Inside The Hurricane

October. Greatrecordreleasemonth, so it seems. Last week, Francis International Airport released their very much acclaimed masterpiece “In The Woods“, which has become FM4’s Album of the Week and peaked the charts of profils Playlist already, with more to come. And today sees the release of another fantastic record. It’s written and played and everything by that guy that is hiding behind his piano up there. That guy is called Toph Taylor. Trouble Over Tokyo is his band and the record shall be called The Hurricane.

It was the 1st of September 2010 when I went to the Beat4Feet studios to follow Tophs invitation for an album listening session right in the studio, where it was recorded. And so I was sitting there, with a beer in my hand, when The Hurricane started. Just like five years ago. This storm felt much more tender than the first one I had experienced tho.

Eyes closed. “Bone”, the opener, instantly started to disburden grey clouds of daily grind. And after it grew and grew and grew, the biblical swarm of locust was gone. Blown away by massive, and at the same time oh so beautiful, electro pop madness.

The listening session came to an end. I was stunned. I had weird dreams later that night. The best moments are the ones that come unexpected. “Flames flicker, flames, flames flicker, and the fire gets bigger” he sings. Yes, they do. All the time. Until we reach the waterfalls. “We were invincible.”

Two and a half weeks later, Toph was set to play a very exclusive FM4 Radiosession at the Radiokulturhaus in Vienna and I asked him whether he would allow me to take photos of the show (which you are seeing here). “It would be MY honour”, he replied. Happiness!

And there I was, on a most lovely sunday afternoon. Toph had asked Marlene and Rene from Velojet, Max from Garish - who also participated in the recordings – and a lovely string quartet to play with him. Tuning. Talking. Tuning. Testing. Eating. Laughing. Sitting. Playing. Tuning. Listening. Tuning. Laughing. Tension, rising.

And after the set list was set and the auditorium filled, the show was about to start. A few kind words from Toph seemed to relieve him from nervousness. Start. “Flames flicker”. I was safe. And it was one of these moments I never dare to photograph, they feel too intangible and I’m too afraid to destroy.

By the way. This blog post is written in English for two reasons. T., who lived next door whilst I was in Australia a couple of years ago, wrote me the other day asking whether I have considered an English version of my blog. I have, T., but it would be too much of a hazard. I do write in English occasionally tho. Like right now. Then, when it fits.

Because the second reason is Toph himself, who has only been living in Vienna for a couple of years. Yes, he does speak German, but just like when chatting with my beloved partner in crime, the German language just doesn’t really feel right (and I have to practice anyway, as you might have noticed already).

But back to the show. “I closed my eyes and imagined Owen Pallett, Thom Yorke and Jeff Buckley being on stage together playing music, because that’s what it sounded like. Wonderful.”, wrote one of my friends who was sitting in the audience after the show. I couldn’t do more than agree.

Toph makes things melt. And so did the border between artist and audience when he, the nervousness had long been replaced by euphoria, made people get up, up, up from their seats to dance. He was (right in) the middle (of the hurricane).

He finished the set with Talking Heads‘ “Psycho Killer”. People were sitting down again. Strings in the air. Only this couple in the first row, bewitched by beauty, was still there, holding on to each other. And listening. They got lost in The Hurricane, too. And again I was paralyzed.

If you want to see more photos, start the 30 picture strong slideshow here. FM4 broadcasted the show last night, the videostream will be on their website until October 21st. I highly recommend checking it out.

And last but not least: “The Hurricane” is being released (as a book!) today. Good luck, Mr. Taylor. It’s well deserved.

October 15 2010 | music and photography | | No Comments »
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