Album: Tosca

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The Independent Culture

Tosca is the Viennese downbeat/trance groove duo of Rupert Huber and Richard Dorfmeister. The pair have been making music intermittently since their schooldays, an association whose longevity can be gauged by the fact that this fourth album is named after their accumulation of offspring (Joshua, Arthur and Conrad). Fatherhood doesn't seem to have mellowed them much, though in truth they were already pretty chilled, specialising in smooth, unfussy grooves. The loping double bass, brushed drums and understated jazz guitar of "Heidi Bruehl" glide along with a relaxed elegance behind Samia Farah's vocal; the contrast between the businesslike rhythm and more amorphous keyboard washes of "Züri" is resolved by the appearance of a gentle guitar vamp; and woozy slide guitar, electric piano and neatly-edited horn stabs surf the scudding groove of "The Big Sleep" while Stefan Wildner invites us to mellow. "Tranquilise reality," he intones, "No more good for you or me" - though it's hard to tell if it's a warning or a recommendation. The other vocal contributions - by the likes of Earl Zinger ("Superrob"), The Walkabouts' Chris Eckman ("John Lee Huber"), and an anonymous sampled Singaporean radio announcer ("Rondo Acapricio") - lean more towards the cryptic than the specific.