats, with cover art by Silent Editions.
James Ubaghs, October 3rd, 2013, 09:16
θ Restless Idylls doesn't transcend, or greatly advance the template set out by Tropic of Cancer's past work, but it refines that template to its purest and most evocative expression to date. Some may scoff at Tropic of Cancer's darkness as being absurdly exaggerated and juvenile but to those people I say this: turn off that damn Churches record, whack this on, and spend a few hours on Google images staring at pictures of disused industrial infrastructure while pondering deep thoughts about the inevitable decay and collapse of western civilisation. It'll be good for you. (excerpt; more at: http://thequietus.com/articles/13505-tropic-of-cancer-restless-idylls-review) // Blog: http://www.ladiesandgentsauxiliary.com/
|Tropic of Cancer — Restless Idylls (2013)|