Exposé Online banner

Runaway Totem — La Traccia
(Lizard 0133, 2018, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2018-09-05

La Traccia Cover art

For some reason, several of the last few albums in my review queue have been odd avant-garde releases. La Traccia by Runaway Totem is no exception. La Traccia is my first exposure to this eclectic Italian band, though we have been reviewing their output since 1996. Reading through the four prior reviews, I would say that La Traccia is a major departure for the band. While on past releases Runaway Totem has produced sprawling side-long avant rock compositions, La Traccia contains 14 compositions primarily in the two to six minute range, each seamlessly transitioning into the next. Most of the tracks contain processed and distorted voices, at times bordering on the demonic, like an avant-garde Antonius Rex. The overall mood of the disk is dark and sinister, with heavily processed sound sources, woodwinds, keyboards, synths, neo-classical violins, and rock instrumentation. Every once in a while, they provide ululating vocals reminiscent of Area. Things get a bit weird on “Terra” with its chanting and incantations that must be invoking something with angry shouting and crazed glissando electronics and heavy bass. As you make your way through the music, it starts to grow on you. After a few minutes you begin to appreciate that La Traccia is really a good album. And towards the end of the disc, you experience “L’Uomo all’Incrocio” that morphs from an ambient intro to a strong symphonic prog rock song. And the album closes with the 11 minute “Trequa,” a piece that moves from sampled choral chords to crazed scat voices to ululating vocals to melodic prog to a disorganized break with playground sounds and back to melodic prog, to then slowly fade away. An unclassifiable album to say the least, but one worthy of investigation.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Runaway Totem

Latest news

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Calhoun - Native Lands – Drummer Will Calhoun is best known for his work in Living Colour with guitarist Vernon Reid. Native Lands is a release showcasing the influences of jazz, rap, and world music on Calhoun's approach,...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues