Tantoniq - "Mantra Machine"
(self-released 2004, TNTRNQ001)
From Aural Innovations #30 (February 2005)
Tantroniq is the creative inspiration of Tanya Thielke, and yes I picked it because of the name Mantra Machine. I was hopeful when I first put it on, because to find it was a female solo thing was a pleasant surprise. It begins promising with "A Brief History of Our Future", momentary vocal and electronic sounds, progressing and moving into "Mantra Machine", seamless, hypnotic and fluent. "Mantra Machine" is exactly what I was hoping for from an album of that name. It was a shame that the rest of the tracks on this CD did not follow this mould, and became something else, entirely to my disappointment, although there are some other good tracks. As I listen, track 4, "Forgotten" is a total contrast to what has gone before, and could be likened to The Rabbits Hat type of song, quirky, but not for this album really. "The Persistence of Memory" and "Toys" are very similar in style, sort of trip-hop, in the Portishead mould, but done without live instruments, drum machines, modules and keyboards etc. These tracks are OK but they do not really go anywhere, or progress any further from their initial starting points. There is an element of shit techno/whatever music it is in a few tracks, which I hate but there you go, you can't please everyone. "Helix" and "Exodus Machina", however, are two tracks that I find I did like. Maybe it is because they are dark, I don't know, or maybe it suited my stoned mood at that moment. Again, I don't know but it flows well. They also reminded me of The Shiny Gnomes and Fit & Limo stuff because they are atmospheric, ambient and have the occasional tape recorded voice filtering in and out to good effect, and I realize that there really is The Rabbits Hat type vibe about a lot of stuff on this CD. Not in the songs themselves, but rather the feel of the songs. I cannot quite put my finger on it but its there.
To be honest a lot of this CD did nothing for me bar a couple of the aforementioned tracks. This is because I review a lot of stuff like this in a fashion, so in that respect I hear it all the time, with differences obviously, but the flavour of the music is similar. And with this in mind, I like it but find it boring in places. The quality is very good, the sound is spacey, and it builds definite pictures through music, so in that respect I like it, but not that much.
For more information you can visit the Tantroniq web site at: http://www.tantroniq.com.
Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact via snail mail c/o Tantroniq; PO Box 228; Kensington, MD 20895-0228.
Reviewed by Albert Pollard