Tom White - Sight See / A Well-Known Phrase

on Monday, 24 August 2009

Tom White - Sight See (Smallfish)
- A Well-Known Phrase (Under the Spire)

It'll be at the end of the year when people are moaning that it’s been another awful year for music when i pipe up as always with a hundred and one recommendations, pretty close to the top of my list though will be Tom White.

The Ambient/Drone/Experimental genre seems to have an endless supply of new artists with endless supplies of material, many of the forerunners of the genre having numerous releases each year, Lawrence English, Taylor Deupree, Machinefabriek. On first impression it’s an incredibly limited field, most songs are barely there, notes decomposed and shredded, recycled and made new, drifting along seemlessly and yet it's the genre that has really grabbed me by the ears this year. It has an ability to pull you in, the wrap itself around your very lobes, the quietly seduce you into soft and dreamy sleep. There are many experts in this field, a number of whom I’ve already mentioned and a handful more that will be strong contenders for album of the year, Molly Berg + Stephen Vitiello if you need names. Right now though, Tom White rules my world. 8 months through the year and two delightful releases so far on a pair of the most reliable labels out there.

First up the wonderfully short Sight See release from Smallfish. All too often i find myself put off by massively long ambient tracks, albeit psychological and maybe due to more than a little OCD. How refreshing it is to see tracks of less than five minutes and on a couple of tracks less than two, beautiful pieces mixing both drone and elements of noise while never outstaying their welcome.

I was more than surprised to see the level of quality surpassed on the follow up on up and coming underground label Under the Spire. A Well-Known Phrase is nothing less than a treat, more gritty and more experimental and featuring a healthy nod towards perhaps one of my favourite artists of the genre Ben Frost, balancing the excursions into noise with delicately growing soundscapes.

An album is expected before the end of the year, one can only look forward with eager anticipation.