The Kiss that Took a Trip is a project started by Spaniard M.D. Trello in 2006. Since then, Trello has released five full-length albums and over 10 EPs under the project name. Trello says he is able to produce at such a rate partially due to the fact that he never tours, but the high quality of his releases implies that there is more to his process than ample free time. Trello’s newest album, Electrofest, is an epic feast for the ears of experimentalism and ambient sounds. It takes the listener on a trip, possibly the same trip “The Kiss” has taken.
The Kiss that Took a Trip is well-known in experimental indie and electronic music circles, though Trello insists that in the tradition of Brian Eno and other experimental artists, he is not a musician. He does not like his work being called “electronic music,” though he has not come up with another term. He prefers his music to be tagged as “post rock” or progressive, but those terms do not really sum up his work either. It is possible, in fact, that The Kiss that Took a Trip cannot be summed up because of its diversity and experimental nature. M.D. Trello’s use of almost every type sound possible to put together his works supports this hypothesis. From talking vocal loops to long, winding single-chord samples, many would class The Kiss that Took a Trip as semi-organized noise rather than music. This would probably be fine with Trello.
Electrofest starts with a title single, a very ambient, almost new age arrangement with a pretty guitar melody and electronic-sounding flutes. The next track, “Tidy up You Pig,” on the other hand, is the antithesis of ambient. With discordant, metal-influenced guitars and no real melody in the beginning, “Tidy up You Pig” eventually forms itself into a lovely, if minor-keyed melody by the end, sounding a bit like Disintegration-era The Cure. The album ends with the almost monotonous “Happy Birthday Party Monster,” a very simple-sounding track with oscillating waves of ambient noise throughout.
What happens in between the opening and closing tracks of Electrofest is, like Trello’s entire body of work, difficult to summarize. At times the music sounds very experimental, with meandering melodies and white noise in the background, such as in “Snowstorm” and “Champions of Delay.” These tracks may remind listeners of Tangerine Dream. At other points in the album there are heavy rock influences, such as in “Amplification of the Senses.” Still other tracks nod at 80s electronica, with moog-influenced synths and hints of a pop beat.
To try to sum up The Kiss that Took a Trip is likely doing a disservice to the artist. Trello, like Brian Eno or Tangerine Dream, seems to want to be free to experiment with whatever sounds strike his fancy. It may seem disorganized or discordant to some audiences, but there is clearly a method to the Electrofest madness, and listeners may choose to enjoy the album as one work and go on the long journey with Trello, or they may decide to travel one song at a time, with each piece being its own mini-trip. Either way, Electrofest is a unique experience and a piece of work which defies almost all musical conventions.
Electrofest is available to stream and download on The Kiss that Took a Trip’s Soundcloud page, and all of Trello’s other work is available either for sale or for free download on Bandcamp. As Trello does not tour, fans who want a visual experience of The Kiss that Took a Trip can subscribe to the Youtube channel for many more videos. All links are listed in “Sources.”
Review by Layla Klamt