Local Wire

Tonetraeger

Tonetraeger is an electronic duo from Düsseldorf whose dissatisfaction with being an electronic duo from Düsseldorf is its biggest problem. Rather than just sticking to layering willowy vocals over humming organs and hiccupping percussion -- a trick the group turns nicely for the bulk of This Is Not Here -- Tonetraeger feels compelled to pay lip service to the pop song. The results are three milky, guitar-based ballads, upsetting what is an otherwise stirring and hypnotic mood piece. Tonetraeger has figured out how to be sedate without being boring; its songs are like murmurs in a dark room, offering hints of sound without concrete shape. Tender three-note cycles rise, repeat, and disappear, joined and then replaced by misty whole-note synth lines. It's like staring at the aurora borealis until individual color bands become distinct. The interruption of such glorious sustained subtlety with rude trad-pop is like slapping a Colorform on a Monet.
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J. Edward Keyes