Dekadentni jad i gotička romansa. U sivoj noći sve su mačke sive (pink verzija).
"I do not ask for mercy, for understanding, for peace / And in these heavy days I do not ask for release / I do not ask that suffering shall cease."
Restless Idylls is the debut album by Tropic of Cancer.
The album consists of eight new recordings, written and performed by Camella Lobo in Los Angeles, with additional production from Karl O'Connor (Regis) in New York and London. It marks ToC's return to BEB two years after the three-track EP The Sorrow Of Two Blooms, the label's third release and one if its most cherished.
Its themes? The usual: romance, devotion, pain and helplessness. Mixed up mortals struggling against the brute mechanics of fate, and proving unequal to the task. A forced retreat into private, precious idylls of longing, faith, mystery, even misery.
Lobo's most varied and accomplished work to date, Restless Idylls takes in expansive, extravagantly despondent synth vistas ('Children Of A Lesser God', 'Plant Lilies At My Head'); dubwise love songs ('More Alone', 'Court Of Devotion'); and night-activated, pedal-to-the-floor ghost riders ('Hardest Day', 'Rites Of The Wild'). O'Connor's deft, unmistakable studio touch further deepens and intensifies these pieces, resulting in a sensual and sepulchral psychedelia unlike anything we've heard before.
The solo project of Los Angeles-based Lobo, Tropic of Cancer debuted in 2009 with 'The Dull Age'/'Victims', a 10" single on Downwards and the first of three collaborations with Juan Mendez (Silent Servant). Two years later came a second Downwards release ('Be Brave', remixed by Cabaret Voltaire's Richard H. Kirk), followed soon after by The Sorrow Of Two Blooms. Since then there have been 12" releases on Mannequin, Sleeperhold Publications and Ghostly International (a Part Times Punks Sessions live split with HTRK) and a limited edition compilation, The End Of All Things, compiling singles and unreleased recordings from the Downwards era.
The live incarnation of Tropic of Cancer - featuring Dva Damas's Taylor Burch on guitar - will be supporting the release of the album with an extensive European tour, including a headlining appearance at the Blackest Ever Black showcase in London on October 12. The full list of tour dates can be found below.
'Restless Idylls' is the long awaited debut album from Tropic Of Cancer. It's another milestone in Blackest Ever Black's catalogue; a triumph of decadent misery and gothic romance built around eight songs written by the group's sole permanent member Camella Lobo in Los Angeles, and beautifully complemented by production from Karl O'Connor, aka Regis, who released ToC's incredible debut back in 2009 on his Downwards label. Lobo's music has come to define the wave zeitgeist, presenting a sound irrevocably haunted by the past, yet reflective of the present with uncanny, scrying vision. The album builds on the exquisite promise of her cherished early singles, EPs and compilation tracks with a wider scope for synth atmospheres and a tightened ability to make songs throb with an acutely sensual and psychedelic intensity. The additional production from Karl O'Connor is central to its success, rending the atmospheres of 'Plant Lilies At My Head' that much wider, and heightening the motorik suspense and swoon of 'Hardest Day' to lush degrees, whilst giving the breathtaking 'Wake The Night' or the timelessly transportive 'Children Of A Lesser God' a contemporary production depth required to move this music beyond pastische and into new spheres of modern songcraft. Even songs like 'Court of Devotion', at first listen sounding like a direct extension of The Cure's incredible 'All Cats Are Grey' (those snares really must be some sort of homage) take their own peculiar turns, Lobo and O'Connor ultimately producing an album that might just come to be regarded as something of a modern classic. - boomkat
I don't really know whether Henry Miller was an influence insofar as their elegantly alluring moniker goes but this increasingly renowned LA-based artist Camella Lobo somehow produces incredibly erotic and sensual music from the most spartan ingredients. Shame all her lyrics are about death, loss, depression and such cheery romance-slaying issues.
Call it post-romantic if you will, a stripped-back doom-laden aura that has enveloped our musical souls in the past few years, fitting beautifully with this decade's increasing political and social paranoia, helplessness and frustration. It's always been "dark times" but nowadays we see and feel it more acutely as we're supposedly less blinkered to the myriad horrors of this world. Funny how we crave music that reflects this, a soundtrack to the sadness. 'Restless Idylls' is just the tonic.
