There was a point last year when Ross Tones wasn’t even sure he’d have a platform to release his latest album on. With the rug pulled from under Fabric’s feet, his latest long player for its Houndstooth label was suddenly cast in the shadow of doubt. While the team pluckily plugged away at their legal challenge, Rob Booth continued to pour his heart into the label he has so carefully A&R’d over the past few years. With doubt finally cast aside, the latest Throwing Snow album ‘Embers’ is seeing the light of day.
The last effort from Throwing Snow came in a slightly unconventional format – ‘Axoims‘, which was released as digital couplets before being realised in a lavish physical issue. Where its tracks were encapsulated, as unique as the snowflakes that adorned the art, ‘Embers’ is more about the whole, an entire flurry of snowflakes licking at a frosted window pane as a fireside tale is spun. What this translates to is an album that structurally flows in movements, seamlessly moving between tracks where some act as scene setter to others dramatic prose.
This provides an interesting dynamic, similar to last year’s ‘Scene Delete‘ by Sasha, where the steps between individual tracks become as important as themselves on their own right. For example, the emphatic harpsichord tones and boxy beats of ‘Recursion‘ is made all the more significant by the path taken to get that point – a sequence that leads as the slow synth laden hip-hop of ‘Gossamer’s Thread‘ exits, diving into the Hans Zimmer-esque doom laden peals of ‘Klaxon‘, through the frozen Doppler effect in ‘Glissette‘ before emerging triumphantly through bending full spectrum synths at its destination.
"Embers is an album that emerges from the processes that were employed to write it. The techniques allegorically mirror natural processes in an attempt to create an alternate world." - Throwing Snow
All these handshakes register profoundly in the heart – the “are you sitting comfortably, then we’ll begin” scene setting ‘Cantor’s Dust‘ wisping its way through the big arpeggios of ‘Helical‘, the ever so Prefuse 73 tones of ‘Pattern Forming‘ that lead to the solitary blue sky moment of ‘Prism‘, and from there, the reflective outro stretch that leads from ‘Cosms‘ into deliberate and punctuated ‘Tesseract‘. Also, where this construction sounds like it prefers to be experience in digital form, the vinyl takes the unusual step of spreading the order of the album from side A to C, then B to D, allowing the turntable owning populous the ability to keep the sequences moving themselves.
In a world where the average person gives a track seven seconds for a hook to manifest, make sure time is set aside before deciding to experience ‘Embers’. An album in the truest sense of the word, it flourishes when play is pressed on track one and silence only resumes after the suite of fourteen reaches its end. Ensure you give the Ross Tones his due diligence and listen from crackle to crackle.
Embers is out now, order a copy from Bandcamp.
1. Cantor’s Dust (Part 1)
2. Cantor’s Dust (Part 2)
6. Gossamer’s Thread
10. Pattern Forming
11. Prism (Part 1)
12. Prism (Part 2)