The Tobacconists are Scott Foust (Idea Fire Company/Swill Radio) and Frans de Waard (Kapotte Muziek/Korm Plastics).
In 2005, Frans joined Idea Fire Company on their European tour (as documented on the “Vital - Live In Europe” CD). Four years later, Scott F. returned to Europe to screen his feature film “Here’s To Love” and reconnected with Frans to form The Tobacconists. An intensive week of rehearsals yielded six new pieces of music, followed by a European tour and a proper studio recording. These new pieces became “A Secret Place.”
"A Secret Place" differs from their first LP by its inclusion of bass guitar, rhythms, and synthesizers. Scott Foust calls himself a "one man Dome (Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis’ post-Wire project) promotion army" and admirer of Gilbert & Lewis’ recorded output of the 1980s, but he’s not alone: both Mike and Frans are massive fans too, so they decided this new record should have some of those signature Dome bass lines and general playfulness.
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Scott Foust and Frans de Waard team up again as The Tobacconists release, this time with the addition of Mike Popovich of The Pickle Factory. To give you some idea of who these guys are if you don’t already know: Scott Foust also plays in Idea Fire Company and runs the Swill Radio label, releasing LPs by top-drawer outsiders as The Shadow Ring, Asmus Tietchens and Ralf Wehowsky; Frans de Waard has released music on Staalplaat, Mort Aux Vaches, Beta-lactam Ring, Infraction and Important among others as part of Beequeen, Kapotte Muziek and Goem among many others. Oh, and he runs Korm Plastiks which has released stuff by Psychic TV, The Hafler Trio, Jim O'Rourke and Francisco Lopez among many many others.
So, underground credentials aside, is the music any good? Well, don’t be lulled by the cover with its dreamy rendering of a tropical beach paradise, what you get here is a series of unclassifiable soundscapes of densely layered psychotropic noise. There is some recognisable bass in there, some synths, distorted guitars and a load of field recordings, found sounds and unidentifiable looped textures- all played with blissful disregard for any conventional notions of musical structure. What I particularly like about their approach though is, rather than pile the sounds up to unleash an overwhelming aural assault, they more subtly build up strange relationships so that the tracks become weirdly evocative; each track maintaining its own surrealist logic and atmosphere for the listener to revel in. A fine record then to stimulate parts of your subconscious you didn’t know you had.
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