VON SUDENFED, "Tromatic Reflexxions"
One review of this unlikely collaboration between Mark E. Smith of the Fall and German electronic duo Mouse On Mars stated that two negatives don't make a positive; ie., you may or may not enjoy "TromOne review of this unlikely collaboration between Mark E. Smith of the Fall and German electronic duo Mouse On Mars stated that two negatives don't make a positive; ie., you may or may not enjoy "Tromatic Reflexxions" in spite of the fact you aren't a Fall or MoM fan.
But even Smith haters would be hard-pressed not to enjoy what Von Sudenfed has created here: a sonic palate that does not, in fact, personify to the Ibuprofen-esque allusion their chosen name might imply. On the contrary, the trio seems to pull off this hat trick far more cohesively than Smith's previous ventures into dance music with the likes of the Sha-men, Stereo MCs and Bez from the Happy Mondays. Many of the songs seem to build themselves upon Smith's talking punk vocals, with MoM doing their best to try and provide the finest broken beat simulation of PiL's "Metal Box" rewired for a German techno club ("The Rhinohead" and "Duckrog").
And though much of what is featured on "Tromatic Reflexxions" becomes a bit formulaic over the course of nearly 50 minutes, there's one song on this album, the acoustic-based "Chicken Yiamas", which should really come as a pleasant surprise to anyone who has ever doubted Smith's aptitude as a great performer and, dare it be said, singer. Myself included. -- Ron Hart