Title: Theta State
Release Date: 2015 Feb 16
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Label: No Qualms Records
Tomple2oon is the project of Thompson Pierce, a 26 year old trance producer local to Carins, Australia. Not exactly a hub of EDM, but No Qualms records has appropriately no qualms about that. “Theta State” is his newest release, and the first of 2015, bringing listeners to the titular destination.
Tomple2oon: Theta State
Let me start this review by saying that psytrance is not my preferred cup of tea. The visuals are nice, but the Bleeding Cowboys-esque font on the title was a little bit out of place. Formalities aside, the record itself consists of three tracks, each running somewhere between nine and ten minutes. Not much room for filler, which is always nice to see. My issue with this release is that it gets repetitive far too early. Before the trance community tries to pitch me off of the Internet, let me qualify that by saying that I don’t necessarily think repetition is bad (music wouldn’t be much fun without it), but excessive repetition has the ability to numb the listener to the best parts of the tracks.
The first track, “Let There Be Light”, comes in with a sublime combination of gentle and abrasive. Glitchy bass hooks and plucks are laid over a simplistic, minimal, half-time beat, swells up to…a pitched-down sample of Russell Crowe’s character from the film “Noah” telling us that: “In the beginning, there was nothing…Let there be light.” The resulting drop, unfortunately, does not live up to expectation; the track actually gets better once most of the refrain kicks in. Really, that speech sample could have sustained itself if it was just the single line containing the title.
Next up we have “Essence of Emerald”, and a track with enough low end production to get the room (or car, or club) shaking. Flourishes and plucks be damned, this track is all about the bass. That’s not to say they aren’t there, but they’re just auxiliary to the steady bass-centric groove of this track. Unfortunately, as with the first track, it doesn’t really go anywhere. Of course, that helps with the trance appeal, but some more progression would certainly help it along.
The title track is probably the strongest of the bunch, opening up with Crystal Method-esque swells and edited synths. The bassline from the previous track seems to make a reprise, and at this point I’m not sure if the drum samples have shown any signs of differentiation throughout the whole album. The strong opening segues to a refrain that leaves something to be desired; taking a tone for the minimal may work well at a party or in a club, but it’s less impressive when sitting around and listening alone. This time, the speech sample isn’t overblown, instead pushed far enough back into the mix and cut to appropriate length.
Tomple2oon has produced a record which certainly bears merit, but it’s meant for a certain mood and a certain feeling, neither of which I could really find myself slipping into. Nothing is, per se, weak or lacking, but nothing is very striking either. It’s hit-or-miss, catchy but easily dropped to the ground. I’d probably enjoy it more if I had a better ear for trance, but if you want to pass a half hour at one BPM with some minimal vibes, I’d recommend it.