Alight – ‘Iridis’ EP Review
Ross Tones, AKA Throwing Snow, had begun his ‘Alight’ project late last year and the debut EP ‘Iridis’ drops on vinyl today On Local Action. Since his break in 2007 it’s fair to say that Tones has had an impressive history of work with a string of full length releases. The multi-talented musician has previously released on labels like Sneaker Social Club, Alexander Nut’s Ho_Tep and most recently Tom Lea’s Local Action. The polymathic producer has also worked as tour support for Bonobo and Thom Yorke (both of whom personally requested him as support for the last few years) so it’s no wonder his catalogue of releases is so healthy.
The EP itself is no less diverse than the rest of his work and sees Tones merging elements of electronica and techno with a decidedly jungle influence. Utilizing the harsher, percussive side of drum and bass, Tones also shows an educated appreciation toward earlier jungle. The framework however, leans toward a techno underpinning that holds each track in place and provides each piece with a fitting break down.
The opening track “Opelisk” is arguably the most elementary track of the EP, being closest to four-to-the-floor techno. To convince us of this he uses a progressive, punchy synth stab that envelops into a heavy, warm synth glow. Much like the work of Throwing Snow, this track is a complex and brilliantly layered techno track. The second track of the EP “Darqa” falls around the 140 bpm mark and can, because of this, be linked to dub-step. The eerie mood we are greeted with is deepened with the addition of some ethereal vocals and distant bird calls. It’s the cavernous bass however that completes this track as 2-step rhythms seal the deal. It is the title “Iridis” however that stands out as the more complete piece. Apparently adapted as a live version from Throwing Snow’s “Too Polite”, we kick off with looped muffled vocals. Soon enough a heavy hitting house shuffle hits us like a brawny punch that is quickly followed by a stuttering, buzzing bass that convinces us that we’re listening to a through-and-through hard-house track. It soon disintegrates however, into a merging blend of synths that lighten the mood slightly. Not for long though as the crescendo leads us on to heavy electronic noise-breaks- with an industrial, contemporary nod to jungle, Noisia springs to mind. The EP is rounded off nicely with the morbid, cinematic “Caligo”. Tom drums carry this heart-wrenching piece to it’s epic, bitter end. Recent Crazylegs signing, Ziro, rounds the EP off nicely with a club-friendly techno remix of “Opelisk”.