Trojan horse – Trojan Horse
I remember the words a certain famous musician said, that music was about creating universes by any means available. This musician in fact had little credit and fame in his career and his Opus was considered as “rather eccentric” at the time he walked this Earth. Funny.
I’d add to this sentence “by any means available /unavailable”; that is, create a whole universe inventing other resources, bringing to life new concepts, whether sounds, images, figures, moments, you name it. Everything will do the trick!
These random ideas come to my mind as I listen to Trojan Horses’ album, Trojan Horese, since every song delivers an universe of itself. It’s a mix of textures, feelings, complicated techniques and sounds that would be somewhat difficult to cover with your own band. I’m still amazed by the infinite creativity the band members display and risk to show off.
Every track in this album becomes a kind of contemporaneous symphony that would appeal subconsciously to classical riffs we all know and that represent a specific part of our lives. Music is everywhere, our lives have a soundtrack and Trojan Horses manages to get all of this information hidden in the middle of their own creation, almost like a jeu de mots, so unstable and pleasant.
An example of this goes as far as track number one, ‘Mr. Engels says…’: there are metal riffs, a hint of jazz, percussions. The second part of the song really tears me apart: perfect harmony with a little sabotage in the shape of distortion, pure uncertainty, like the unease the theory of chaos causes when you read it for the first time.
Sometimes this game becomes obvious and evokes new classics, like the reference they make to James Brown’s ‘Get Up Offa that Thing’ by the end of their third track, ‘Laces and Racists’. This song is introduced by a welcome committee integrated by the voice of cello, then echoed vocals and fast, creative yet expressive guitars (as to say these riffs really have a content), bass, drums, vocals, flute? Man, tracks change as the plans we make for our lifetime! You may think you’re in track 20 but still it’s track number three. I’m amazed also by the capacity Trojan Horse imprints in every note, as they may change the whole scenario in seconds, still the manage to get your ears and change the whole atmosphere.
And we go back to track two, I’m still with my jaw dropped because of this one, called ‘Disciplining the reserve army’. I’m just flabbergasted on how a song may change from martial to soft. The best image to describe this chaos is a rollercoaster. There are riffs of every size, color, flavor and style. Again, there’s 2 well-defined parts: violent and soft, and the soft of this one is really like watching stars and planets, then the blue ocean and all the white sand around. Yes, the song is THAT trippy!
‘Bicycle Jam’ is stuck in the middle of this constantly-reinventing album and still is 100% experimental. I still wonder how did they manage to string the whole idea of a “bicycle” jam. There are moments of reflection, like everyone’s measuring the next step to take, where to lead the song, waiting for instructions, like the listener really has the chance to get involved in the song. It’s a retro feeling all permeated with the right measurement of wishes, so the whole song itself becomes painfully progressive. I believe a movie could be based on this song as it evolves in rather unexpected ways, yet inside the canon of a progressive song, and this is a balance I’ve never listened to before. The end of this track is like the end of a Monty Python’s sketch: you can never tell what just happened.
The next song, ‘Sex and the 6eight’, well, I truly fell in love with the bass line: it’s solid, constant creative, a little syncopated. I really enjoy how vocals and guitars unfold an almost ‘wishful thinking’ explained through the music structure: it displays a self-restraining feeling, it never comes to explode, yet gives a slight insinuation of it. The end is ephemeral as it brings a discrete piano to cool down this big confusion and repression caused by the unstable notes this atmosphere is charged with.
‘Ballad of the Swell Song’. If this album was a rollercoaster, then this would be the very beginning of it: experience and explore the feeling of slowly going upwards and see how your poor life is leaving the ground, then closer to the sky. You know a big fall is coming, but that moment seems so far away and it becomes a big torture. There’s nothing that can be truly predicted from this track, as again a big explosion is expected, yet calm will be the order of the day, specially following the previous track.
“… And the lights went down” became one of my favorite tracks ever. It’s classy, innovative, and creative, vocals are truly sexy (I must admit this also caught my attention). There’s a certain 90s flair in this song. It’s the sounds, it’s how vocals are manipulated, it’s a escape route, born through melodies, a safe place to be, like moonlight, your dearest, beloved and most desired human being next to you, the night, the wind. This part of the album becomes the secret paradise, an island we all have in our minds, like the hidden place we all go to when reality is unbearable. Melodies float flawlessly and chorus becomes the perfect means to lighten up your day.
A wake up call follows with a strong kick called ‘Patricroft Way’. This becomes a retrospective experiment with a drum-and-bass-based melody which becomes the only constant and steady structure of the song. A perfect opportunity for guitar players to express themselves and do whatever comes to them. I wouldn’t call it “thoughts” any more, as it seems it’s their feelings coming forth through the strings. There are no words enough in any language to explain feelings, they’d only make a drunken haze of blabbering instead of what’s really being said.
‘Black Russian’ it’s definitely a fun track and I feel suddenly like craving for a Black Russian. It’s classic rock, a very good display of the band’s capacities and they surely didn’t want to keep it for themselves. Even though the melody would evoke again our knowledge of classic rock, there’s still certain watermark of ‘made by Trojan Horse’ in the track through some breaks, bass lines (which would go away from the whole show and do their thing smoothly). Some guitar riffs would remind me of the lessons my fellow guitar players studied for their final exams. There’s also a second part that goes beyond the frontiers of classic and become the call for psychedelic groove with great mojo. Nice tune!
Time is all about relativity, and we are now at the end of this magic and experimental album. The closer track is called ‘Brazilian’, and they really mean business. Again, syncopated resources in front of a drum’n’bass styled background. The chorus remind me of the so exploited resource of Brazilian music, a kind of “pa pa ra pa pa” that would recall any Jobim or Carlos Brown’s song, then the twist, starting with ‘I can’t explain the way I’m feeling’. I’ve got goosebumps! The next part of the track leaves the Brazilian style and becomes a sort of rock, progressive, experimental sound. It’s like sketches of emotions spiralling together.
There’s no better sentence to explain what this whole album (also called Trojan Horse) is about the lack of words to explain feelings, forcing you to leave behind any rational thought, and just convey the whole rich and interesting message through music.
I realize now happily that music is more than certain number of notes and maths in motion, that everything can be reinvented as the good Mr. Gustav Malher used to say. There’s no conventionality in any part of this album: there might be some bases, the ones that would remind this world is full of words, numbers and something we all share, but individuality remains with every inventive structure and which turned out to be quite hard to follow.
I truly loved this album: it shows there are infinite paths yet to be explored in the whole music scene. This is progressive, this is psychedelic, this is an album I strongly recommend if you’re up to fill your ears with something so fresh and new that can risk to make you go out of the so called “normal status” and leave solid grounds, if you feel like going beyond and let go.