The consistently strong Blank Tapes cassette label releases a new slice of Tomaga, a London-based duo playing on drums, synthesisers and a delicious array of various acoustic and electronic objects. Familiar Obstacles has 2 side-long tracks running to 52 minutes, and there only 100 copies out there, so move fast!
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- Familiar Obstacles by TOMAGA
8/10 Robin Staff review, 16 April 2015
Noise ruminators Tomaga impressed last year with their physically intimate curation of avant-garde sounds for ‘Futura Grotesk’; hearing the duo’s mix of adjacent percussion, momentary feedback and synth, it was easy to envision them live, rolling their handheld instruments across the table. On ‘Familiar Obstacles’, they sound more contained, a band of curious tendencies contained in a kraut rocker’s framework; weird shapes, well maintained.
This tape is an exploration of different sustained sounds. On the first of two tracks, the band toy with tape hiss and blissful slow-mo synth chords that echo early sci-fi films and d’Eon keyboard solos. The track rolls into an arpeggiated synth line of motorik proportions, all the while maintaining a haunting ambience that’s eventually punctuated for something earthier; from ghosts to gouls, they introduce a harsh, off-kilter drumbeat and urgent keyboard shivers that sound like someone frantically writing a telegram. Finally, there’s a nice palate-cleanser of disdainful drone.
‘Familiar Obstacles’ is starting to win me over to Tomaga’s tinkering sonic philosophy: when they can hold it together for longer, it sounds dark and delirious, and the second side manages to mix abstraction with rigidity marvellously, transposing a blindingly bright synth drone into a bass-grooved, totally rhythmic nightmare. They do a hell of a lot, so it’s time for you to go sound shopping in their netherworld.
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