Those of you that know about the inner-workings at R$N Towers will recognise the name Mike Boorman as being the man behind the infamous fox. Continuing the series, Mr Boorman uses his expert cunning skills to pluck an aural beauty out of the air and bring it into your ears. Here is this month's beast…
Artist: DF Tram
Album: Illegal Lingo
Without even speaking to DF Tram, you can tell he’s an interesting character. There’s something amusing about this album, and yet there is real depth in the sound too. I bet he could tell you a long story about why each track sounds how it does, and I bet he’d be a bit of a weapon when holding court on a hay bale at some far-flung festival.
There’s a psychedelic laziness about it – it figures that DF Tram hails from San Francisco – and while the instrumentation is basically what you’d expect in the genre of “chill out”, the end piece of work is beyond the all-too-common cliche of the genre. And that’s because of the words, both in the sense of the vocals and the spoken-word samples that infiltrate every song. There is literally a narrative; sometimes it’s profound, sometimes it’s edgy, sometimes it’s plain stupid.
The profound moments are mostly delivered by the brilliant female vocalist Coppe, and never better than in the album-titled track, “Illegal Lingo”. If you only listen to one track from the album, make it this one – it’s a total beast. Enigma wish they’d have made this back in the 90s. Or maybe they don’t – maybe they had a great time off the back of the burgeoning market for lift music – but there is some synergy in the blatant nature of the vocals and rising pads of Illegal Lingo; it just all seems a bit more genuine in the case of DF Tram. I just love the line “illegal lingo, for us dingos” anyway.
Some people may tire of the constant sampling of American voices from TV and radio, but if it worked for The Orb and it worked for The Doors, well, there shouldn’t be much argument. I think it helps that it all seems to mean something, but that what it means isn’t always earnest – sometimes it’s just a bit of a laugh – and that’s important. Some good fun was definitely had in putting it together – props to Steve Miller on production duty for letting the ideas run free.
In terms of sounds alone, this is nothing new, but the personality of it is what makes it essential listening. By the end of it you feel like you’ve had a guided tour of DF Tram’s mind, but you’re still intrigued to find out more.