Think of it as easy-listening rave, elevator-techno, meditation dance music: whichever way you slice it, Tryptophan's Desire is no generic piece of TIMARA. However, tagging an appropriate name is not as simple as it may seem.
Electronic music fans expecting a youthful jungle-like sound will be disappointed, while light electro listeners may find Desire too experimental. Who, then, is the album aimed at? The overall feel suggests something far more intelligent than average electronic music, yet an average listen to the album may miss its point - that point being undefined.
Though the aura given off by the album is one of ambient insense-burning spirituality, Desire does have its fast-paced dance-influenced tracks as well. For instance, "Avoid the Trap" incorporates voice samples, which are absent elsewhere on the album. Following along the lines of Massive Attack, the song is quiet and persuasive at the same time. It is also more dance-oriented with a steady but not deafening beat.
Infact, nowhere on Desire does there exist a moment of utter loudness. On the contrary, Tryptophan's music gives off an ethereal air of background static without being altogether invisible. A listen to Desire is like slowly drifting off while still listening to one's headphones. Subtle, yet not transparent, the album encompasses relaxation without too much boredom.
In addition to "Avoid the Trap," another exception to the easy-listening standard defining the album is "Cute Lil Fooshey." Despite its thin name, the work is perhaps the best of the album. An ambient-rooted mix, "Fooshey" works in repetitive loops, building itself into a climax of electronic pattern, but does not over-complicate its melody in the process. The result is a light dance feel, but still somewhat uninhibited. Both urban and wildlife samples are interwoven, shaping the piece's parallelity into something almost spiritual. Oddly enough, the jungle-like effect also accounts for an overall-Eastern sound throughout this track and a majority of the album, as well.
True, Desire may not make the cut when it comes to the mainstream, trendy electronic music working its way into the corporate world, but its thinly textured ambient-appeal may please more earthy listeners. The album's soothing pulsations may also come in handy for background music, or better yet, dozing off. Desire does not lack talent, but could use more oomph.
Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 14; February 14, 1997
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