Listening to anything by Tosca - indeed anything with Richard Dorfmeister's name on -is always a gloriously self-indulgent experience. Dehli 9 - named after the band in which Rupert Huber and Richard Dorfmeister started their musical experimentation back in their schooldays - is certainly no exception. The bonus CD is a particular treat; more of that later.
It's 15 Feb 2003, and Waterloo is seething with anti-war protesters heading for Britain's biggest ever peace-time demonstration. Yet on the train, headphones on, I press play, and within seconds there is no demonstration, no London - no war even - just sunshine on my eyelids and the lush production and laid-back, optimistic grooves of Tosca's3rd album.
This is instantly recognisable, on-form Tosca. Not as off-the-wall as Chocolate Elvis, not as irresistibly funky as Opera, but rhythmically unmistakeable. On this album you won't find their trademark repetition of musical ideas; rather a new theme per song. If anything, Delhi 9 is reminiscent of the K&D Sessions, Dorfmeister's superb collaboration with Peter Kruder.
What appeals most on this album is the instrumentation. Shining clearly through programmed rhythms and those lovely repeated syncopated echoes, are the sounds of real guitars, bass, vocals, drums.
Dorfmeister plays flute on the upbeat and out-there "Wonderful"; Anna Clementis' vocals are understated and gorgeous on "Me and Yoko Ono" and "Oscar" (never has "Diddy dum dum dum da dum" sounded so sexy) and the bass on "Rolf Royce" is fat, dry and earthy.
As if all this weren't enough of a treat for Tosca fans, there's the bonus CD. Huber's contemplative, spacious piano compositions are beautifully reworked by Dorfmeister. If you're an Eno fan you might be reminded of his collaboration with Harold Budd, Ambient 2/Plateaux of Mirrors. If you're not, enjoy this bonus CD just for its simplicity and beauty. But dance music it ain't!
So, there you have it. A Tosca album so recognisable you may feel you've heard it before, but all the more delightful for being familiar and a bonus CD with 30 minutes of ambient experimental piano music. What are you waiting for?