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antic604

Tripswitch - Vagabond [Iboga]

How would you rate this release?  

4 members have voted

  1. 1. How would you rate this release?

    • 5/5 - a future classic, a must have for everybody
    • 4/5 - very good, a must have for fans of sub-genre
    • 3/5 - good, typical release for the sub-genre
    • 2/5 - poor, uneven, let down by technical issues
    • 1/5 - avoid at all cost
      0


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antic604    497

ibo1cd096_b.jpg

 

01. The Way Home
02. Divine Falsehoods
03. Vagaries
04. Glass Heart
05. Big Time Line
06. Zoetrope
07. Payola
08. The Left Bank
09. Hulahoop
 
Nick Brennan - a.k.a. Tripswitch - got his 15 minutes of fame with 2005’s release of “Circuit Breaker” on Youth’s L.S.D. label. The album was widely praised and critically acclaimed because it successfully merged electronic music with tribal & ethnic sounds, producing very warm, inviting and summer-y vibe. The tempo was just right, the electronic elements were not very intrusive nor aggressive, the voice / singing samples were tactful and well chosen, the arrangements were unusual, full of lush and delicate details. It was a hit all around. The follow-up “Geometry” released in 2010 lacked the backing of the famous label and was missed by a lot of people, but for my money it was even better - the ethnic elements were side-lined in favour of more focused, rhythmic grooves but the music remained soft, warm, expansive; combining real instruments - guitars, pianos, etc. - with electronic, very rich backgrounds and leads. The music got a bit darker, moodier and nostalgic but still pretty bright and upbeat. I loved it! Fast forward to 2016 and to my surprise his new album - “Vagabond” - was supposed to be released by progressive trance power-house Iboga Rec. and to make matters worse Psyshop labelled it initially as “Dance” (then changed to “Progressive House” which wasn’t much more reassuring). Needless to say, I ignored it for few months and only recently got myself to check the samples - and boy I’m happy I did.
 
Like many others I think, I have a pretty well established mental image of how progressive trance sounds like: 120-140bps tempo, simple “jumpy” bass line, dynamic percussion, “big” chords, stabs and arpeggios, catchy key changes, some female voices, etc. It all - at least for me - started with Son Kite’s “Colours” album that defined most of the typical “templates”, but whereas their music was innovative, full of flair and nuance, what followed later was a thoughtless copying & pasting of those ideas and inevitable dumbing it down. 
 
It’s therefore quite refreshing to hear Tripswitch’s take on progressive trance / house - he’s boldly flirting with those cliches, but is able to avoid falling into the tired and overused schemes most of the time: a good example would be “Big Time Line” which gets dangerously close to vocal trance, but magically turns it around in 2nd half, delivering very groovy, delicious, spacious finale with genius bass line tweaks. The album is mostly dark, with kind of cold, unsettling, schizophrenic mood created by dissonant, disjointed and un-harmonic sounds, that he somehow then turns into cohesive whole with just a few simple notes or chords - this works great in “Divine Falsehoods” or “Zoetrope” for example, that could pave way for new brand of progressive EMO chill-out. I’m probably projecting some of my personal experiences in close family, but to me a lot of “Vagabond” sounds like a musical depiction of mental illness - individual elements don’t make sense, are chaotic and erratic and when they slowly and successfully get pieced together you still get this feeling that inevitably it can and will fall apart again… It gets slightly brighter in last 3rd of the CD with “The Left Bank” surprisingly melting the trademark prog-bass stabs with Talpa-like squiggly, baroque main line or “Peyola” getting really hypnotic, rich and acidic; but it’s all still pretty melancholic. The album reminds me of someone smiling on the outside, trying to act “happy” in front of the others, but actually on the inside being really depressed and hurt. It’s haunting, unsettling ...but beautiful in it’s own, painful way - just like the cover, actually. The production and mixing is spot-on, very balanced, understated and perceptibly quieter than other Iboga relases, leaving a lot more space for dynamics and small details. The only thing I wasn't keen on were the obvious percussion lead-in / out segments made for DJ-mixing, which I could live without.
 
If you’re willing to dedicate this album your time, it will reward you with tons of detail hidden behind the obvious kick & bass combo and it will provide meaning to sounds that don’t work together at first. Tripswitch has a knack for creating lush, warm but at the same time unsettling and dark atmospheres and is using tried house / trance templates to evoke feelings - this is a music to get lost in, to listen and reflect upon life and its various facets. I’m not sure how would it work on the dancefloor, but it surely made me drift away in my mind numerous times while listening to it…
 
One of the best progressive house / trance albums I heard since Son Kite's "Colours" and Jaia's "Fiction", but it's definitely not for everybody.
 