Been a while since techno devotees got the surprise of their lives when former austere scene don Regis released two game-changing ten inches through his Downwards imprint, featuring, respectively, the startling talents of The KVB and the (once Silent Servant assisted) outfit we have here today. Both those records hinted at something extraordinary happening on the underground. "Goth" was coming back out to play and this time it wasn't going to be the domain of ridiculous flour-doused English goons with bad hair sporting stetsons and twatty round sunglasses.
For this is brittle, subtle and evocative music loaded with genuine suspense, atmosphere and intoxicating s-p-a-c-e (with a soupçon of menace) but many of you reading this will know what they sound like already. I'm not preaching to a fucking nursery here. Tropic of Cancer, on their hypnotic debut album have written eight elegiac gems, beautiful lugubrious electronic-based torch songs possessing little more than icy gliding synth washes, ghostly smears/smudges of spectral vocal and occasional mournful guitar motifs along with tentative thrums of navel-gazing bass, not forgetting that wondrous echo laden-drum machine that often sounds like it's teetering on the brink of Beachy Head. This is absolute top drawer melancholi-core baby and it hurts so damn good. -Norman Records
The press release for Tropic of Cancer’s debut album proper, Restless Idylls, opens with a few lines from British confessional poet Stevie Smith. “I do not ask for mercy, for understanding, for peace,” it reads. “And in these heavy days I do not ask for release / I do not ask that suffering shall cease.” In isolation this might seem like an expression of stoicism. But a glance at its parent poem suggests that it’s more an articulation of that curious feeling of being ironclad in your own grief; that moment when you come to inhabit your unhappiness so thoroughly that you would feel naked without it. Or, as Smith puts it, “Now I am strong and lapped in sorrow / As in a coat of magic mail.”
It’s difficult to think of a better expressive analogue for the music of Tropic of Cancer. The LA-based Camella Lobo talks of her output as a tribute to “people who have passed away in my life, both literally and figuratively”. Her lyrics, half-lost in a post-Minimal Wave gloaming of funereal drums, spindly guitars and dry-ice synths, deal with “loss, [...] mortality, love and all of those bleeding into one another.” It’s heavy stuff, and unashamedly romantic in disposition. In ‘Hardest Day’, the artist’s serotonin-depleted moans are accompanied by a jauntily swung beatbox rhythm, like a Casio keyboard demo setting soundtracking a funeral. It could almost be a cruel joke. What salvages it – and indeed all of Lobo’s music – is that we know she is deadly serious.
In fact, Lobo has described this record as an attempt to move away from the themes of “sadness and depression” that have characterised past work for Downwards, BEB, Ghostly et. al, so as to “emphasise the light” in her music. It’s difficult to believe this line entirely – particularly when track titles like ‘Plant Lilies At My Head’ are involved – and these eight tracks never stray too far from the entrenched Tropic of Cancer aesthetic. But there are subtle, poignant shadings of dark and light to them – in places even a tentative optimism – that make Restless Idylls a more psychologically complex, absorbing record than any of its predecessors.
Take, for example, lead single ‘More Alone’: it’s Lobo at her most energised, but it swoons rather than snarls, those pungent synth washes seeming to glow with a warm light. ‘Children Of A Lesser God’, meanwhile, is a shoegaze pea-souper, dense but irrepressibly dreamy. And the aforementioned ‘Plant Lilies At My Head’ is utterly wonderful. Granted, there are moments where Lobo resigns herself to trudging along in the gloom – ‘Court Of Devotion’, say, or the somnolent drum tattoos of ‘Wake The Night’ and ‘Rites Of The Wild’, each faintly reminiscent of fellow BEB signings Raime and Black Rain. These moments may be a little less affecting, but they feel necessary to balance the whole. Only ‘The Seasons Won’t Change (And Neither Will You)’ feels slightly extraneous. Otherwise, Restless Idylls is all we might have hoped for in a Tropic Of Cancer LP. - Angus Finlayson