Thursday, January 12, 2006

"1000" - TROUBLE Over TOKYO

TROUBLE OVER TOKYO is the music made by a boy called Toph.

" 1000 "

1. Is He Alive?
2. No-Handed (Part I)
3. Lend me a light
4. 1000
5. Monster
6. The Assembly Line
7. New Hero
8. No-Handed (Part II)
9. The Boy
10. Transparent

I'm not going to be able to be very objective. I wish I could have that professional distance and write a review that all would read, technically, and ascertain for themselves whether or not the reviewer convinces them that they should get this CD in it's entirety and listen for themselves. No, I can't write that kind of review about 'this prophetic release' from Trouble Over Tokyo. I have to be honest and tell you, that without exception, this will be one of the most talked about independent releases of 2006 from a debut artist and I don't want you to be one of the few that will wish you knew what everyone else will be raving about if you fail to heed the seriousness of this charge: PICK UP THIS RELEASE, post haste!

How I wish I had the power to make sure that this disc gets into the hands of all the musical pundits, daring them to measure it against any present or future release of an artist that's writing, producing, engineering, performing and singing all of their tunes as Toph Taylor so eloquently does. On his new label, Tokyotron Records, with partner Gareth Jordan, this debut release so aptly titled "1000" has exactly that many discs pressed in limited release for it's official debut on February 13th. After those are completely sold, there will be a more general release later in the year, at which time, if you don't know who Trouble Over Tokyo is, you'll be really upset with yourself to know that you could have been there on the ground floor supporting this admittedly reluctant, fragile, insightful, witty, insecure and frustrated artist exorcising his demons so elaborately in these incredibly intricate harmonies and sonic explorations that are full of depth and desire and longing and

I'm reluctant to single out favorites in this 10 song, 41 minutes of pure joy.
There are dance songs, moving ballads, tunes that are haunting and experimentally intricate and slightly off meter.., all intentional for the mood that Toph wishes to express. Lend Me a Light is deeply emotional and is performed with artistic modesty and understated flare and Monster reveals this artists' bouts with his inner demons and will allow others to 'see' his heart in his smile, beyond the shallowness that often passes for acceptance. Is He Alive will be his signature tune for years to come, allowing you to witness the genius of Toph in the infectious beat, backing harmonies and spirited lyrics. A close second to that signature title might be No Handed, done twice in this release, with the latter one revealing Toph unplugged with just piano and backing vocals, singing from the depths of his soul.

The title cut is the most involved lyrically and it's dramatic meaning is sure to have others discussing it's poignancy into the wee hours of the morning. Notice especially how this tunes 'ends''s simply genius in it's execution.
The Boy stands out in it's autobiographical subtlety and is performed possibly as the most sensitive of the ten tracks. Do we need to ask, who 'the boy' is? It seems important to this artist to retain his naivete while exposing a maturity of understanding of his brave new world. I'm proud that someone has the courage of their convictions, especially at the recording age of 25, to write honestly about his world, his fears, his doubts, his loves... and expose it all to the world at large, unabashedly. To describe Toph's voice in terms of comparisons doesn't do it justice. His bio reads "if you threw Bjork and Michael Jackson in a blender, you'd pretty much be there.., only with less blood", is that ToT self-effacing humor at it's zenith. He's a tenor and then some, with pop-soul sensibilities but honestly there's not quite a voice like his in contemporary music. At least not one that has as much control as Toph does of his. It's other-worldly at times, just like his musical arrangements. You'll be mesmerized as you listen to him soar in that borderless falsetto. Remember, all the voicings you hear belong to this distinctive artist.

I highly recommend you listen, honestly and purposely, to this entire release that is as creative musically as it is lyrically and vocally and anyone would be hard press to say at which it is most successful. ~~BD of

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Perhaps it's been the interpersonal relationships that are always challenged in the holiday season.., but I see many hurting and being hurt in places where they should feel safe. Let's face it, there are those, in our lives, that say they love us, but their love HURTS. Makes us feel badly, makes us cry, doubt ourselves and worse, believe the lie that 'this is love'.
And, sometimes, the one doing the hurting.., is 'us'.

How Can I Tell You... about that time in my life when I was less than the man, brother, father, son that I was designed to be? I wrote this tune mainly for my daughter of whom I was estranged from at the time.

The musician-engineer-producer, Edwin Ramos, was also going through a divorce and a seperation from his daughter. I think that informs the lyric and musical spirit of this song.It's not certain if either daughter ever heard the tune in it's completion, but I don't think we wrote it with that result in mind. We had to say these things, in order to be 'free' and without this confession, could we ever really 'move on' and forgive ourselves??

This is another taste of my evolution and it's uploaded to encourage those of you on this list that are hurting.., and might know of another that has gone through a similar pain.., to listen, and be healed from that defeatist attitude. The lyrics are on the interface with the tune EdenDust @ MySPACE.

Thanks for your indulgence as we share yet another tune from the vault of EdenDustRecords & StudioLabs.