ulrich troyer / reviews / Dolomite Dub
ulrich troyer


Dolomite Dub
(Released 02/2019 on 4Bit Productions, Vienna)

Featured as #6 in the Top 10 Dub / Reggae REWIND 2019 charts in THE WIRE (Columnists’ Charts, Steve Barker, The Wire Issue 431 January 2020)

"Vienna based musician Ulrich Troyer may be best known as a member of The Vegetable Orchestra, but since the 2011 launch of his Songs For William series he’s also been the purveyor of a uniquely cultured dub style. Divided into four movements, Dolomite Dub is his most adventurous exploration of a modern dub genre to date. Mixing live instrumentation with his own bank of FX manipulations, noise and found sound, he has entered the musical zones of place, cracks and slides of ice, shifts in the brittle landscape, cavernous space and stomach-churning drops captured on his seven day alpine hike across the Dolomites. Here he voyages beyond dub invention into pure experience.To be filed alongside the best of Pole.
- Steve Barker, The Wire, March 2019 - issue 421 (UK)

"Ulrich Troyer, a member of the Vegetable Orchestra, has enlisted a couple of colleagues from that ensemble but left the vegetables behind temporarily in order to create a neat 40-minute work that’s inherently quite conceptual- both musically, structured around a single tone scale but alternating the key tone between each of the four parts, and as a broader artistic statement attempting to represent in music the experience of a several-day alpine hike across the Italian mountains- but which as an end product, the bottom- line sonic output stripped of its conceptual clothing, is an absolutely charming bit of downtempo quasi-electronica that’s tailor-made for relaxation.

The dub elements- most notably Didi Kern’s percussion, the low walking basslines and the use of long reverbs and delays- blend beautifully with more ‘sound art’-style decorative elements and effects. Squelching bass noises and found sounds give some of the parts a more than slight resemblance to some 90’s Future Sound Of London works, a comparison that’s given further weight by both the tempo and the supremely confident blending of real instrumentation into esoteric sonic space. The long track structures and slow evolution also recalls early The Orb tracks from the same period. The deftness with which interest is maintained over forty minutes has to be appreciated. The contra-alto clarinet- an instrument for which I continue to have a soft spot- is enchanting in its minimalism for the most part, eventually unfolding into a brighter jaunty melody in Part IV that feels as though it represents that bit of the long hike where the home or basecamp is in sight and you realise you’ll make it with time and energy to spare.

It’s mesmeric, with a tangible calming influence and a fantastic attention to texture and detail that rewards repeat listens. It’s early doors so far but it seems likely this will be one of my favourite albums of the year." 
- Stuart Bruce, Chain D.L.K. (US)

"This is some excellent stuff, a fine blend of such extreme opposites such as dub, field recordings and improvised music. I couldn't offhand think of anyone else doing something similar and that is perhaps a great accomplishment." 
- FdW, vital weekly 1166, VITALWEEKLY (NL)

"Questa personale visione delle Dolomiti austriache diventa un affresco sonoro molto disteso, dove più che descrivere l’altitudine delle montagne, pare ispirarsi all’aria fresca e rarefatta che solo lì si respira." 
- Gilberto Ongaro, Music Map, Blog (IT)

"I first discovered Viennese glitch/dub producer Ulrich Troyer (as Uli Troyer) via his debut release, a 3" CD (remember those? I have so many...) on what was still, at the time, the Megolabel. With dub undertones, it was basically a bunch of short pieces made from glitchy, clicky beats. Nice enough that I kept it in my collection, but it was a surprise to find a promo years later from the beloved dubstep label Deep Medi in my inbox with Ulrich Troyer's name on it. The Songs For William album is not dubstep, but it's glitchy dub of a characteristic German/Austrian flavour, and utterly lovely. Cut to 2019, and his latest album Dolomite Dub is out on his own 4Bit Productions. Its 4 long tracks make up an engrossing mountain trek, perfect travelling music. Probably his best work yet."
- Peter Halo, FBIRADIO, Sydney (AUS)

