Sub Rosa recordings 1996-2003: the complete series of works made by David Toop for the Belgian Sub Rosa label, housed in a lovely deluxe double CD set. "It is amazing that an artist active since the 1970s can still reach new heights in 2003 without repeating himself. Young experimental electronica and electro-acoustic composers could learn many lessons from David Toop, especially from his Black Chamber. The pacing, the variety in moods and textures, the artistry of the electronic treatments -- everything about this album calls for repeated captivated listens. The overall atmosphere is slightly Japanese, starting with a quote on the back of the inlay card: The title refers to the room where the emperor from Kamatsu cooked for himself -- to remember how he lived before accessing to the throne. On this album, Toop also keeps ties with the past. Many tracks feature old friends: Paul Burnwell, Bob Cobbing (who together with Toop formed the trio abAna in the '70s), Terry Day, Tom Recchion, Yuhirito Watanabe. The unmistakable soprano sax of Lol Coxhill greets the ear in "Soft Cavities," inviting the listener in. Toop leaves his improvisation untampered, wrapping his electronics around it (Martin Archer uses the same approach in many of his pieces). "The Slapping Gun" ends with the voice of Cobbing slowed down to a crawl, a growl from beyond the grave he would probably be delighted with. "Apartment Thunder" and "Ill-Faced Doll" take the form of cinematic sound collages (including Japanese voices) with erotic overtones. "Black Chamber" concludes the disc in an unexpected way, an electric guitar playing a dreamy (even post-rockish) motif over a thundering bass drum and washes of Mellotron. If each piece works very well on its own ("Poison Incense" and "Plume" standing out as compositional gems), it is their calibrated sequence that gives Black Chamber its strength. This could be the shortest 54 minutes you will listen to in ages." AMG
CD1: 01-13. 37th Floor at Sunset (2000) (full album) 14. Tricyrtis Latifolia (2002) (from Floating Foundation Vol. 2) 15. Kolade Spirit (2002) (from Konstantine Raudive, The Voice Of The Dead).
CD2: 01-13. Black Chamber (2003) (full album) 14. Boneless (1996) (from L'Inachevé - The Unfinished).