PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

Tolouse Low Trax's 'Jumping Dead Leafs' Is Coated in Dank Grooves

Photo: Courtesy of Bureau B via Bandcamp

Detlef Weinrich's latest release as Tolouse Low Trax, Jumping Dead Leafs, is covered in such infectious, dank, thudding grooves that force the body to deal with them.

Jumping Dead Leafs
Tolouse Low Trax

Bureau B

11 September 2020

There's something about deep, bass-heavy, musical thwack. It doesn't matter how much one knows about house and all its micro-shoots, or whether they can speak to 1990s-era hip-hop producers such as Pete Rock or Easy Mo- Bee, sample-based geniuses who wallowed in mid-tempo boom-bap and a basic allegiance to snare-drum-heavy, head-nodding funk. Once this stuff hits, your body reacts. Shoulders sway, the neck becomes untethered, the lower back and hips get involved no matter how hard you might try to control them. Music that aims itself at the body, be it French-Algerian funked-up Staifi, Eritrean Tigrigna clomp, or DC Go-Go pocket-driven monotony, is tough to deny.

Detlef Weinrich's work under the Tolouse Low Trax moniker is covered in such infectious, dank, thudding grooves that force the body to deal with them. And nowhere in his catalogue is this more apparent than Jumping Dead Leafs? This is a record that drips with liquid bass, slow tempos, and only incidental involvement by sounds other than the very bottom of the groove itself. Perhaps the attention to space as much as to rhythmic insistence is due to the recent connection to Bureau B, a label that pits him with restless travelers such as Die Wilde Jagd or Harmonious Thelonious but also to the rhythm-free drones of Baal & Mortimer. Bureau B then is a label as aligned to open expanse as it is to dance. It's fitting that Weinrich's least-busy release to date would appear on the label.

Weinrich's drumming with the long-running post-Krautrock/electronic ensemble Kriedler, as well as his involvement with Dusseldorf's experimental dance scene at the Salon des Amateurs, plays in a role in his attention to a kind of surrender to the bottom end as well. A club space whose DJs are just as likely to pull in psychedelia, no wave, electronic, noise, as more typical club-centric pulses, the Salon has shaped his lack of concern for the trappings of fickle micro-genre dance classification. Instead, his attention to rhythm's timelessness makes his best work effortlessly universal.

"The Incomprehensible Image" swats a syrupy groove around, but as it moves towards its final minute or two, it has slowly morphed, its early hand-clap-fortified center is pushed to the background as the sound of someone talking, a keyboard twitter and twangs that might be mistaken for an Afghan Rabab move into the foreground. By its end, it sounds like plops of wet tar against a cinder block wall. The title track uses reverb-drenched whistling, synth-farts, and what sounds like a robot laughing as melody. With a few repeated vocals here and there, this slow-tugging track feels like repeated splashes of cold water.

Weinrich's appreciation of the cosmic allows "Milk in Water" to focus on an echo-y keyboard pulse as manipulated percussion samples try to find their way through a dark cave. Somewhere deep in this track is a nod to Lee "Scratch" Perry's most whacked Black Ark impulses. Yet it's "Sales Pitch", the album's closer, that's likely the hardest-hitting representation of Weinrich's MPC beat-and-sampler combo minimalism. It rides on a distorted pulse so thick it sounds like a boxer playing a punching bag, while here and there, low, whining sound-clips comment on the groove.

Weinrich's recordings and DJing go back a quarter-century, allowing him certain sonic wisdom. He sees trance and loosely-defined psychedelia as crucial components of everything he does. As a result, he creates sounds largely devoid of period effects and nearly impossible not to get with. Because he honors limited gadgetry, not relying too much on the problematically coined "ethno-samples" or the frustratingly ubiquitous 808, his albums and DJ sets have an openness. As Weinrich himself explained in an extensive interview, "it's a Japanese principle. The beauty only develops if something is missing."

9

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.

Books

Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon
Music

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.

Music

'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.

Music

ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.

Music

The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.

Books

Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.

Film

Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.

Music

Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".

Music

John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.

Music

The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.

Music

Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.

Music

In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.

Music

Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.

Books

Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.

Music

'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.