Album Review: Tosca / ‘Odeon’ (!k7)

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★★★★☆

Vienna’s Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Huber have long been vaunted for classically chilled electronica and jazz brewed richness and riches. With an individual, rule-loosening edge that probably puts them in the maverick category, their admission that they’ve “always had a darker, ambient side” has Odeon waiting for nightfall in order to nurture an interruptive rebelliousness.

Kinking the suave sophisticates this time around are the brasher disregards of the rockier “Heatwave” heading out on an archetypal desert road trip, mild hallucinations followed by a blackness developing a stronghold on the sub-goth summons of “JayJay” and the punk-dance “In My Brain Prinz Eugen” that’s neither one thing or another. Tosca have gone from afterhours charisma to the taboos of the night, racked with insomnia (“Soda”) and shoegazing with bloodshot eyes once found romancing. “Meixner” searches for that debonair hush of old, but has become fonder of stonier, dubbier glances, again with a prairie twang, though “Cavallo” is a cinematic come-together, languidly enjoying a cigarette before closing time, leaving the audience patiently waiting rather than being made to flinch.

Gallic wispiness on “Stuttgart” steadies the ship and restores confidence in the ballroom, and taking to wearing hearts on sleeves, the crestfallen waltz “Bonjour” circles like a done-for music box. It sums up the album wrestling with burden, sometimes with good grace, others when not giving a damn, favoring the somber over smiling or soul-touching.

File under: Metope, Fila Brazillia, Maria Minerva

Read our list of 125 dance/electronic albums to look for in 2013 here.

Matt Oliver

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