IF 1076LP IF 1076LP

After spending his debut album exploring techno and mechanical sounds in the depths of the Pas-de-Calais mines, Toh Imago looks up to the sky, with an open breeze on his face, as tree branches and canopy filter out the sun's rays on Refuge. All the machines used during the album recording are tuned at 432hz, carrying the mystical benefits of Earth's resonance. Spending just seconds with the opening track, the listener is drawn into the safety that Refuge was intended to provide, and each subsequent piece pulls you deeper and deeper into the album's forest. Refuge was recorded on the edge of the Mormal Forest, in the North of France. With nature as a setting and studio accomplice, the album features synthesizers, field-recordings, as well as the acoustic qualities of reverbs from the nearby forest. As the artist's inner world and nature converge in moments of self-reflection, so the album's 11 recordings harmoniously unfold in a cavalcade of machines and organic sonorities. While the first LP Nord Noir (IF 1055LP, 2019) explored his family's mining past, Refuge is about being present and the desire to re-contextualize the relationship between nature and humans. It is a record of uplifting tones that is filled with optimism, imbued with the lightness of those who finally reconnect with nature, their roots, and the feeling of groundedness. Like the steps taken on a walk in the woods, the 11 tracks sonically tell the story of an inner journey divided in three chapters. "Asile Sauvage", "Sylve Barbare", and "Avril Mormal" take the listener into a fast-paced progression of rhythms. When the heart of the forest is reached, the journey becomes intimate, revealing a sacred space where breathing becomes the leading tempo ("Locus Neminis") and the traveler becomes a spirit lost in space ("Cosmos Intra"). The journey's climax is reached with "Monde intérieur". The album closes with "Chiff Chaff" which accompanies the listener back to a reality, hopefully a more reassuring one. Across the album, Toh Imago finds inventive ways of opening a dialogue between nature and machine, both literally and metaphorically, creating a soundscape that both feels like and was created by the natural world that surrounds him. The album offers a shelter from a predetermined world. It's a story told through ambience, racy and subtle electronics, and the memories of lichens clinging to shoes.