Bart M. : There are certain bands and musicians, projects and groups that have dedicated themselves to one particular sound or instrument. For instance, I once wrote a review about an album that was all about the lap steel guitar, and it was no easy task, let me tell you. Moto Toscana from Germany fits into that category in that the most noticeable sound on each of the nine songs on their debut album is that of the bass guitar. I expect both bass players and aficionados to get a lot of satisfaction from this album.
This is not an instrumental record. Besides the bass and drums there is also clean singing going on and all of this added together makes for a sound that is not entirely unpleasant to listen to. Just a little uncomfortable from time to time. Because of the predominating sound it is like you find yourself trapped in a continual bass solo and it all feels very jazzy and experimental. Admittedly, the groovy rigidness occasionally makes room for more tempo and melody, and this is when I somewhat understand the "sludgefunk" label the band put on themselves, but never does the album really get lift-off.
There is something missing. Yes, obviously the guitar is, but what I mean is that I really do miss it when I am listening to 'Moto Toscana'. It is like you have eaten salted potatoes all your life and then all of a sudden you are given potatoes without salt to eat. It is very hard to shove it all in, but it is not impossible to get used to. I am sure it isn't, because after listening to the album a couple of times, the initial stress I found at hearing this large, flat bass sound grew less and I even started noticing rhythms and sounds. This music is clearly passion driven, but I do not seem to connect with it.