My first exposure to TraumaSutra’s approach to sound was during last year’s Ceremony of the Ascension festival in Antwerp, Belgium. That, however, showed Peter De Koning, the man behind the project, as a part of Belgium’s psychedelic cult Hybryds. Still, one could easily notice Koning’s way of creating music with a large set of amplified or miked objects such as bowls, bells, and basically everything you can or cannot imagine. A day later I’m on my flight back to Bulgaria with last year’s TraumaSutra tape on Silken Tofu.
This self-titled debut is actually a re-release and I’m glad it’s now on tape after it was originally published as a CD-R back in 2008. We’re offered two pieces, both of them unnamed. The first being structured and performed by Koning, and the second a short Crank Sturgeon remix.
I have to admit that I’m usually not that huge of a fan of that wave of ambient / drone / ritual music, which is performed on weird music instruments or objects which are later effected. It hits me as a distorted version of an ancient musical ceremony, as abrasive folk, or as some kind of neo-shamanism, which is something I still find kind of forced and unnatural to experience.
Here, however, I was fully immersed in the music, perhaps because the piece is immense and actually manages to not stay in the same place for more than a moment. On this self-titled effort, TraumaSutra juggles field recordings, speech samples, and distant and sporadic synthscapes. The music is sometimes noisy and sometimes quiet. The sound goes from squeaky clean to extremely lo-fi. For me, this would have also made a perfect live set capable of making even the loudest audience shut up and surrender.
But that constant movement can also be considered a slight downside of the record, because the first piece could have lasted both thirty minutes and five hours. At least for me, there wasn’t really a traceable thread to justify that exact length or essence of the sounds used. A concept outlining the lifespan and the music itself could have helped me be even more captured and better guided through the record, but sometimes you don’t really need to be force-fed a particular ideology. Sometimes you don’t need an artist to convince you of anything, and when perceived from a perspective that offers us full sonic freedom, TraumaSutra’s self-titled tape does the job more than perfectly.
The remix has brought some previously buried elements of the music to a more focused aspect, but once again, I seem to lack any reason as to why exactly those fragments were picked and focused on. Crank Sturgeon’s piece is more saturated with sound, accentuating on just a few fragments of the original, and sounds mostly like a field recordings / musique concrète collage. It’s a curious listen with a nice raw sound, but it’s a bit weird of an experience after spending thirty-five minutes uninterrupted in the super diverse realm of TraumaSutra’s sound.
More of this, please!
*Both sides contain the same tracks.