Outfits such as Chicago's Tortoise and London's Main may have grabbed headlines on both sides of the Atlantic during 1997's post-rock heyday, but the breakdown of traditional rock & roll values was a global phenomenon. Replacing such vestiges as song and structure with ever more adventuresome electronic and post-production tactics, Tone Rec offers France's bid for relevance regarding the recontextualization of rock music.
On THUGNY TRUGNY, phrases of the foursome's drum-bass-guitar-keyboard interplay are chopped up, spliced, and polymerized. The extent of processing varies, from the gently looped "The Discreet Charm of Diplomacy" to the thoroughly disorienting dissection of "Handwriting Letters." Tone Rec strives for the viable essence of music, stripping all but the drum track of "Tetra and They" to a compressed background hum and dissolving "Technics Cimetery" into a stream of submerged thumps and loops, claw-like scrabblings, and eerie scratches. "Henry Winterman Old Shore," an impressionistic blur of colors and smeared forms, is especially successful in unshackling Tone Rec from all remnants of rock.