Having bubbled away in the Viper melting pot since 2015 with tracks such as This Way Up, Make Me Feel and Zero One, rising UK basssmith Toronto Is Broken will step up with his first album for the label: You Are (Not) Alone
Due later this year, his second LP is an immersive and detailed conceptual creation that fuses his interest in anime and his ability to traverse the widest bass landscape – from driving house to all-out drum & bass. Rich in references (the title is from the first Evangelion film) and galvanised by the post-apocalyptic artwork of Beeple (whose creations have been used by the likes of Deadmau5, Flying Lotus and Amon Tobin), very much like Viper’s most recent artist album – InsideInfo’s InsideInfo – this is a true album in an artistic sense. Although it didn’t start that way…
“Originally, this didn’t begin as a record, but an EP to fill the narrative gap between albums one and two,” says Toronto Is Broken, real name Christian Hoffmann. “It began 18 months ago when I sent a load of tunes to Futurebound and he asked me to put together an EP for Viper. However, this got out of hand when it reached around eight tracks and was becoming what I basically wanted to achieve for album two. So, I presented the idea of turning this into an album to Futurebound…”
“Christian had been saying for a while ‘I’m going to send over 15-20 tracks for consideration for an album on Viper’ and I was thinking surely most of these tracks will be new embryonic ideas along with some tracks that have already been released? But he was true to his word and sent over mostly brand new material and when listening from start to finish, I was like “wow, this feels right at home with our sound.” I totally got the story. It’s not fully complete yet, but the main body of it all is there and this really feels like a Viper album. When Viper releases albums, I don’t want 12-15 bangers for club only, I want bangers, but I also want songs that can be enjoyed when listening at home or in the motor.”
Case in point: Prototypes album City Of Gold. Viper are slowly but surely developing a reputation for investing in artist albums that balances their already established signature of heavyweight club compilations. It turns out that Toronto Is Broken and InsideInfo’s albums aren’t the only studio LPs coming from the label this year, too…
“Believe it or not by the time 2017 is done we’ll actually have released three or four artist albums this year as we have the new Brookes Brothers album and the new Koven album all ready to go as well,” Futurebound reveals. “An artist album has to be special to me, I treat the releases from every artist we work with the same as one of my own productions, I want them all to win. Putting a proper sounding album together isn’t an easy task and I want to be able to look back on all the albums we do with pride, I want to be able to listen to them in 10 years’ time and they still blow me away.”
Yes: Brookes Brothers and Koven albums are also imminent! In the meantime, Toronto Is Broken has just delivered his first two tracks from You Are (Not) Alone: the euphoric hurricane Trying To Find Home and the hard-hitting stepper Make Me Feel. Showcasing vast breadth across the drum & bass spectrum with two tracks, it teases as to what’s to come from the full LP which will reveal a full narrative across the 16 tracks. A narrative that builds on his debut 2015 LP, the Ghost In The Shell-referencing Section 9.
“YA(N)A continues the story on a few centuries later after the events of Section Nine,” he explains. “In S9, the world was destroyed due to its dependence on technology. Now YA(N)A focuses in on one individual who is struggling to find themselves in a more mysterious world that’s still destroyed and has never managed to recover from the cataclysm of the world envisioned in the first album. There is also a great entity/deity/power named I Am who introduces the record and talks of her great anger towards man and what they have done to her world. Now she is punishing this one individual, who goes through a lot of mental pain and trauma in the record eventually leading to them leaving this world, but in which way I’m not going to say just yet…”
Cliffhanger! Like we said – You Are (N) Alone is a true artist album and is a major project for both Toronto Is Broken and Viper. Expect more to be revealed throughout the summer and the album to land this autumn.