"Dolomite Dub: a brisk adventure in dub through mountain soundscapes
Part adventure travelogue / part homecoming nostalgia trip and an all-round immersive sound art opus, “Dolomite Dub” is Austrian-based Italian (South Tyrol) sound designer Ulrich Troyer’s homage to the South Tyrol area in northern Italy where he spent part of his childhood. While he was originally born in Innsbruck and is currently based in Vienna, where he runs his label 4Bit Productions, Troyer still carries an Italian passport. The 42-minute work, broken up into four parts of more or less equal lengths, takes listeners on a sonic journey across mountainous alpine landscapes as Troyer on guitar, sampler, field recordings and dub effects, and his collaborators on bass guitar, contra-alto clarinet and percussion imagine and interpret them. Oh no, you say, not another long mountain-based soundscape work that sweeps listeners off their feet with majestic vistas and soaring heights encapsulated in droning synth orchestras! No, no, NO, this album is not like that at all! It’s as much about the work and effort you have to put in if you’re hiking or biking along the paths that Troyer has trod, and this album oozes energy and sweat and all the aching muscle effort of climbing the grassy hills and following well-worn and trodden paths while Troyer leads the way. The music is light and bubbly, full of quicksilver flotsam and throbbing, ricocheting dub effects that urge you on. The rhythmic accompaniment and reggae beats give the music vigour and the light guitar backing adds silvery delicacy. By turns the music can be very rhythmic and beat-oriented, its pace ranging from easy and laid-back to something slightly more urgent yet still effortless, and sometimes unstructured and formless with tones and textures passing through space or passing snippets of message or code from one to another in a relay. Early on the music is restless and hurries listeners along, as if impatient to get us all up at the crack of dawn and out the doors in our hiking boots up the slopes to the summits; and later it slows down in parts, as if pausing for breath to take in the fresh raw air, the nippy temperatures and the scenery. It is very light and quite trippy beguiling music, very easy on the ear with its delicate silver or crystal tones, seductive hisses and whisking sounds, and the comically dancing clarinet when it comes in quite late in the recording. Even if you’re not in the mood for making long treks through hilly country and you prefer to manage your montane adventures vicariously through photographs and pictures in print or online media, this soundscape adventure is recommended relaxing."
- Nausika, The Sound Projector

"Parts I-IV of Ulrich Troyer‘s Dolomite Dub is the Vienna-based sound artist’s latest foray into taking an Alpine hike and delivering it as a whirlwind of in-situ activities that offer both dissonance and meditation. Along with other invited musicians, the pieces take you into passages along a journey of doorways, down roads with the aid of bells/chimes, wind instruments and a plethora of ancillary percussion. A set of complex minimalism where atmosphere meets the timbre of a quasi jazz at the crossroads of beat abstraction. The melodies are reclusive yet warm. And just when there is a certain contentment drums and horns ruffle the feathers. I’m reminded of some of those Morphine records on Rykodisc back in the day, this sort of genreless fusion between alternative rock, jazz and the unexpected.
The psychedelic effects of dub really begin to take hold on Part III where things meander in the soft hiss of quietude alongside Didi Kern‘s expert drumkit that keeps the beat and adds a shaky bone china element that is stylish and effective. By the final of these four lengthy vignettes there is this sense of weariness, like any roadtrip might calculate and hope to redefine. But the determination to reach the end of the road takes its paces here in a blend of funky, languid beats."

"Conceptually reflecting on a multi-days hike in the Dolomite mountains set at a constant given speed of 133.3 bpm we see Ulrich Troyer and the participating triumvirate consisting of Jürgen Berlakovich, Susanna Gartmayer and Didi Kern develop a slow moving musical landscape based on dry bass figures, delicate, yet slightly dreamlike, fever'ish and tribalistic, in parts even live played percussions as well as occasional effects on all interwined tracks of the album which, from our perspective, is closer related to styles like Indietronica, (Post)PostRock, late 90s Viennese Future Jazz or Contemporary (Neo)Krautrock than to the original Dub genre although the given references and intersections between these genres are obvious on this album." 

"Inspiration Dolomiten - Mit Blick auf die Südtiroler Dolomiten ist Ulrich Troyer aufgewachsen. Nach der experimentellen Dub-Trilogie "Songs for William" und der EP "Deadlock Versions" hat er sich für sein neuestes Werk "Dolomite Dub" von dieser hochalpinen Landschaft inspirieren lassen. Ursprünglich 2015 als Auftrag für das ORF musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst geschaffen, hat der in Wien ansässige Musiker seine rund 40-minütige Komposition weiterentwickelt. Als musikalische Gäste hat er Didi Kern (Schlagzeug), Susanna Gartmayer (Kontra-Altklarinette) und Jürgen Berlakovich (Bass) geladen."
- Astrid Schwarz, OE1 zeitton Extended, 03.02.2019

"Eine Bergwanderung in Dub gibt es hier zu hören. So tief wie die Dolomiten hoch, verfolgt Troyer hier seine Bass-Forschungen, die er zuletzt unter anderem auf seinen drei "Songs for William"-Alben betrieb. Kunstvoll, aber nicht das, was man verkopft nennt."
- Stone, TRUST 02/2019 (DE)

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