Genre: Post Rock, Progressive Jazz
For as long as our incandescent hearts beat, we are emotional beings who will continue to seek the true beauty in the world. For some, that might come from the gaze of the sun; a dream of a happy reality with happy thoughts, shimmering bright and youthful. For others, fragments of decay, death and melancholy can equally create some kind of connection.
Beauty is a complicated word.
And that is why Post Rock is such a complicated subject.
The harsh irony being, of course, that Post Rock is no longer “post” anything. At a grasp, it began to fall behind when it was bruised and corrupted and squeezed like an orange by the hordes of bands jumping the bandwagon – that bandwagon being the social media and Youtube revolution which forgets artists as soon as they learn about them. Because, regardless of where you look or what your intentions are or what you’re interested in, Post Rock is everywhere. It’s in movies, tv commercials, clothes stores, it’s probably even in your mom’s car. At least 50% of all underground music is Post Rock this year. Currently, it’s the “cool” choice of people worldwide. But the genre now wallows in despair, existing more truthfully as Post-Post Rock, and it doesn’t so much resemble Explosions In The Sky or Sigur Ros or Mogwai anymore, so much as it repeats and repeats and repeats what they’ve already done. In modern Post Rock there lies a great conundrum: when it’s good it’s really good, and when it’s bad it’s borderline cringeworthy and pathetically stereotypical.
Yeah, Toe aren’t one of those bands.
Infact, I have no idea who Toe are, or indeed, what Toe are. But they are beautiful. Uncharacteristically so; beautiful like a meadow of a thousand fairy tales.
Obviously, this is where the buck stops, because if you try Googling “Toe” you will break your knuckles in sheer rage. No, seriously. On the four thousandth page there is a picture of Toe the band, caved in and surrounded by intimidating 4000×4000 res HQ images of toes: not just any toes either, all kinds of toes – pointy ones, bendy ones, drawings of feet, diagrams of bones in your feet. Feats you didn’t know were possible. A man in Brazil was apparently born with 8 toes on one foot.
To name your band after a body part you either have to be stupid or foreign.
Toe are Japanese. Of course they are. Only Japan could produce such an oddly confusing band making such unique music.
And it seems so harsh to compare them to others. Mostly because there isn’t a whole lot of things that sound like the music on The Future Is Now, which is an EP, agonizingly lasting only 15 minutes. If there’s a closest reference point, it’s to the Norwegian Nu-Jazz bands; the electronic, trip-hop younger brother of Math Rock. Wibutee, Xploding Plastix, Skalpel, Jaga Jazzist. But only sparingly. Toe have no relation to electronic music.
Imagine the Dillinger Escape Plan if they fell in love and became romantic lovers. Imagine Moe or fellow far-east experimentalists Sgt if they discovered the natural world around them; the blue autumn trees, the searing yellow sky. A Transmodern Frank Zappa circa-Hot Rats, but armed with constant sunshine instead of Captain Beefheart’s clingyness.
The Future Is Now is a teasing bastard. It lasts a quarter of an hour, it only has four tracks, and it’s all over before you can even sit down. That may also be where its brilliance lies – no weak tracks, no condescending filler, and there are no translated liner notes to read, naturally, as it’s a download-only release.
As far as instrumental music goes, all too often it can become tiresome and dragging. The Future Is Now is mostly instrumental, yes, but the last thing Toe are is an ambient band. Aside from a special guest appearance from the clearly well-known celebrity superstar Aco (who?) and the chant to end Ordinary Days , there’s not really space for vocals here. At least, not vocals to ruin it.
The lusciously cute second track, Tsuki Kake, is sugary sweet as opposed to pedantically twee, and the soaring Mini Moog synth which dominates the entire EP is a particular strong point, but it all fades together into one gorgeous 15 minute track. Maybe a full album would be overload, but that judgment doesn’t need to be made, nor should be considered for The Future Is Now. It’s a delicate rose which just calls to be played over and over and over.
Oh, and by the way…
It only costs £2.76. That’s less than a medium Big Mac.
The choice is yours, fatty. But everyone must own a copy.
For fans of: Wibutee, Jaga Jazzist, Xploding Plastix
Released 20th June