TOM HANG (UK)
LABELS : Tidy Bedroom, Where To Now?
TERRITORIES : EU / UK
Having spent seven years in his adopted home of London steadily crafting a hazy, ambiguous identity that fuses ambient onto drone and techno, Tom Hang (aka Lobster Theremin boss Jimmy Asquith) finally steps up the the plate with ‘To Be Held In A Non Position’ – a collection of one-takes that explores extended themes of isolation, loneliness, personal loss, disconnection and reconnection with the reality and (self)-identity.
Previous releases of archive material were spread via London experimental powerhouse Where To Now?, with an effusive live cassette « Tidy Bedroom Versions 2009-2013 » released in february 2015.
The cassette tape was later followed by « The New World », an organic and textural techno EP released on vinyl in september 2016, again on Where To Now?.
Through his imprint Tidy Bedroom, Tom Hang engages in a more introspective path, exploring sonic territories that find an echo with dislocated past experiences, pushing physical and psychic boundaries to get at the crux of intimacy.
As a live experience, Tom Hang takes a simple setup to the subtle extremes. Both rhythmic and ill-defined ambient meld into walls of textures that wafts like an aural sheet, pierced by frames of noise and chuntered, swirling artefacts.
Tom Hang is a solo project from Lobster Theremin label owner Jimmy Asquith. After releasing Tidy Bedroom Versions in 2015, he’s back with a three track EP, The New World.
Jimmy’s work as Tom Hang tends to drift in between the disjointed and structured forms of dance floor reverie – burning techno that throws itself at you from the get go. It took me around two minutes to mindfully picture myself within this sonic headspace he created, but when finally arriving in “The New World”, it almost felt as if the pulsating mechanical flow was part of my everyday. There’s a couple of swaying filters that continually tease the ear, then without warning send us plummeting into the foggy soundscape crafted underneath.
The second track ‘Chronic Delirium’ has a slightly different approach – more constructed, less machine-orientated, with shifting high-end percussion. The structure of the track is being bent on what sounds like a ring modulated descent – you’re controlled by its rhythm and slow panning of time and space. Hang shows the essence of melody in ‘Chronic Delirium’ – granulated marbles feel as if they’re being thrown into an airtight bubble and shaken. Although this melody comes and goes, it sits well over the brittleness of the mix; the unstable platform it balances on.
By the third track there’s a familiarity with the pattern. With recognisable high-end sweeps, percussive blocks and unorthodox melodies seeping through, the sonic landscape that the first two tracks invited you into has sunk. ‘In the Deep’ reflects on its predecessors and takes control, evolving over twelve minutes of enticing abrasiveness that never feels like letting go. Every few minutes an alarm shrilled motif is signalled and the phrase changes, swinging back into reality.
It’s a very well chosen track to finish the EP, and, on reflection, an even more refined followup to Tom Hang’s first release. If Where To Now? Records continue to release music of this calibre, we’re certainly in for a treat over the next few years.
Tom Hang is the solo electronic work of Lobster Theremin label owner Jimmy Asquith. Despite being ridiculously busy either quaking dancefloors across the globe and flowing into the world a continuous catalogue of acclaimed electronic heat, Jimmy has found time to follow up his ‘Tidy Bedroom Versions’ release with more original tracks from the heavily dusted harddrive.
The record opens with ‘The New World’, where there is no space for preparation or adaptation; instead we are plunged straight into a fast evolving, rapid fire other. Despite this disorientating descent it doesn’t take ears and minds long to nestle within the groove and across the tracks seven minutes we settle into the escapism of Hang’s bodily mantra and slowly lose ourselves to this new world.
‘Chronic Delirium’ strides into focus with an exploratory intent, evoking images of a lone body battling a windswept lonely planet. There is an overwhelming sense of anticipation within the tracks pulse, and a dizzying excitement within Hang’s ever shifting percussive experiments to create this state of musical delirium. This is perhaps the moment of realisation that within this new world there is a crossroads signing towards potential encroaching solitude and despair, or a leap of faith towards seeking comfort within embracing that which is completely unknown.
The record closes with the mammoth ‘In the Deep’. Across the twelve shifting minutes Hang continues this idea of the human relationship with new zones and new experience, but here Hang seems to convey the idea that the struggle is over, there is no further bodily or mental resistance to change, dystopia has captured the spirit and embrace is the only option when you’re in this deep. Buzz saw synth attacks collide with gloriously subtle yet uplifting old school bubbling melodies before the deepest techno pulse imaginable swings eyes instantly back to the floor.
‘The New World’ is a sphere where pummelling Techno burners teeter on the edge of freedom before winding and convulsing themselves into varying mutant zones that straddle the lines between experimental statement and tightly locked grooves to create a record of pure dystopian dancefloor heat. There is an odd and refreshing unity here within the strict, bare, functional, consuming percussion and the heady, playful, and freeform nature of Hang’s melodic grip.