Though Trip Throttle's techno-pop isn't nearly as angular or regimented as say, German synth-pop pioneers Kraftwerk, keyboardist and percussion programmer Brian "B Rob" Robinson cites that band as a major influence. He also credits what he calls "Miami-type freestyle music." This somehow embarrasses him.
"Cause it sucks," Robinson says.
Well, whether Robinson and guitarist Shawn "Trip" Mott like it or not, the duo's form of electronic dance music leans heavily on a lot of electronica's sub-heads. And it works.
On stage, Trip Throttle offers a nonstop dream-dance cabaret --- extrapolated for relentlessly swollen dance floors and ambient for those who like to dance in their heads as well. It's a mix of joy and alarm, of sense and of the abstract. The joy is in a driving beat that punctuates the more ominous, chthonic strains.
Trip Throttle formed in mid-2004. The two got together to re-record some tunes they had cut to a four-track as the band Altered State back in 1995.Twenty-plus tunes resulted. After they whittled it down to the best 11, Trip Throttle released its debut disc, AlteredState. The CD traveled fast, landing in the hands of a promoter in Canada. Before the band could even get its feet wet locally it had a gig at Cathedral, a club in Toronto.
"He had given it to some of his DJ friends," Mott says. "DJ Osaze and DJ Human Clone. They play at all the dance clubs up there. He called us up: we need to get you guys up here because these guys are spinning your stuff pretty regular."
Mott and Robinson found themselves immediately welcome in a genre dominated primarily by DJs. Though Robinson programs trance-inducing beats and sex-textural musical sub strata, he also sprinkles plaintive piano lines on top.
And then there's Mott, a guitarist who sprang from metal roots. He played with bands like Rule out of Buffalo and Red Tide in Rochester. Mott straps on the guitar while adding "some miniscule keyboard dabbling." He's had to rethink his guitar attack but swears that isn't so much of a sacrifice.
"It's different," he says. "Obviously I'm not ripping off crazy leads and going nuts. Yeah, I do get the urge. I guess it's more of just being disciplined, using it as color to add a certain type of emotion here or there."
It's this color that sets this duo apart from --- if not above --- the rest. Even with all the facets and groove subtleties found in electronica, there is a certain monotony. Frankly it's bands like Trip Throttle throwing in some hairpin turns that makes the music more exciting. Trip Throttle is all the way live and a lot more than just wind-it-up-and-go techno.
"To our benefit we've never targeted any sound," Robinson says.
Mott explains: "Electronica is the parent genre to techno and break beat, IDM (intelligent dance music), EBM (electronic body music).... "
Trip Throttle embraces them all.
"But you don't have electronic music that has guitar and piano leads and stuff like that," Robinson says. "That just didn't exist until now."
"And chord changes," Mott adds.
"And chord changes," Robinson says. "Imagine that."
Trip Throttle plays with guests Chasing Daylight Saturday, February 4, at Montage Live, 50 Chestnut Street, 232-1520, at 10 p.m. $5. 18+
Or see them Friday, February 17, at Neutral Lounge, 349a, College Street, Kensington Market, Toronto, at 10:30 p.m. Voluntary cover. Info: www.neutralzone.ca.