Review ·

An occasional misstep leaves the stark, dub-heavy beats on Gestalt,
the debut long-player from the Berlin four-piece called Tolcha, in a
rather inconsistent bind. Half of the stinging electronic experiments
here look particularly sharp against those maimed by the group's choice
of guest emcees. As far as the vocal numbers are concerned, when
spoken-word artist/emcee RQM handles the mike duties, it's evident that
he should've been wrestled into cutting vocals on every track, not just
on four of them.



is part of Berlin's dubby electronic/hip-hop scene, alongside some
other similarly explorative outfits with which they share contributors,
such as the Tape and Al Haca. The Poland-born, Berlin-based RQM also
holds a steady place in Al Haca and the Tape, and he's the most skilled
emcee on Gestalt. RQM flows easily over the crisp
claps, disintegrating static blitzes and persistent tug of "Rising
Tides," and he probably should have lent his wordplay to all subsequent
entries. Instead, Tolcha's steam fizzles on "Tomchak," when ex-Goats
(yeah, the same Goats) member Maxx drags the vocal helm into the
unfunny digressions of someone who boringly hates his job and is
boringly trying to get laid.


"Fokus," also a RQM-guested pre-album twelve-inch single, Tolcha pushes
a floor-welcoming breaks-styled head trip, complete with airy
atmospherics and RQM's compelling abstractions. It rivals only the
psyche-taunting theatrics of "Ikarus," the half-beatless, all-wordless
odyssey that slips through film dialogue samples and, eventually, a
nice chunk of live drums. Two twelve-inches and now an LP into it,
Tolcha generates some dark stuff on Gestalt -- some
great, some not so good. Moments that bear a close second listen would
fill a very strong EP, but for a full-length, there's just gonna have
to be more RQM.


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