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Toby Driver - In the L..L..Library Loft CD (album) cover

IN THE L..L..LIBRARY LOFT

Toby Driver

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.67 | 25 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Toby Driver takes music to the limits of the mind. He makes ordinary music look like child's play compared to his multi-dimensional compositions. This album is one of the most intense, slow, and atmospheric albums I think I've ever listened to. There are no discernible melodies on any track, and they certainly take their time to reach their endpoint. This isn't a bad thing, but it leads to a lot of slow build ups that could have been done in half the time and a lot of very sparse sections that could have used some more instrumentation. But other than that, this album (which seems to be filled with ideas too wild for Kayo Dot), is a good look into the mind of one of the more creative musicians out there in the world today.

Kandu vs. Corky (Horroca) opens the album with very sparse and has a very slow and dramatic build up, with subtle increases in intensity with little augmentations of guitar and horns. A droning percussion line in the only thing that is truly noticeable throughout most of the song. Towards the 10th minute, dissonant guitars and Driver's screams and shrieks come in and really give the song a more frightening feel. The dissonance and the disjointed feel only increase the spookiness of the album and are hauntingly beautiful at the same time. The then ends with a long fade out that sounds like it could have continued on for another 5 or 6 minutes, but is promptly ended with screeching feedback.

The Lugubrious Library Loft to me is like a horrific version of one of Brian Eno's ambient albums. The song itself is a wonderful piano led piece mixed with bits of various noises and feedback, as well as some very hymnal sounding vocals from Driver. You can hear utter sadness and despair in Driver's voice on this one. Slowly bits and pieces of percussion and out of sync piano notes are added on top of the haunting main line. The song picks up in pace towards the middle as all the percussion, piano, and guitars swirl together to create an aura of mystery. Once the violin and the distorted bass come in the song takes a whole new shape. The song takes final shape with a great guitar melody and subtle use of the rest of the instruments.

Brown Light Upon Us is the longest, and most drawn out, track on the album. Beginning with some sparse snare drumming, it takes the dissonant and atmospheric root very quickly, with pulsating guitar and keyboard bits, as well as simple percussion. The droning and haunting feeling picks up quickly and evolves into more minimalism as the song progresses further. Sadly, though, the song does drag a lot and feels mostly like filler, and could have been done in a much shorter time span. For example, the majority of this song is a simple droning drum beat with a lot of dissonant buzzing and a hollow main melody (if you can call it a melody at all) on top of it. And that's where the main problem with this album lies, in that the songs take too much time to go through the motions and express all they need to express. It seems as if some of the songs just take forever to get the message (albeit, a musical message) across.

Eptaceros ends the album with great strings, piano, and guitar. It's another piece that takes its time to take form and to really make a name for itself, but this is one of those songs that works with that take your time mentality that's on this album. The song itself is a moody piano led tune (with Driver on piano instead of guitar this time around). The violin on this track really comes out of the box and makes the song a bit more atmospheric and mysterious. The vocals start in at the 5th minute, and the windy and desolate feeling of the song then takes final shape. This is one of the better tracks on the album and really ends the album on the same note that the album began, filled with wondrous mystery and an intense and emotional feeling.

Overall, this album is not for the faint of heart. If you thought Kayo Dot's songs were off the wall and out there, you haven't heard anything yet. These songs are quirky, they're haunting, they're emotionally brutal (as Mr. Adair said above), and their incredibly intense. If you can get past some overly drawn out moments and many sections of sparse instrumentation, then you'll find something to like here. Me, I liked this album, it's a bit more out there than what I've listened to in the past, but I'm growing to love music of this type. For me, I'll give the album a 3.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |

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