Review: Tom Hang – The New World (Where To Now? Records)

I was first introduced to Brighton/London based Where To Now? Records in 2015 after being handed Lutto Lento’s Whips 12”. Since then, the anticipation of their upcoming releases has drawn me deeper and deeper into their catalogue. Curiosity led me to the realms of Nicola Ratti, Beatrice Dillon and Machine Woman; all with such crucial, cutting edge styles that differ from one to the next. My mind was opened up to a label that doesn’t stick to one path, with genres that shift the boundaries with what they call ‘Body Moving’. And that’s exactly what they are. Their most recent release comes in the form of Tom Hang’s The New World.

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.

The New World is out now on Where To Now? Records. Order it here.

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