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Meet… Thomas Truax

April 26, 2010 by  

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Meet… Thomas Truax

With the help of his idiosyncratic home-built instruments and rhythm machines, Thomas Truax is constantly exploring innovative ways to make new sounds to weave into his imaginative songs and captivating live performances. Layered revved motor-like hums that are the basis of opening track ‘Beehive Heart’ are generated by a pair of “glasses” made out of a set of small motorized fans repeatedly stroked against the body of his now-legendary invented instrument The Hornicator. Songs ‘Around The World With The Sexy Sigh’ and ‘Post Post Post Modern’ were both written on a newly-conceived instrument, The Scary Aerial, conjured up from a TV aerial. “I was looking out at the rooftops one night and I suddenly thought ‘look at all those frets! They should have strings on ’em!” (Guardian interview, March 2010). Percussion comes courtesy of his pioneering motorized mechanical drum machines Mother Superior and Sister Spinster. There are also smatterings of live drums, even field recordings of ceremonial voodoo drums from New Orleans on the notably ‘Lynchian’ ‘Balancing On A Bouncing Wire’. Most instruments are played by Truax himself, with tasteful orchestral embellishment arriving courtesy of occasional collaborator Pete Harvey. Curtis Eller, “New Yorks’ Angriest Banjo Player”, also makes a guest appearance on ‘The Cannibals Have Captured Our Nicole Kidman’.

Sonic Dreamer skillfully combines more complex layered works with numbers subtly stripped-down to their bare essentials. As in last year’s covers album ‘Songs From The Films of David Lynch’ a number of songs on this album are traditionally arranged, performed on recognizable instruments, or even elegantly delivered with guitar and voice alone (as in the closer, ‘Lonely Taxi’). Written and recorded sporadically over a three-year period, Sonic Dreamer documents a journey through a rich variety of experiences, reflections, and emotional ups and downs. It is like a kind of strange dream in it’s own right.

Thomas Truax (pronounced troo-aks) emerged from the fertile New York Antifolk scene which has given us the likes of Jeffrey Lewis, Beck, and Regina Spektor. He has made his living by touring and releasing albums for the better part of the past decade. Truax’s past vocations as a young magician, theatrical set-builder, an MTV stop-motion animator (‘Celebrity Deathmatch’, ‘Robot Chicken’) inform his exceptional work today. He even ran away with the Toby Tyler Circus in Florida for a time (before deciding he’d be better served hanging flyers for his own act in New York). Truax’s extraordinary performances and singular outlook have attracted the attention of filmmakers. He has appeared in two feature-length films: ‘Instrumental’, from director Gabe Shalom (US, 2005) documenting the lives of four artists who make their own instruments, and Adam Clitheroe’s ‘One Man In The Band’ (UK, 2008). A new self-released DVD collection of music videos and live footage is in the works for release in later 2010.

Recent days have seen Thomas collaborating with Jarvis Cocker, and performing spoken word renditions of his long-running ‘Wowtown’ writings. A Truax-penned song also features on Duke Special’s latest album. When not on the road, he currently resides in London.


THOMAS TRUAX TOUR DATES
6 May, Thurs: Preston, HED@The Continental http://www.newcontinental.net
7 May, Fri: Hull, Adelphi
9 May, Sun: Stockton, Waiting Room
10 May, Mon: Aberdeen, Tunnels http://www.thetunnels.co.uk
12 May, Wed: Inverness, Market Bar
14 May, Fri: Glasgow, 13th Note http://www.13thnote.co.uk
15 May, Sat: Edinburgh, SL Records show @ The Roxy Rooms
16 May, Sun: Newcastle, Cumberland Arms
23 May, Sun: London, Monthly Residency ‘Full Moon Sunday’ at the Spice Of Life, W1D 5NA
28 May, Fri: Derby, Bar One – fundraiser for Macmillan (Cancer Support)
29 May, Sat: Oxford, Jericho Tavern http://www.thejericho.co.uk
30 May, Sun: Manchester, Hungry Pigeon Festival (venue TBC)




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