On paper, Throwing Snow and Houndstooth would always be a killer partnership – whether through Special Request’s Jungle-but-not-Jungle beats, or House of Black Lantern’s broken House and Techno, fabric’s forward-thinking imprint has always sought out sounds which don’t pertain to any particular style with an open mind.
This broadness suits Ross Tones’ work perfectly; in the vaguest sense, he makes Bass music, but other flavours of Ambient, Noise, Electronica, even Folk, make it altogether harder to categorise. His debut LP ‘Mosaic’ is no exception to this wide scope.
Opener ‘Avarice’ is heavy, gloomy and noisy in equal measure, though a few strings offer some sense of clarity to the start of the record.
Collaborations feature heavily throughout, as Tones uses dark beats coupled with emotive vocals used to create a sensory overload; it might not be club music, but all of these tracks would sound huge as part of a festival set. ‘The Tempest’ is the first of these, and ‘Hypnotise’ is of a similar vein; the drifting cries of Adda Kaleh and Kid A contrast Tones’ turbulent beats nicely. ‘Linguis’ is refreshingly melancholic too, and while it may be a journalistic faux pas to try to categorise Throwing Snows with any of his contemporaries, it sounds like the kind of thing that could’ve ended up on an early Four Tet record. It’s also probably the jewel in the album’s crown.
‘As You Fall’ is a piece of downbeat electronica, and the vocals add some depth too – even if they feel a little clichéd at times. It’s not without its more musical parts, too, though. The snare arrangements on ‘Maera’ are particularly interesting, and ‘All The Lights’ doesn’t sound a world apart from Special Request, with sharp drums bordering on a unique kind of Jungle tip. Finally, where ‘Draugr’ brings an atmospheric, climactic end to the record, ‘Saltare (Parts 1 and 2)’ is more triumphant in the stage of reflection.
Overall, Throwing Snows employs a range of experimental styles with some flair, and though the collaborations could be bordering on overblown at points, he acknowledges these limits to offer a modern take on bass music today. For my money, the highlights of the record might be in some of the more sedate moments, though the summery vibe created by the collaborative tracks is also hard not to get excited about at this time of year. It’s a winning formula for both Throwing Snow and Houndstooth at just the right time, with intriguing added value thanks to the album’s use of exciting new augmented reality technology.
‘Mosaic’ is out now on Houndstooth, buy it here.