Formed in Madrid in 2007, Toundra’s latest, an alternative soundtrack to the legendary silent movie The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, is their sixth release and it came out in February this year, a 100 years after Robert Wiene’s seminal German silent film classic. Occupying the space just slightly to the alt side of progressive rock, their expansive widescreen sound has echoes of other intense sonic pioneers like Explosions In The Sky, Espers or Earth, either way, whatever label you attempt to put on it, this is bloody atmospheric music at its finest.
These seven tracks (Titelsequenze, followed by Acts I-VI) are incredibly well performed, and it’s a shame I haven’t been able to watch the film with this alternative title track, as I get the impression that the band will have put much effort into making sure the music matches the film, as they have done into the composition and structure of this album.
Titelsequenze is the short opener, building into the album with little foreshadowing and motifs dropped in that later re-appear throughout the rest of the album, and again the power that slowly builds and builds throughout is phenomenal.
Each Act has its own unique sound, and the mix of building guitar, sparse piano and spiralling sounds really make as much use of the space between the music, as the music itself. There is nothing showy, flash or overtly instrumental for the sake of it, each track has the space and room to breathe and grow. The way each track intricately layers swathes of shimmering guitar over the percussive base and is allowed to push and pulse is fantastic, and there’s a feel that the guitars are kept tightly reined in, with the sense that any moment they could burst out of control. It’s that tautness and the musical agility of the band to create sonic soundscapes that make this such a strong release.
If you’re a huge fan of atmospheric post rock guitar music, there’s a lot to like, and indeed digest here, and it’s another one of those albums that sound perfect on the headphones, able to pull you into their musical world. Every time you give them a listen there is something new to pick up on, some little hook or piano piece that you missed first time round.
This is big, bold and intense, a softer version of the kind of sonic palettes that bands like The Fierce And The Dead or Reformat are great at producing, an overarching musical suite of songs, more structured to the classical idiom than standard rock. I strongly advise you give this a listen, it’s worth investigating and letting the music wash over you is like a sonic tonic for the soul.
01. Titelsequenz (1:40)
02. Akt I (10:50)
03. Akt II (12:12)
04. Akt III (11:35)
05. Akt IV (11:50)
06. Akt V (14:23)
07. Akt VI (10:04)
Total Time – 72:34
Alberto Tocados – Bass, Synths
Álex Pérez – Drums, Drum Machine
David “Macón” López – Guitar
Esteban Jiménez Girón – Guitar, Piano
Record Label: InsideOut Music
Country of Origin: Spain
Date of Release: 28th February 2020