I have had my eye on TonalTheory for a while. They are known to play deep techno sets laced with their own productions. I have only heard stellar reviews of the shows they have been booked on. It is no surprise that How Could We Have Known is truly an album! Coming in at eleven tracks total with two remixes. I truly love the album format for electronic music and TonalTheory uses it to their advantage to pack out this album with different styles of techno and music.
The album opens up with an ambient ethereal track reminiscent of those lovely Burial tracks that don’t have drums, but they aren’t missing anything. The emotion is there in full force on “Aperture”. A perfect opening to the madness that will follow.
“A Beautiful World” is a lovely acid tune. It has a ton of beautiful textures and competes with the modern sound while still staying true to acid. The ethereal and techno aspects of this tune blend so well together. I imagine this breathing life into a room at 5am. Pushing into the sunrise with some deep vibes.
“We All Fall” is a minimal techno roller like none other. This tune is breathing and pushing in ways that you won’t believe. This is a techno song if I have ever heard one.
The fourth track “Left Unwanted” gets right to the point. After opening us up to some longer arrangements, they come in hard with a left field roller. This song is controlled chaos. It just keeps pushing out of line and falling right back in. The mixdown on this tune is particularly impressive as well.
“Valhalla” takes a moment to get rolling, but when it does it’s almost overwhelming. I enjoy it’s aggressive percs and beyond fat low end. With that in mind it also has such an intricate and delicate sound to it. This song really challenges you, but in a good way. This tune is a unique tune, but it still hits hard. The way the vocals and percs move with the hi-hats and white noise is magical.
Just past the halfway point we get “Her Confession”, a smooth interlude. A lovely palette cleanser before we enjoy the rest of the journey of an album.
“How Could We Have Known” takes advantage of “Her Confession” and pushes harder than you can imagine. “How Could We Have Known” feels like more of a throwback techno tune with some modern touches, but develops into a full-on array of drums and textures. These are the best drums I have heard on a song this year. This song can move and it will move people on the dancefloor. This tune is a weapon.
“Lockdown” has an efficient arrangement similar to “Left Unwanted”. Similarly, it also has a bit of a left field sound, but beyond that “Lockdown” is its own creature. The drums are epic and the call and response on all of the elements is amazing.
“Break the Silence” is really taking me back to the rave sound. The underground is calling me when I hear this tune. Those drones paired with the low create a truly eerie space. This song is a lovely way for them to finish off the originals and move into the remixes.
Furtive takes “How Could We Have Known” and turns it into a lovely mix of textures and clean drums. Pushing the top end with white noise and hi-hats creating some really cool effects on the top end. This song is not only dope, but beyond unique. This experimental take is going to be fun to hear on the dance floor.
Last, but not least, we are rounding off the album with a remix of “Left Unwanted” by KJB. KJB takes my favorite tune on the album and flips it on its head. Adding a mean Reese Bass and some lovely percussion. This song has a sick break and is a perfect way to build right back into the clean drop that KJB made.
TonalTheory have made a lovely album. Everyone go play this a few times.
How Could We Have Known is now available for download and purchase at TonalTheory’s Bandcamp page. Take a listen below: