Toàn – Histós Lusis

‘Histós Lusis’ is the latest album from Anthony Elfort, under the pseudonym of Toàn. Known also as Qiwu Selftet, releasing a number of albums that fuse together hip hop and jazz (seek out ‘Qub’ (2014), and ‘Travelling Arriere’ (2011)). Elfort departs from synthesizers and beat driven music in favour of a much more organic approach; ‘Histós Lusis’ is a gorgeously constructed collection of tracks created live instrumentation, sampled material, and various field recordings. The result is a stunning organic, flowing, and heartfelt listening experience. Sombre moments, such as the album’s second track, ‘Post Tenebras’, exaggerates well-worn sonic textures of degraded mediums, dusty strings, and a sparsely played piano. The rural and the rustic are brought to mind, even if unintended, and a gentle atmosphere is created. Toàn’s avoidance of synthesized sound sources in favour of manipulating ‘natural’ sound sources is part what makes this album so approachable, but also, the sense of honesty and vulnerability that is most relatable. Nothing is lost without the artist’s use of synthesizers, but it can be said with confidence that a lot has been gained.

Some of the most interesting elements within the album are what may be described as accidental; the seemingly random string movements and percussion in ‘Une Touche De Plui’, and the offset plucks of ‘अरोड़ा’. I can’t help but draw comparisons to the debut work of Tim Linghaus released earlier this year on Moderna Records (also reviewed here on Irregular Crates). These ‘accidental’ musical moments help in supporting a greater body of work by creating a sense of momentary time and space, and the uniqueness of the seemingly unintentional musical gestures. Both Linghaus and Toàn also make creative use of sparse orchestral percussive elements that are a rarity amongst ambient and modern-classical releases. The stand out track is ‘Plume’, gradually building and evolving from minimalistic piano to include more complex playing, warm string drones, and the metallic sounds of explored percussion. ‘Histós Lusis’ retains a great sense of space; open and fluid, with well-though placement and arrangement. Nearly a month after its release on Eilean Rec. (completely the fault of this reviewer), Toàn’s ‘Histós Lusis’ stands firmly as an outstanding and complete musical work.