Gray - Review
Tristraum is the project of Randall Erkelens, Pierre Norman, Krystyna Eller. This trio has a long history in the music scene remixing and various other activities, but this is their official debut album released on Section 44 records in February, 2006. Their music is rooted in standard synthpop based on the great bands and styles of the 80's and 90's and could easily be compared to many of these bands. This album brings to light the musical talents of all three in the form of ten nice tracks including two covers by The Fixx and Gary Numan.
After being introduced to this band I was intrigued as a fan of synthpop music. After listening to the album several times these thoughts have been broken down and first impressions remain strong as the vocals of Krystyna still remind me somewhat of Annie Lennox, more from the days of the new wave music of The Eurythmics with her smooth, alto voice. Her voice is probably the most notable and also what brings up my strongest reservations. Not that her vocals are bad, she has a great voice when used appropriately as an alto. When she sings in her natural voice, it's low, smooth and inviting. When she moves up the scale to higher octaves, it seems the falsetto kicks in and it's harder to listen to and enjoy.
Putting aside these first impression reservations and delving into the music on this album, the pure talents of electronic remixers, musicians and vocalist comes out. "Eyes Wide Open" kicks off the album with some standard synthpop that is purely inviting to contemporary synth fans. The inclusion of the popular single "Shiver" is a solid anchor to this album with it's dance-friendly beats and electronic grace that will leave even the most die-hard synthpop fan swooning. Each track continues to move along mixing well with the previous and the next which is a definite plus so the listener doesn't feel thrashed all over, yet allowing enough variety in so the listener isn't bored to death after 10 monotonous pieces.
The inclusion of the two cover tracks pays tribute to two of the obvious influences for this band. The first appears in the form of "Chase The Fire", originally by The Fixx, and is well done not distracting from the original feel, yet maintaining the trademark sound of this band. The cover of "Walking With Shadows", originally by Gary Numan is a smooth, slow-moving track that again pays hommage to this legendary musician and this track and again is brought to life through this band's signature style.
Overall this is a good album, nothing really stands out as legendary, but there is plenty here for synthpop fans to enjoy.
Label: Section 44