If geography has an impact on music, then Vienna has coloured Tosca’s music at every turn. Over the course of a career spanning two decades, the Austrian capital has inspired Richard Dorfmeister (of Kruder & Dorfmeister fame) and Rupert Huber to make electronic mood pieces coloured with Mitteleuropean melancholy. “There’s a feeling in Vienna that is very special,” explains Dorfmeister. “For example, today it’s a very foggy day, which is typical for this city. It’s grey a lot of the time. But there’s something exciting and inspiring about it as well, something very colourful. That contrast has definitely had an effect on our music. You know, a mixture of a downtempo vibe with something that is very positive.”
It’s a bittersweet juxtaposition that is much in evidence on the pair’s new album, ‘Odeon’. It opens with the hazy strings of ‘Zur Guten’, which ebbs into the oozing keys and pizzicato steel string guitars of ‘What If’, which features a smokey vocal from Sarah Carlier. Lead single ‘Jayjay’ is a haunted combination of sombre piano chords, rolling drums and weird, otherworldly vocals from JJ Jones. It’s the pivotal track on a record that sees Tosca tapping into gothic atmospheres. It’s darker than their previous five albums, more downbeat, at times ambient. It’s unlike anything else out there at the moment. Listening to a track like ‘Meixner’ you have to go back to the ’80s and ‘The The’ for a reference point. It’s truly peerless stuff.
The album’s name comes from the venue in Vienna where Tosca debuted the new material in October. The performance features as a bonus disc on this deluxe version of the album. More than anything, ‘Odeon’ is the sound of a band at the top of their game, still relevant after two decades. They were key players in the late ’90s Leftfield/downtempo scene, but they’ve never really gone out of fashion. Dorfmeister reflects on the band’s history. “It sounds like a cliche, but we’ve never really thought about other people’s music when we’re writing our own,” he says. “We try and create our own sound. We really have always been like that. And I think we’ve developed a trademark sound because of that.” They certainly have. It’s been called ‘the Vienna sound’. And, in updated form, it still sounds like nothing else.
|1.||Zur Guten Ambience|
|8.||In My Brain Prinz Eugen|
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