Published Mar 28, 2018Electronic music is often contextual, based on intention. In the case of Simmer, the record's context really could not be misinterpreted. Two functional, steely cuts of dance floor-oriented electronica take centre stage on Throwing Stones' new entry in his four-part EP series for Houndstooth.
Historically, Ross Tones' music has always been an excursion in technicality. This approach is befitting for Houndstooth, the Fabric sister label that often deals with electronic music that lives nearer the more avant-garde side of the spectrum. In this case, however, it appears as though Throwing Stones forwent some experimentation in favour of the aforementioned functionality. The results are successful, but can perhaps be underwhelming, especially when compared to certain previous Houndstooth records, or his most recent album, Embers.
Take the opening title track; Tones describes it as "the track [he's] always wanted to write." A warped acid bass line pairs with a jungle-style broken beat — powerful, but not particularly cerebral. The B side follows a similar suit. "Subtitles" begins on more considered tenor, favouring dubbed piano chords and vocalic pad sounds that are interrupted by a punchy breakbeat. Brittle arpeggiation follows, along with a changed groove.
Functional dance music in itself is not a cardinal sin, but given the label's pedigree, and that of the artist himself, this may be considered a slight indignity. Throwing Snow clearly has much to offer the electronic music spectrum, and in this case most dance floors will be satisfied. Purveyors of more inventive cuts may need to await the forthcoming two EPs in the series. We're optimistic. (Houndstooth)