Songs for William 2

A 8 track ambient dub album (50m 58s) — released May 4th 2015 on 4Bit Productions

A lot of musicians fall in love with their effect pedals, but Ulrich Troyer is probably the first one to describe the interior world of his stompboxes & delay pedals with a project that combines music, a graphic novel and hand drawn visuals for the live performance. SONGS FOR WILLIAM 2 is the second part of an experimental dub trilogy that started in 2011 on Mala's DEEP MEDI Label. The project is the perfect intersection of the talents and interests of Ulrich Troyer: illustration, architecture, acoustic research, old school dub and afrobeat.

Troyer - a trained architect - creates a distinctive and overall impressive soundarchitecture throughout the whole album full of dub references and abstract electronics that refer to Troyer's past as a MEGO artist. Comic novel and music are connected to each other and form a fascinating gesamtkunstwerk. Classic dub effects act as lead characters not only in the graphic novel but also in the music. They have names such as Muff, Herb, Memory Man and of course William the stompbox, the central character of the whole trilogy. They all form the grounding for a musical Dub-Story of comic and sound and at the same time open up a space of references to King Tubby, Kraftwerk or Augustus Pablo's Digital Productions.

The exclusive use of analog synthesizers and effects and the adaptation of the computer as a tapemachine constitute a deliberate limitation of possibilities and refer to methods of early nineties techno production techniques. With a lot of love for details and the bass as a fundament Troyer skillfuly assembles the whole range of dubtechniques only to push them a step further into the 21st century.

The opener SHAKE YOUR KNOBS combines deconstructed harmonica lines with a massive subbbass. Fascinating how glockenspiel, melodica and spring reverb in track nr. 3 SUMMER REVERB wander through spring reverbs and ringmodulators. DEADLOCK demonstrates the art of radical reduction: a massive bass line, statically resting in a deep echochamber, creates an enormous hypnotic slipstream.

With SONGS FOR WILLIAM 2 Troyer tightens his artistic and musical vocabulary and his sonic singularity. Pathbreaking the closing piece of the album: LANDSCAPES - a wonderful, abstract soundscape of 12 minutes length consisting of hissing, crackling noises and distorted guitar textures overlapped by a slowly evolving hypnotic pulse formed by a deep bass. With LANDSCAPES Ulrich Troyer may already give us an aesthetical perspective of the last part of his SONGS FOR WILLIAM trilogy. All parts of the trilogy work independently from each other - but be aware: If you know one part, you want them all.


While Troyer varies pace and mood with a lightness of touch, much space is devoted to smoky, downtempo antics, which would likely find welcome on higher profile rosters such as Ninja Tune, among others. Burnt Friedman would surely approve of the Troyer’s reverence for his craft, and the resourcefulness of his arrangements, which encompass a conservative instrumental line up. I certainly approve, and am bowled over by the care and attention our man has put into this delightful little package. - Stuart Marshall The Sound Projector

Troyer, sonst auch in der Installationsmusik unterwegs, lässt für die »William«-Trilogie seinem Faible für Reggae, Dub und Dancehall freien Lauf und beschwingt und locker kommt das Ganze daher. Forschungsleitend für den komplexen Unterbau sind noch am ehesten die Visionen eines King Tubby, immer wieder gegengefedert von einer ordentlichen Portion House und Experimentellem à la Rhythm & Sound. Zuhörkino und die Abstraktion von Dance-Patterns haben sich noch weiter ineinander verzahnt, Tracks wie »Shake Your Knobs« oder »Summer Reverb« erweisen sich als veritable Hits in der Ambient-Disco und das 12-Minuten-Stück »Landscapes« affirmiert Geräterauschen wie sonst nur Pole. Troyers Blick auf Dub ist nun nicht einfach eine Aktualisierung sondern einer vom Heute auf das Damals mit einer Perspektive in das Morgen. Diese mit ironischen Brechungen entlang raumzeitlicher Echokammern aufgeladenen Transfers stellen die großen Momente dieser Platte dar. - Heinrich Deisl, Skug magazine, A

Songs For William remains an oddity amid the Deep Medi Musik back catalogue: a traditional dub/reggae album that was a million miles from the label’s dancefloor-minded output (not that you couldn’t dance to the songs on there, mind) and closer to its spiritual roots in the musical traditions of Jamaica. Earlier this year, I saw Mala being interviewed, and when questioned about the release, he explained that he’d simply fallen in love with it and decided to do it – a moment the French call a ‘coup de coeur’. The work of Austrian producer Ulrich Troyer, Songs For William was conceived as a love letter to his effects pedals. There was a brilliant visual component to the project, in the shape of an accompanying comic book describing the life of Troyer’s beloved effects pedal William. Troyer is now returning with part two of what appears to be a trilogy, this time released on his own 4Bit Productions label. Songs For William 2 follows the same approach as its predecessor: analogue-rooted dub and reggae instrumental pieces, with a few electronic tinges this time round. As before, he lets the various pedals and other boxes shine. It’s also accompanied by a new comic book detailing the further adventures of William, his friends and his lover Charlotte. A beautiful package of music and visual art crafted with care and attention. - FACTMAG magazine, UK

