Vanity Drum - A Bygone Memory
Vanity Drum was forged in the fires of Toxic Razor's creative mind. With several Projects under his belt including Paradox Obscur and Beatbox Machinery, there was a plethora of unused tracks and ideas that just didn't fit into anything at the time. Vanity Drum is the outlet and home to these demo recordings, primal ideas and discarded tracks. After some time and effort, new versions were revealed by Toxic Razor that bolstered his reworked creations with a fragile simplicity.
If you are familiar with his Beatbox Machinery project, this seems to fit that very mold of distant cold wave currents paired with Toxic Razor's distinct vocals. There is a fragile airy feel to the foundation of the tracks that are fortified with the signature vocal style and slower tempos than what Beatbox Machinery may dish out. The music feels like a long walk in the cover of darkness on a cool night with the waning moon's light barely guiding the way to a unknown destination.
It may be pointless for some to attempt any sort of delineation with Beat Box Machinery and Vanity Drum and that's okay. There isn't a need to justify the similarities or the differences. Some of these tracks were probably intended to be Beatbox Machinery songs all along but never made the cut in the primal form. Call it the B-Sides if it makes you happy.
There are several strong tracks included on 'A Bygone Memory' album. "Night Shadow" and "As Shadows Dance" are both brilliant pieces that ring in plenty of 80's synth work that pull you back to your younger days when things were simple and straight forward. Half way through "Night Shadow" a haunting transition occurs that sandwiches some captivating synth arrangements with memorable sounds that display a solid understanding of the music direction of the song. "As Shadows Dance" is another solid display of 80's inspired music with nice layers in the design paired with Toxic Razor's melodies. This is definitely the best manifestation of music and vocals on this release.
Vanity Drum offers some diversity in sound as all of the tracks had their humble beginnings at different times. The first five songs pull you in with addictive melodic song structures while the last five branch out with more experimentation with minimal beats and vocals effects. "Strain" immediately captivated me with its harder edge. Unfortunately it was less than two minutes long where most tracks clock in at or near the three minute range.
Fans of Sleep Museum make find some common ground with Vanity Drum and obviously fans of Beat Box Machinery will find recognizable comfort here as well. I'm always up for any Toxic Razor project. He has plenty. Head over to Bandcamp and check out the Werkstatt Recordings page. You can listen to everything from the label and purchase physical versions as well. Cassette and CDs by Vanity Drum are available.
Mar 08 2018
Part time reviewer since 2012 with over 140 contributions with reviews, interviews and news articles.
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