[Translated via Google]
“Atmosfere is the second album that multi-instrumentalist Todd Tobias releases together with Pat Moonchy via the Utrecht record label Tiny Room Records. In just half an hour the duo gives a rather unusual, dreamy look into a surreal world that somehow feels pleasant to the listener.
Todd Tobias is no stranger anymore. The fifty-year-old from Ohio, USA has gained international fame not only for his own work but also for his role within the band Guided By Voices and his work with Robert Pollard. Pat Moonchy, a born Italian, is less well-known in our country, but still has a good record of merit. She is half of the experimental band Sothiac, plays in duos alongside trombonist Angelo Contini and jazzdrumer Lino Liguori, is a member of the Tai-No Orchestra and not to mention German krautrock pioneers Faust.
After the self-titled debut of Moonchy & Tobias (which was released via Tiny Room and Hidden Shoal in 2018), the duo puts down a more balanced and unambiguous whole on Atmosfere. Instead of using fictional language, Moonchy sings in her native language. In fact, she takes on a leading role, because although the modest playing style of Todd Tobias creates tension and atmosphere, there is an all-determining vocal style on the album. The childish, almost Asian-looking voice of Pat takes some getting used to, but gives the twelve short tracks a unique sound and experience.
Atmospheric is full of influences of the present and the past. Occasione sounds rather retro, with a nod to the seventies when it comes to the musical interpretation. Velo is again pure contemporary folk, while a song like Dall’Occhio has dreamy pop influences with a “trippy” undertone and the vocals are sometimes even filled in with voices. Modesty, small compositions and even a kind of intimacy are terms that recur on my notebook. And that is perhaps also the best description for this work. Unfortunately not all tracks are equally convincing and sometimes the duo seems to be looking for coherence individually. I suspect that the recordings were not made in the same studio. In addition, the header voice that Moonchy occasionally uses is not entirely pure or pleasant to listen to.
Still, Moonchy & Tobias manage to deliver a fairly unique album with Atmosfere. Partly thanks to the conscious choice to draw the listener’s attention to the somewhat alienating, intimate Italian vocals with relatively little trimmings and rather elongated, repetitive melody lines. As if on vacation you get a reading from the diary of your host’s daughter’s daughter, where you can read everything from the childish emotion transmission without understanding the words. You feel a bit uncomfortable and at the same time kind of honored that it is shared with you.
All this makes Atmosfere a strange duck, which is further enhanced by the way in which some tracks end. Open, namely. The sound is appropriate, although the dynamics vary per track. A conscious choice, presumably. The second album from Moonchy & Tobias is really one for a select group and also offers room for development in the future. Yet this can be a nice discovery for those drizzly days that we can call winter in our country.”
– Hifi NL