Sunday, March 12, 2017

Double Vinyl Review: Eponymous by Transona Five

Transona 5
As of this post, we have written a metric ton of posts about music of all stripes and statures.

The whole purpose of this blog and what make it run, is the idea that new music doesn't suck and that there is plenty of great music out there being written, recorded, and released by new bands, by new labels, and that these new voices are just as valid as the old ones.

In fact, I have pontificated countless times that we are living in the golden age of music and that this is literally the best time to be alive in terms of music.

You don't agree? Well, it's just like watching TV. We're in the best era for TV too. This is because of all the specialization. We no longer are beholden to values of 20 years ago. We are no longer having to watch just the most sanitized tv or listen to the most sanitized music.

Transona Five
More conduits of information have opened up and transmitted these things all over the world at a speed that would make the Borg Collective blush.

So, going back a decade, two decades, or three score, and though we are not living in an age of mega-lo-hyper larger than life superstars, rock music is alive, well, and kicking more ass than you can shake all of the 1980 Miracle on Ice Hockey team's sticks at!

Now, without a trace of irony, I give you music from twenty years ago...

From Dallas, Texas....Transona Five!

Before we get to what it feels like, let's talk about what this is.

Their self titled released, as pictured and reviewed here, is actually a compilation of their recordings from the middle to late 90's. The owner of Sonic Surgery Records is a fan and as he didn't have their music with him one day, he couldn't listen to them away from home.

At that point, he realized there was a problem and something had to be done. Now you have this album that's in our hands. This release is truly a labor of love. He felt that he's into it, so surely the whole rest of the world would be into it too right?

Moving on.

Sonic Surgery Records has gone Full Jurassic Park on the package.

The LPs themselves are 180 gram audiophile vinyl and look (and feel) like they are going to survive the nuclear war our president is trying to start.

The cover is gorgeous and that art, I have no idea whatsoever what it is, but I promise to get with band and bring it all to you.

No stone left unturned is my promise!

It also comes with a platter slipcover for your record player. Presumably, this should be kept inside of your sleeve and you should also never open your records or something, but mine, well it's on the turntable because I play with my toys.

Like discussing The Dazzling Killmen's re-release, context is key. Until around 1992, all recordings were done partially in analog. Our CDs had this code on the back, AAD, ADD, or DDD to delineate how it was recorded. Unlike today, when vast majority of music is recorded on wholly digital setups.

In theory, there's some sort of analog chain to track down on this double LP collection. In practice, the vinyl grooves are vibrant, lush, and clear. These records sound like what the told us CDs were going to be.

But wait, there's more!

Transona Five wasn't exactly on high fallootin' labels back in the day, hence their songs being out print and this collection being necessary. In 1995, when the original recordings were started, low budget albums weren't exactly the best sounding things in the world. Typically, they were quiet, subdued, you know, what's called Lo-Fi now.

Both the production and the mastering of the material is top notch, and no amount of remastering after the fact is going to fix poor production.

Now, let's talk Space Rock.

When it comes to space mind wanders into the realm of bands that really don't fit anywhere else. Hawkwind, Space Hog, and Chappo would all fit the bill. Interestingly enough, Transona Five do not fit with these others.

There's an element of space cadet to the music, but it's more appropriate to say that the space in Space Rock doesn't refer to the starry sky, but the room in a field.

Too Long; Didn't Read: If Lou Reed, Space Hog, and Chappo had a wild drunken night, Transona Five would be the baby that Maury Povich was DNA testing for.

This compilation is easily top ten in most mellow that I've reviewed and the ones that aren't heavier than this one are pop albums. More than just being mellow, there's room in the grooves. Remember there was a time before brick walling and when that time existed, kids, we were entreated to music that was lush and beautiful.

Though this album was recorded in the before time on god knows what equipment, it came out sounding a rose crying.

As for an album, it's hard to consider it as such. More than a single album, Transona 5 feels like a series of EPs, which makes perfect sense, because that's what it is.

Recently, there's been much discussion of scenes. What makes this record valid in 2017, over 20 years after recording began, is that Transona 5 does not belong to a scene. Had they been a part of the grunge, post grunge, alternative, whatever movement, this collection would sound like a post card from days past.

Being honest, this is an obscure band and basically no one was clamoring to get this band back into print. Had they all the awesome of Wicked Lester, you wouldn't be reading this because there would be no point.

As someone who sought out the most extreme music the 90's had to offer, I missed out on Transona Five, but as that angry, young man, I probably would've told them to jog on anyway.

In 2017, this record makes a welcome addition to my vinyl library. We are just going to assume that Transona Five started the keep Austin Weird campaign. (Without Evidence.) For that we owe them an imaginary debt.

Because of that debt, this album will be played when people come over.

Let's all spread the word.

Release: 2/17/17
Genre: Space Rock
Label: Sonic Surgery Records
Formats: LP/Digital
LE: Unknown

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