Pulsating at the core of Mare Morphosis is the drumbeat of life. It is not only a natural, inevitable progression but a constant evolution. Long known for their spacious drone music, Troum are subject to their own evolution whilst sticking closely to their original musical tone and philosophy. Troum return here with Mare Morphosis, a single entity that spans 50 minutes and acts as the third and final part of their ‘Power Romantic’ trilogy. Romantic is an apt word, because the strings enjoy a beautifully intricate, ornate tone that summons the past Romantic era. Don’t play this to your valentine, though.
Their drone is an ancient sound that defies the centuries, spanning hundreds if not thousands of years, rewinding back to the violent unification of the Earth’s rock and the lambent fountains of lava that issued forth. The classical music of the Renaissance period enters into the sound, via a period where medieval monasteries were frequent places of peace and worship and sham sorcerers conjured up their own kind of black magic deep inside the labyrinthine cave systems. The arrangements stretch from 2009-2013, and contain an experimental reworking of some of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music. And it is apparent that, when done right, classical music and drone music can live in perfect harmony with one another.
Their drones are spiced with dark percussion, which is something we haven’t seen before. The authentic timbre to the drumming provides the dynamic thrust in what would otherwise be a soupy texture of drone. Next comes the spectacular symphony, which is cut and then looped in such a way that it recalls Biosphere’s Shenzhou, which sampled sections of Debussy’s music.
There is a natural drop in rhythmic intensity, but a rhythm remains nonetheless. Like some kind of ancient creature with scales and tails, the drone can be heard breathing in and out. Troum’s music is mysterious and is often coated with a heavy, cloying fog that sticks to the skin of the drone, polluting it with its dirty distortion. Their beautiful harmonies are still present, but they are darker and deeper than before; the transcendent drones that echoed out of their earlier work have all but disappeared into the past (for further listening, check out their Tjukurrpa series, and especially Part One: Harmonies)
Flowing from one scene and one movement to the next, the pieces link up into one single entity, stuck together like a web of dark matter trapped inside the inner intricate circle of a dreamcatcher. Oriental and Middle Eastern tones enter, as does a fiery rhythm. The drums never stay for long, and the percussive napalm bombs are always kept apart from the smoother side streets and dimly lit passages of dark ambient, drone metal, drone doom and even sludge. And with the drums just around the corner, it would, no doubt, have been tempting to charge in this direction by way of a full-on assault. The ambient harmonies think otherwise, because they keep the distorted growl at bay and provide the needed respite.
Troum are not immune to the passing decades, but they continue to supply the world with innovative, quality drone; they’ve aged and yet stayed the same. You can’t escape it, but you can adapt, and with Mare Morphosis Troum have fulfilled their prophecy. (James Catchpole)