4/5

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antic604    497

"Are you mad bro ? ;) "

 

You mean the album doesn't make you feel like I described?

I'm really curious, because maybe there's indeed something wrong with me  :wacko:

 

Starting with his 2nd album, Tripswitch music was - to me - always sad, nostalgic and melancholic and this one is most depressing yet...

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Starkraver    868

You mean the album doesn't make you feel like I described?

I'm really curious, because maybe there's indeed something wrong with me :wacko:

 

Starting with his 2nd album, Tripswitch music was - to me - always sad, nostalgic and melancholic and this one is most depressing yet...

 

d5b49_ORIG-YOU_MAD_BRO.jpg

 

Is it any good? I was told it's "dance" now  :unsure:

I was referring to this :P

 

As of now, I like only one track from this.

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antic604    497

I was referring to this :P

 

As of now, I like only one track from this.

 

Oh, that was in "What new music did you get today?", wasn't it? :D

 

Yeah, I mentioned my initial reservation towards this album in the beginning. Glad I tried it after all - it's on constant rotation here since Saturday and I'm loving it!

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Starkraver    868

Yes :D it was.

 

I like the album but I still prefer Circuit breaker. I like divine falsehoods as it comes closest to the style on CB :D cover is ok.

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juril    33

Since you mentioned "Colours" and "Fiction" I had to give it a few listens at least. Ended up purchasing the CD as well. One of my favorite releases this year.

 

Thanks.

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Padmapani    369

i was giving it a listen on youtube after reading for comment in the ticon thread. i have to agree with psyshops classification of (progressive) house. this is not psytrance.

 

2/5 because house is boring music i cannot stand (while being seemingly creative and well-executed). but i agree that it's similar to jaia - fiction, which i hate just as much for the same reason.

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antic604    497

i was giving it a listen on youtube after reading for comment in the ticon thread. i have to agree with psyshops classification of (progressive) house. this is not psytrance.

 

2/5 because house is boring music i cannot stand (while being seemingly creative and well-executed). but i agree that it's similar to jaia - fiction, which i hate just as much for the same reason.

Good to know you went out of your way and browsed an album on YT from the genre you have no interest in, to write a review... I've been listening to Ticon (after actually purchasing it) for a week 2-3 times a day.

 

BTW, Ticon is not psytrance either :P

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Padmapani    369

Good to know you went out of your way and browsed an album on YT from the genre you have no interest in, to write a review...

 

I've been listening to Ticon (after actually purchasing it) for a week 2-3 times a day.

 

BTW, Ticon is not psytrance either :P

you call that a review? it's just a comment explaining the rating (before someone asks me to).

 

why do that when you don't like it?

 

depends on where you draw the line. for most ticon albums i'd agree regardless of the defition. but if mirage is not psytrance, then 90% of progressive psy is not psytrance either ;)

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antic604    497

you call that a review? it's just a comment explaining the rating (before someone asks me to).

 

why do that when you don't like it?

 

depends on where you draw the line. for most ticon albums i'd agree regardless of the defition. but if mirage is not psytrance, then 90% of progressive psy is not psytrance either ;)

 

Ok, this here is a problem I - personally - have with most reviews. You ask why I listened to Ticon for a week? Because I wanted to give it a fair chance, since a lot of people whose opinion I value seemed to be pretty excited about it. First I checked the samples & YouTube video for the album and I found it interesting on the surface - because that's all you get from samples and browsing YouTube - hoping there's much more depth, nuance & soul in there. After dedicating it some time I found however nothing more than that - a correct, highly polished but formulaic release that ticks all the boxes for successful progressive trance release, nicely blending in some early Protoculture elements ...but then gets forgettable real quick.

 

Current way of consuming media - quickly, in short bursts, in background while doing other things, randomly, in low quality etc. - leads to a situation where flashy, bold, cheap-thrills and fakely-exciting but in the end very shallow music gets the attention; whereas deep, emotional and complex music gets unnoticed because it's difficult to "sell" that in 30s samples or while spending 10min with 1+ hour-long YouTube video. But maybe that's the point, really? There's never been so much music released on a daily / weekly / monthly basis as there is now, so you shouldn't really be listening to one album for months and years on end - instead, you should buy single tracks, listen to them 5 times and go to the next big, flashy thing. That's why you don't need depth and instead want immediate appeal: clean, simple & catchy. Unfortunately, to achieve that you just need a simple labourer not an artist. Ever wondered why electronic music is "produced"? Yeah, well...

 

BTW, above is not strictly about Tripswitch vs. Ticon, because the former isn't THAT good and the latter isn't THAT bad (I rated it 3/5, which is far from "not liking it") - it's just something that I notice more and more of and it bothers me, especially in reviews / comments.

