TORLESSE SUPER GROUP
"We've long been fans of New Zealand guitarist Roy Montgomery, his guitar sound so distinctive, able to conjure up whole other worlds with his music, having cut his teeth in legendary groups like Dadamah and Dissolve, it was really as a solo artist where Montgomery finally unleashed his full potential. A sort of reverbed minimalism writ large, Montgomery takes simple melodic phrases, fragments, riffs, even just a few notes, and transforms them into mesmerizing landscapes of sound, hazy and spacey, multitracked expanses of melodic mesmer, his playing fluid and lyrical, all of the edges smoothed out by a battery of deftly employed effects, transforming the guitar into some sort of alien psychedelic sound generator, able to fashion strangely inviting sonic worlds for the listener to explore, and get lost in.
So we were curious to hear this, the oddly named Torlesse Super Group (a reference to some NZ geology apparently), which is (or was, this was actually recorded back in 2004-2007), Montgomery's new group, or duo to be more precise, and finds Montgomery teaming up with Nick Guy, who we had never heard of before, for a strangely haunting, and surprisingly rhythmic bit of hazy, psychedelic, post industrial, dreamlike guitarscapery.
The record opens with the three part, 16 plus minute "Erewhon Sentinel", the first part of which is a super abstract stretch of looped skeletal rhythm, a barely there bit of staggered static, distant melodic swells, twisted flecks of glitchy electronics, eventually a deep low end thrum surfaces, as well as some creepy soundtracky chimes, not to mention some ven creepier bits of distorted crunch, the low end beginning to pulse, all cinematic and a little bit ominous, honestly we would have been happy if this was ALL the record did, but then we would have missed out on part two, which might be our favorite new jam, beginning with more rumbling low end, laced with some cool super distorted melody, the result is very ghostly and otherworldly, and then a beat comes in, a slow, slithery, downtempo skitter, and suddenly this sounds like some post Portishead, post Bowery Electric sort of electronic ambient creep, now THIS definitely could have continued for the rest of the record, hypnotic and low slung, woozy and warped, a sort of subterranean underwater lope, very soundtracky, evokes all sorts of super striking images, rain slicked streets, dark abandoned cities, low lit late night speakeasies. The sound continues to develop, additional melodies, more layers, harmonies, distant lo fi chimes, looped electronic high end squiggles, all drifting on that low thrum and hypnotic shuffle. Part three is something else entirely, sounding like a lo-fi melding of Autechre and Seefeel, a little bit glitchy, but warm and organic, swoonsome and woozy and dreamily looped, wound around some serpentine melodies, and plenty of fuzz and thrum.
Definitely a surprise, if Montgomery is playing guitar over all this, then he's even more of an alchemist than we already thought, cuz nothing here sounds distinctly guitar-like, at least in this opening salvo, all textural and ever shifting timbres, and layered loops, and swirling atmospheres, and propulsive rhythms and dark sonic swirl. It's not until the fourth track, where the guitar finally makes its presence obvious, with Montgomery unfurling a looped bit of repetitive riffage, eventually joined by a super skeletal beat, and then an avalanche of guitars, all buzzy and psychedelic, warm and washed out, creating a heady, hazy sprawl of mesmerizing drone rock shimmer, definitely more reminiscent of past recordings.
The rest of the record plays out in a similar fashion, with Montgomery laying down some spare, sparse guitar, sometimes lacing it with muted feedback, or woozy folky strum, while his partner (we presume) wraps these delicate bits of melody with streaks of glitch, fragmented rhythms, even seeming to add some dub to the sound, letting various elements careen and drift before settling back into their original druggy drift, the sound is super hypnotic, fantastically lysergic and dreamy, the sounds tapping into a psychedelia akin to Spacemen 3, repetitive, cyclical, a core droned out loop, but surrounded by crumbling distortion, sonar like pings, but with Montgomery's melodic reverby strum at its core.
The final track in fact begins with that reverby strum, hear letting a single strum repeat, ring out into the ether, before gradually, various other sounds creep in from the periphery, streaks of pulsing buzz, hushed shimmery swells, it's almost like the dreamiest, prettiest, softest doom ever, which weirdly enough is more like the Montgomery of old than anything else here, it's late night drift off dreamdrone psychedelia, strummy and shimmery, it's not really until about 9 minutes in that some crunch and heft are added to the mix, but subtly, so they don't overwhelm, instead, they just add density, and Montgomery's strummy grows more urgent as well, and added layers of melodic counterpoint and guitar harmonies, only make the sound blossom into something both lush and lovely, crunchy and a little bit dark, before finally fading out into a sweetly melancholic softly psychedelic haze. Gorgeous!"
- Text by Aquarius Records"StrataSpeak" by Torlesse Super Group by rebisrecordings