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Tracteur - Tracteur CD (album) cover

TRACTEUR

Tracteur

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.00 | 5 ratings

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TCat
4 stars Tracteur is a RIO / Avant-Prog band from France that was formed in 2017. It wasn't until the first part of 2019 that they released their debut album. The band is made up of 5 individuals who play your typical instruments (guitar, synths, violin, bass, drums), but add in some unique sounds like bouzouki, accordion, tsouras, and recorder among other things.

Their debut album is also named "Tracteur. It has a total of nine tracks that have a total duration of 37 minutes, so none of the tracks are what you would call epics. But sometimes, content can easily make up for songs with a long duration. The music is also all instrumental except for wordless vocals and spoken word sections. The overall sound is that of RIO mixed with traditional / avant folk sounds, sort of along the same lines as "Secret Chiefs 3".

"Banana Noise" lets you know right away that you are in RIO territory by introducing the music with a metallic slide, going immediately into a complex rhythm with chaotic sounding music, and then suddenly going ambient with dissonant synths. Soon, things start to build up with various instruments and an accordion standing out. We go back to the progressive theme at the beginning, building until we get a traditional European dance rhythm led by accordion of course. Everything builds off of this dance sound until it climaxes and stops. "Hallali" starts with French spoken word, percussive noises and an Indian traditional sounding melody. As it continues, it gets less and less traditional sounding as things start swirling around at a break-neck speed and some yelling thrown in for the crazy factor. By the end, the progressive part of it all leaves you with nothing traditional anymore, just an electronic sound.

"Silicone Carne" (love that title) again starts off with a traditional style and builds off of it. The middle section breaks down a bit as it mellows out with an accordion taking over again. It seems it is building again, but it suddenly gets a slow and heavy beat with instruments accenting the plodding rhythm. "Tartare de Volaille" defies explanation as it just goes from one style to another, from what seems to be a harmless track to sudden RIO brutality. It even takes a cheerful whistling effect and skews it into something evil sounding. This dissonant and warped tune increases in tempo until it all ends with a whining recorder. "Sous le Soliel d'Ethiopique" is led by the violin, again initiating with a somewhat traditional sound which gets sent through the avant-garde machine with more violin on top of threatening electric guitars.

"Leopold" utilizes the Fripp / Belew style at the very beginning, and then just goes right into a solo traditional instrument and some light percussion. It sounds like world folk at the beginning, but of course they have to take it to avant-folk territory by making everything off beat and unique. "Royaume Sandale" features the same traditional / avant folk formula with a crazy wandering violin, electronics and heavy, progressive beat. "Le Bal des Caniches" mostly stays away from the folk sound and stays more in the avant area with weird rhythms and instrumental mixes. Heavy guitar, violin and dischordant accordion work together to mess up your head. Very cool! "Vegan Hardcore" builds off a repeating pattern played by alternating instruments as others go off trying to find a theme or something, things go from not normal to nuts throughout the track.

This is a surprising debut from any band, and the album showcases a band with a lot of promise. There is a slight issue of the recording being a bit muffled, but that only distracts a little bit. There are bits of humor all throughout the music, and it is definitely unpredictable and enjoyable. I did notice a lot of similarities to Secret Chiefs 3, which there is nothing wrong with that, I would, however, like to hear a bit more uniqueness from this band because I believe they could pull it off quite well. Otherwise, I love the mix of traditional and avant-prog all through the album, the amount of dissonance and normalcy mixed throughout, and I will also be watching for more from this band.

TCat | 4/5 |

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