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Padmapani    369

if you give every album that deserves it a fair chance, you won't have too much time for other things ;)

i am actually surprised at how good skipping through a track works for me to assess if something is good enough. i very rarely go back and change my mind after more extensive listening.

 

that's how it works with pop music and i agree that it's happening more and more in electronic music (psy is by far not the worst genre). though i disagree that you cannot find/notice the complex/interesting stuff in short samples. if you know where to look you'll easily recognise challenging, complex music (and if you don't know where to look you'll probably prefer the simple catchy stuff anyway ;) ), partly because it's unusual, captivating your attention and partly because the formulaic flashy tracks are so drenched in clichés (and apparently increasingly so over time) that it immediately comes to your attention. imho it's just that most people don't care, choosing instant gratification over devoting more of their time and "brain power" to music...

(though such discussion is probably more suited for your thread in general psytrance instead of the review thread?)

 

seems i missed the 3/5 and probably interpreted your comment in the ticon thread to be a bit more negative than it actually is. that certainly explains listening to it.

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antic604    497

if you give every album that deserves it a fair chance, you won't have too much time for other things ;)

i am actually surprised at how good skipping through a track works for me to assess if something is good enough. i very rarely go back and change my mind after more extensive listening.

 

that's how it works with pop music and i agree that it's happening more and more in electronic music (psy is by far not the worst genre). though i disagree that you cannot find/notice the complex/interesting stuff in short samples. if you know where to look you'll easily recognise challenging, complex music (and if you don't know where to look you'll probably prefer the simple catchy stuff anyway ;) ), partly because it's unusual, captivating your attention and partly because the formulaic flashy tracks are so drenched in clichés (and apparently increasingly so over time) that it immediately comes to your attention. imho it's just that most people don't care, choosing instant gratification over devoting more of their time and "brain power" to music...

 

Agree. And it's a difficult balancing act really - trying to ascertain what's worth your time and what isn't. It's true more often than not I can recognise if I'll like something (more than 3/5...) but I sometime get carried away with hype or good word of mouth and not trust my instincts enough - recent examples would include Ticon and Astrix.

 

Another good test is if the release is featured in Psyshop's TOP10 - if it's there, it's probably not what I'm looking for :P:D

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antic604    497

Psyshop top 10 seems to be everyone criteria for NOT checking out that album :D:P

 

Well, to be completely fair Suntrip's CDs usually end up in Psyshop's Top10 list, e.g. Ra's "Earthcall" is now #6.

 

However, Tripswitch's "Vagabond" is at #17 almost 6 months after its release, so either it's objectively good OR there's the effect best described by Polish saying: "Eat shit! Millions of flies eat shit so it must be good" ;):D

 

 

BTW, if anyone knows good albums in the style of "Vagabond", i.e. leaning closer towards progressive house than trance, them please let me know via PM or something.

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Padmapani    369

Well, to be completely fair Suntrip's CDs usually end up in Psyshop's Top10 list, e.g. Ra's "Earthcall" is now #6.

on their new website i can't even find the top10 anymore. it looks like a mobile version missing all the features even though i'm on the computer.

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antic604    497

on their new website i can't even find the top10 anymore. it looks like a mobile version missing all the features even though i'm on the computer.

 

Click either on the CD or "digital download" icon on top and inthe drop down menu you'll have Top100 :)

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Starkraver    868

On mobile, click on the menu at the upper right corner , expand the cd section. Top 100. :D

 

Ok, today I listened to the 3 albums from Tripswitch back to back.

 

Circuit breaker

Geometry

Vagabond

 

And I've to say they flow into each other effortlessly, it's like an ending set. Circuit breaker is still the favourite though! My God , deer park still does the trick :)

 

Geometry is a nice album too. Definitely shows the transition from his circuit breaker sound to the vagabond sound.

 

By the time vagabond come on, I was walking on the road and I enjoyed it for the first time.

 

In the promo video of the kickstarter nick said that he was tired of playing to empty/sleeping floors & wanted to see people dance. I hope he is having fun playing vagabond and also that he goes to the triply dreamy beautiful style present in the circuit breaker soon.

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Padmapani    369

thanks. please don't tell me that i'm getting too old for the internet at 30 years of age ;)

 

i'm actually surprised at how good those top 10 are. mirage is decent, even he.art is quite ok. rigel is usually also quality psytrance, while the goa sessions compilation is full of uk psytrance which isn't too shabby either. earthcall has a prominent spot and there's even a second goa album with sky technology...

not too long ago the charts would be dominated by cheesy fullon and minimal techno/proggy crossover.

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Punit    1

Took me completely by surprise. One of the best albums of 2016 for me. Very emotional & amazing production. Just WOW.

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