Irgendwo in Innsbruck gibts einen Brunnen, der geht ganz tief runter. Bis nach Jamaika. Sein Wasser schmeckt den Kindern auf beiden Seiten ganz besonders, und der Hall, wenn man hineingrüßt... tja. Der Dub, der steckt für Ulrich Troyer vor allem in den kleinen Stompboxen, Tretmienen, dem Fussvolk sozusagen. In seinen Dub-Songs, erst recht, wenn man sich die zugehörige Comic-Geschichten durchliest, sieht man die Effekt-Kistchen beim Zuhören förmlich kreuz und durchs Studio spazieren. “Songs for William 2”, der zweite Teil einer Trilogie kommt so niedlich und liebevoll daher wie vor zwei Jahren der erste; aber der Ton hat sich gewandelt. An die Stelle eines sommerlich-eingängigen Reisetagebuchs treten gedeckte Farben, dekonstruktive Explorationen, Melancholie zwischen Zwitscherknurpstierchen und Glockenspiel. Die Grooves pulsieren und schieben Herbstnebel über leere Landstrassen, der Wind pustet Dub-Blips drüber, plötzlich findet alles zu Pop zusammen (“Cable Loss”), dann arbeiten wir uns Fuß vor Fuß den ganzen Brunnen hinunter, in “Hardwired” erwartet uns die Schreckharmonika, vor der sich die kleine Drumbox erstmal raustrauen muss, aber dann sind auch alle fleissig am Steppen, schließlich am anderen Ende: weich schimmriger Drone-Ambient, das Fenster geht zum Knisterregen von Pyrolators “Inland” auf, und das Sandmännchen kommt im Gewand eines Beats. Das Highlight also wieder am Schluss, aber es ist dieser durchgehende, bastelig-poetische Ansatz, der das Gesamtpaket von Troyers Dub auszeichnet. - debug magazine, D

Schitterend! - RIFRAF magazine, NL

Songs for William 2 ist eines der besten Electronica Alben des Jahres. - Musikansich blog, DE

Talmente bello e suggestivo il primo volume da volerne pubblicare un secondo. #2 parte come il disco precedente con un’idea di dub sporcata quel tanto che basta da renderla non ortodossa (Shake Your Knobs). Molto piú tradizionale Stone Age Circuits, con il suo lento groove in levare ben in vista tra fumi e ricordi. I riverberi accecanti che avevano incuriosito nei precedenti dischi di Troyer si ripresentano a metà scaletta sulla suggestiva Summer Reverbs, e poi più avanti, a fine corsa, sull’ancora piú atmosferica Landscapes, tra le migliori tracce in scaletta. Il libretto del bel digipak è riempito con una nuova storia del fumetto disegnato dallo stesso Ulrich. CONSIGLIATO. - Rockerilla magazine, I

I love the effort that has gone into this release. Not only has Troyer recorded a full album, he has included a 32 page comic to accompany it illustrated by the man himself, titled “Cable Loss, or The Open Soldering Point”. Following the trials of a plucky effects pedal on its journey on tour with a band, it’s a remarkably enjoyable read and adds just that little extra to the overall experience. Of course, when this amount of effort has gone into the physical product, the music has to match up so it’s not seen as overcompensation for lack of musical talent; luckily, Troyer has this in abundance as well. ‘Shake Your Knobs’ is a curious, mellow opener that folds mild electronica with harmonica and sub-bass lines into an engaging flow that has an almost reggae feel as it’s end result; given that I don’t generally appreciate that genre, I found myself enjoying the outcome immensely. There is an overt dub feel to a lot of Ulrich’s work that is consummately professional enough not to head into territory that is too commercial and ‘Stone Age Circuits’ along with ‘Summer Reverb’, add flutters of enough feedback and obscurity to give a necessary alternative edge. Over the course of the album Troyer brilliantly infuse elements of electronica that hit from many a different angle. The main weapon in his arsenal being subtlety; a whole range of influences filter through, with enough to please the casual IDM fan to boot. This latest release may not be for everyone; certainly those that like their music a little harder will most likely lose patience with this release. For me though, I can only marvel at the pleasantly persistent wave upon wave of intricacies that are the perfect backdrop to the accompanying comic book (which is a stroke of genius). 9.5/10 - Blackaudio Blog, UK

Auf „Songs for William 2” arbeitet er sich auf Albumlänge daran ab, das Herz alter jamaikanischer Dub-Musik im Stil von Lee Perry und King Tubby in moderne Klanglandschaften zu verpflanzen, ohne dass dabei die Seele verloren geht. Das gelingt gut. Als i-Tüpfelchen gibt es kleine Afrobeat-Spitzen. - Sebastian Fasthuber, Falter magazine, A

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