Published Jan 18, 2017When flames die down, embers remain, orange gems both hopeful and dangerous. Often, their glow promises to keep you warm; sometimes, though, they're the satisfied belch after a fire incinerates your every possession. On Embers, Bristol-based artist Throwing Snow, aka Ross Tones, mines them for themes of entropy and rebirth, opening his sophomore studio effort with crackling embers before turning to his mathematically beautiful brand of IDM.
Guttural bass and airy chimes permeate the record, as Tones experiments with recorded sounds and synth flourishes. Astrophysical concepts lend their names to most of the tracklist, with notable exceptions being the prowling assassin theme of "Ruins," the lush and reverberating "Gossamer's Thread" and a jogging anthem for Colossi titled "Klaxon." Everything is interconnected, even as the melody changes.
His environmental recordings range beyond the fire pit, too: to birds singing happily while thunder threatens; and to rain on the roof turning into static; and to the staccato blips of "Helical," which fade into the murky "Allegory" ahead of the album's epitome of terrifying ambience, "Ruins."
The hour-long LP flies by, a sign of Throwing Snow's musical prowess. He's been putting out a blend of electronica for a decade now, with a small army of tracks and EPs released before his 2014 Houndstooth debut, but here, his traditions of jazzy hip-hop and just a smidgeon of dubstep have been tempered into something unbreakable.
It's most evident on the final track "Tesseract," which has a kidnapper of a beat with the shimmer of polished but slippery synth and flawless percussion. It truly burns it all down, with the final minute fading into that crackle of embers once again.
Embers could (and should) start over then, urging all software to "repeat all" and every DJ to throw side one back on the bed of coals. (Houndstooth)