LocalEyes: Troo Knot Tungle Album Preview

A chance meeting places writer James Nason in the path of a dynamic and rising musical presence in the Western Canadian scene. Troo Knot has been gigging all over from metal bands to burlesque shows to Cirque De La Nuit, and his new album drops May 25th. He shared a sneak preview with SubText, and it’s a fascinating, organic, ever shifting mosaic of crunchy beats and emotive vocal flair.

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A year or so ago, I was finishing dinner on 17th Avenue on a warm summer day during Stampede. The leisurely meal my wife and I were sharing was being backstopped by cheeky melodies that initially didn’t register consciously in my mind, but as we finished food and wine and settled into relaxing and taking in the lazy summer day’s sonic backdrop, it suddenly registered: “Hey, whoever’s singing is actually pretty good.”

I didn’t think much of it, but as it happened our vehicle was parked next to where the sound was originating from. As we walked to the truck, I peeked over to the Mount Royal park on the north side of 17th and saw a spritely, impish young lad with a loop pedal and one speaker. He was improv rapping to a kid in a cowboy hat on his dad’s shoulders, and as wacky as the lyrical flow was, my jaded musical ears heard a spirit and practiced intention to the music I just couldn’t ignore.

I felt myself faced with a dilemma: drive away without a second thought, fueled by post-food lethargy and mild social awkwardness; or, introduce myself to someone who clearly spoke to me on a musical level which was immediate and provocative, with the intention of striking up a relationship and collaborating.

I wouldn’t be writing this if I’d chosen the first option, so of course I got out of the truck and walked over to meet Braden Lyster, also known as Troo Knot, and luckily an easy and immediate artistic friendship resulted. The cheeky young soul I met, a product of Brooks, Alberta of all places, was clear-eyed, open-hearted, and most of all, a funny and superbly talented vocalist, a master with a loop pedal.

A few months later my wife Alex and I invited him to MC and perform at a Grindhaus event, and within seconds of him creating big nasty bass licks with his mouth and a microphone, the crowd was captivated and responded at his whim to wacky jokes as easily as nasty grooves.

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All of this is a preface to the fact that Troo Knot has created an LP to fully corral his myriad of strange and wacky talents in one place. Tungle is not a typical album, however. It is in fact a 30 minute journey through shifting rhythms and layers of vocal flair backstopped by chunky, bassy electronic grooves. Every portion of the release flows seamlessly into one another, and in fact on receiving the release from Mr. Knot in the email, I’m not fully confident if it will be broken up into tracks like a typical record: I just received one big 30 minute file.

Sonically, it travels spaces that are lyrical and emotive, or tribal and pulsating, or chunky and assertive. The beats are fully fleshed out, but with space for Troo Knot’s vocal flourishes and loose, catchy vocals to capture emotional space for the listener.

After working with him and seeing the raw potential in the various videos, live performances, and random music videos he had produced in the years before I’d met him, it was obvious to me that he contained some passionate core of creative execution. That passion wasn’t just obvious to me: gigs for Troo Knot came from Border Crossing in Forest Lawn (as part of a rock\funk\metal band called Fermented Beet Orchestra), off of a limo art car at Freezer Burn, or at the Palace Theatre as host of a Le Cirque De La Nuit show. The kid has guts and forward momentum, and this official musical release listens like a full fledged arrival of a talent that has been incubating, learning and collaborating with artists all over Calgary and Western Canada.

The album release party is May 25th at Arts Commons - attend and hear the new album for yourself, with his zany mix of friends, collaborators and co-conspirators on point to perform and ring in the occasion.