This Saroos article was written by Chris Hobbs, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Catherine Quinn.
German trio Saroos create what can only be described as Sci-fi in musical form, combining elements of rock and electronica to make instrumental tracks peppered with abstract, synthetic material, evocative of avante-garde electronic music. In doing so, Saroos create a world that is at once familiar and recognisable, while simultaneously other-worldly and novel.
Album opener ‘Weaver’s Cave’, is rife with soft synthetic oscillations, which reverberate inside imaginary spaces. The thunderous tom-toms resonate through the driving drum beats amongst layers of harpsichord-esque jangles. A soft flute melody enters in the latter half of the track as cymbal crescendos give a real sense of progression. How these distant elements come together is a credit to the ingenuity of the composition.
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The whole album has a natural sense of ebb and flow, meaning more dissonant or experimental sections of the music (such as the end to ‘La Déese’) never feel out of place, or subservient to the rest of the music. ‘Tardis’ is an album that really feels like it gives the time to exploring its experimental features, rather than just layering a drum beat underneath them and allowing that to drive the music forward.
It is for this reason that the album is aptly named after the track ‘Tardis’. Of all the tracks on the album, ‘Tardis’ is perhaps the most introspective – reliant on rich harmonic material, rather than the pulse of percussion. ‘Tardis’ truly feels like floating through space and taking in the vastness of your surroundings, at once relaxing and dissonant; terrifying and beautiful.
Far from losing steam due to its duration, some of the strongest tracks of ‘Tardis’ are in its second half. In particular, ‘Orange Book’ kicks off with a wonderful descending glissando, as synths glisten underneath rich, harmonic beds. The focus on the guitar as the melodic instrument feels like a welcome return from a long forgotten friend, as distorted crackles pepper the background like the crunch of Autumn leaves under light footsteps.
In ‘Seance’, the heavy use of delay makes the track feel almost timeless, despite its rigid tempo. Dissonant harmonies add to an overall feeling of being distant, whilst seated in reality at the same time. It is as though drifting back to Earth after exploring far corners of the universe.
Whilst strong, the shorter tracks suffer a little. The tracks fully explore the materials they present, but feel structurally incomplete. This means that when listening as background music, the tracks seem to end prematurely, but when paying close attention the tracks seem complete, but slightly less satisfying than a longer form may have warranted.
Despite this, ‘Tardis’ is a very successful album. It is a pleasure to hear the influence of both early and more recent synthesiser music meet the rich introspection of post-rock. The more esoteric and experimental influences are equally fun and entirely unobtrusive. ‘Tardis’ succeeds in bringing the thick synthetic sound of electronica to the structures and sonorities of rock music. Just close your eyes and drift away.
‘Tardis’ is available on the 12th February via Alien Transistor.