So it's no wonder that, for Troum's twentieth birthday, an international bunch of likeminded people have decided to remix, rework and transform the band's sounds. Nineteen acts appear on this compilation, each one of them honoring Troum in their own way.
The whole thing opens with a gloomy, minimal and droning remix of 'Times' by Allseits. This track plunges the compilation right into the darkest regions of the ambient scene. 'The Silent Fish' by Contrastate adds heavy percussion and an almost violent atmosphere. Inade answer with another cinematic ambient piece, one quite typical for both Inade and Troum, which obviously is a good thing. So three tracks into this tribute compilation and I'm already sold. There are sixteen more to go, with well known names like Nadja, Raison D'Etre, Cisfinitum and Reutoff patiently awaiting their turn.
One of the longest tracks is 'Giascei' by Vance Orchestra (the longest one being the vast droning experience of Mutler). This one is a pitch black river of meandering drones, haunting soundscapes and intense noises. Halfway through it becomes rhythmic and repetitive while maintaining that angsty atmosphere. That being said, it will probably be quite clear that there is few percussion and even fewer beats to be expected on this compilation. Tarkatak's rendering of '_vs_brinnan' has percussion but not in a danceable kind of manner. This nudges more towards the ritualistic side of the soundscapes spectrum.
Looking for highlights on this album is not an easy task. Every track has its own identity, depending on the character of the respective artists. Yet, what Raison D'Etre did with 'Ananke' is brilliant. He turned the track into a classic dark ambient piece, perfectly capable of standing next to many Cold Meat and Cold Spring releases from back in the day. Also bringing out their classic sound is Nadja, who calmly sail on the everlasting drones of 'Mirrored in You'. The masters themselves appear too, along with Martyn Bates. Together they bring the song 'An Untitled Protest', a blend of neo folk and ambient soundscapes.
Disc two opens with 'Kapotte Muziek by Troum', remixed by QST. At first there is noise. Then glitchy beats appear, turning the track into the most danceable yet. This is one of my favorites, perhaps because it adds the necessary amount of variation to this compilation. I mean, most of this album can be categorized as dark ambient. Acts like Ure Thrall, V.O.S., Dual and Bad Sector have delivered splendid version of Troum classics. Supplementing that, the earlier mentioned QST and Θ16 vs. Myrrman add electronic beats. In the end, Markow C., Cisfinitum, Reutoff and Moljebka Pvlse deliver some more beautiful ambient pieces. More of the same? Yes, but also more of the same high quality.
So, what to think about this album? I guess it's quite clear. 'Troums Transformation Tapes' is an excellent tribute to a groundbreaking band. Most of the contributing projects stayed quite loyal to the original sound and to their own. Some stepped outside of the genre's boundaries, with nice results too. For Troum fans, this is an absolute must-have and for aspiring dark ambient aficionados, this is a fantastic introduction into the genre. I can only recommend this album to all fans of dark, lingering and hypnotic music, that's for sure.