By Kieran Webber
Public Memory is the solo project of Brooklyn’s Robert Toher, recorded over the course of a year as he lived in Los Angeles temporarily. Previously of the groups ERAAS and Apse, Robert places a greater emphasis on electronics in this new project. Rhythm is at the forefront, with the tone informed by stripped down, narcotic impressions of krautrock, hypnotic percussion, and subtly layered atmospherics. With an unintended nod to trip hop luminaries, Public Memory’s latest album ‘Wuthering Drum’ has a distinct urban sensibility and creates visions of a smoke filled city skyline.
The album opens with ‘Heir’ a slow paced track that seethes through to your inner core and takes over, lead by a slow and stand out percussive element backed by the beautiful chimes creates an unsettling yet relaxing vibe which, as it happens is the tone through the whole album.
Toher has created something that few artists can through his music and that is vision, there are few artists that today can project images through ones mind purely through audio. Each song creates memory if you will and one that is not your own, it is almost through his music he has planted one in your head. Each song comes with its own memory.
As previously mentioned the darker tone to Public Memory‘s music creates an almost industrial feel and spurs up imagery of foggy lights, sirens and a general urban vibe.
Tracks such as ‘Ringleader’ , ‘Cul De Sac’ & ‘Zig Zag’ all act as great visionary instruments, some of the sampling that is ever so subtle hovering in the background make these songs more alive, particularly in ‘Cul De Sac’ with the chirping of birds floating in the backdrop.
Another example of fantastic use of sampling is during the intro to ‘Domino’ which sees the use of a ship horn caressing the background of the track.
‘Wuthering Drum’ is a fantastic and unique piece of electronic music that acts less as music but as social art that invites the listener to take a journey through the city with Robert Toher.