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Phog Lounge

157 University Avenue West, Windsor, ON 99950

Community: Sandusky


Public Memory / Signal Exchange at Phog Lounge July 2nd / $12 advanced / $15 door / 9pm Doors / 19+

Event Details

Public Memory / Signal Exchange at Phog Lounge July 2nd / $12 advanced / $15 door / 9pm Doors / 19+

Since 2016, Public Memory has been crafting lo-fi electronica from the darker corners of the psychic landscape. Gritty atmospherics, damaged synthesizers, and unearthly vocals blend with a mixture of electronic and organic percussion, creating a sense of forceful unease. This, when combined with the shadowy production and emotive singing of Robert Toher, creates a singular contrast between power and vulnerability.

"Public Memory is the solo nom de plume of Robert Toher, a Brooklyn-based musician who formerly served time as a member of Eraas and Apse. While those projects blurred the edges of rambling space rock and synthy post-punk, Public Memory dives headlong down the electronic darkwave rabbit hole, exploring a Korg-constructed sonic palette that weaves together a variety of primitive beats, delicately employed samples (bells, chimes, the weeping of ghosts), and woozy electronics that sound as if they might have been recorded at the bottom of a lake. Created over the course of a year while Toher was temporarily decamped in Los Angeles, Wuthering Drum is a work of restrained gloom—a remarkably textured electronic record whose minimalist tendencies keep it from collapsing under the weight of its own moribund aesthetic.

One of the problems with making dark electronic music has to do with the fact that so much of it already exists. Music that is already so immediately in thrall to its influences often comes off as pale imitation, a weird facsimile of something we’ve heard again and again and again. It’s to Toher’s credit that Wuthering Drum largely avoids goth pastiche. The ten tracks offered here rarely stray too far past the three-minute mark, which means there isn’t much time for the songs to meander or overstay their welcome. While it’s easy to play spot the influences with the songs on Wuthering Drum—there are nods to krautrock, as well as songs that conjure the ghosts of Fad Gadget, Suspiria-era Goblin and early Cabaret Voltaire—Toher largely succeeds in creating an electronic landscape that is wholly his own.

Rather than provide a series of peaks and valleys, Wuthering Drum is mostly one sustained valley in which the predominant vibe is dirge. “Mirror” moves with all the percussive relentlessness of a chain gang—a chugging beat offset by the sound of shakers, tambourine and celestial bells. Elsewhere, “Ringleader” and “As You Wish” unspool in largely the same manner—somber, elegantly plodding, chorus-free–with Toher’s disembodied vocals floating throughout. It’s only in the album's second half that the inertia finally breaks. “Zig Zag” is the record’s closest flirtation with a pop moment (via a finger-snap of a drum beat and a spooky synth hook) while “Earwig” breaks the sustained tension by introducing just a hint of what sounds like sampled steel drums and the faintest crack of what could be the lazer beam sound effect from an old Atari game. It’s hard to know, actually, since these sounds flitter into and out of the songs so quickly and quietly that they sometimes barely register; it’s only after repeated listens that subtle layering in these compositions start to make sense." Pitchfork Magazine

Public Memory (Felte | Brooklyn, NY)

Instagram / Spotify / Facebook / Bandcamp / Felte

- Public Memory - Ripped Apparition

- Music Videos - Midsummer Shadow / The Line

- Press - Pitchfork / Post Punk / Interlocutor / Concert Guide Live

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