Somnambule - Writing About Music

Stromba ~ The Sitting Room

Stromba started out as the sample-based duo of James Dyer and Tom Tyler. However, even inattentive listening to this debut album would reveal the presence of a living, breathing band which lends a distinct, earthy edge to proceedings. The Sitting Room begins with James Nye’s mournful saxophone which is soon joined by arcing violin, vibes and brushed percussion which give the track a middle eastern flavour echoed by its humorous title, Camel Spit. There’s a hypnotic, melodic quality to the music that’s very attractive. Septic Skank stumbles into digital dub territory, powered along by some fine bass and embellished just once by the crowing of a cockerel in true Dr Alimantado style. Invisible Stink is more notably programmed with tribal breakbeats and seething atmospheres though it’s also blessed with lazy guitar chords that quickly rally into grooviness. Giddy Up follows in its predecessor’s slipstream, cutting a groove that keeps going for the duration accompanied by funk brass and conga drums. Swamp Donkey wanders into a Balinese temple, soaks up the atmosphere and has a good look around before teleporting off to the Louisiana swamps.

There’s a trippy, dreamy quality to The Sitting Room that’s informed by dub, pyschedelia and numerous musics from around the globe. The press release indicates that much of the album was recorded in Tom Tyler’s sitting room, but doesn’t say where Tyler lives. On the evidence of this outing the smart – but probably misguided - money’s on Tabernas in southern Spain (where so many spaghetti westerns were filmed, including The Good, The Bad And The Ugly), San Francisco or Kingston, Jamaica.
Colin Buttimer
April 2005
Published by Milkfactory