Shunryu Suzuki, respected Japanese Zen master and progenitor of American Buddhism, teaches that everyday life is our Zen training. “To study Buddhism is to study ourselves,” he says, and Tosca’s Suzuki is an aural testament to that edification. Suzuki is the second release from Vienna’s Tosca, made up of Rupert Huber and Richard Dorfmeister (of famed electronica duo Kruder & Dorfmeister). While their first collaborative effort, 1997’s Opera, was sexy and decadent, this album is enlightened and even chaste by comparison. The disc is filled with distant chimes and subtle whispers, creating a downtempo soundtrack for a nourishing meditation session. The Afro-influenced “Annanas” features synthesizer inputs that bleep like clockwork, weaving between pulsating percussion and keyboards. Anna Clementi, whose vocals are featured throughout Suzuki, coos on “Orozco” as if she’s taking a sexy bath. The track warms up with its retro-hip beats but it never raises the temperature too high. It will make you move but it’s just enough to keep you at home. The vocals never permeate the tranquility of the album either. At their most noticeable, like on the track “Honey,” they actually become a part of the instrumentation (“I want my honey”). Suzuki has more grooves than Kruder’s Peace Orchestra, but comparing them would be like comparing children. After two separate (yet equally satisfying) offerings, it will be interesting to see what Kruder and Dorfmeister bring to the table when they return as a duo.
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