Toc: Haircut

review toc x1 cong

We know very little about TOC, as the internet is not forthcoming.
They’re on the Circum-disk label, a collective of jazz musicians based in the Malterie in Lille, France.
Toc is a trio and the Circum-disk website seems to say that the album name is because they seek to “cut, equalise and often uncurl” music.
It’s avant-garde jazz, though from this it’s hard to classify.
It opens with simple military-style percussion (possibly a snare drum with the snare turned off) and from then it’s a metronomic rhythm with distorted guitar over the top. It’s a bit Hawkwind/Gong, the kind of interlude of repeated musical phrases those bands would have as a bridge between sections. It’s a bit too off-kilter to develop a hypnotic groove you can chill out to, though it develops a more conventional rock beat about two thirds of the way through. Track two (there are two tracks on here, Half Updo and Updo) is more of the same; in fact if you’re not listening carefully you can’t tell where one ends on the other starts.
As an artistic endeavour it’s admirable and we like Toc’s style. While it’s repetitive, it’s got an energy to it that forces you to pay attention. We’re not sure if it’s improvised or following music. How many people will sit and listen to it for pleasure is questionable though it might be worth investigating you’re a big fan of Hawkwind and their ilk or avant garde jazz. It’s flawed, but we’re also looking forward to sampling a second album Circum-disk have sent us: being interesting can make up for a lot else.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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