Delicate minimal house full of subtle details.
Tom Ellis - Tradition No 3
Tom Ellis's tracks are often softened by a soulful touch. A jazzy chord or two here, a sweet melody there. These elements work as waymarkers—without them, you can easily get lost in his music's deceptive depths. The gorgeous A-side of Ellis's latest EP—his first, surprisingly, for UntilMyHeartStops, the label run by his brother Joe and collaborator Leif—brings with it just this disorientation. "The Wave Function" is a perfect minimalist setup of a percussion loop, throbbing chords and a wiggly dubwise bassline, and it's almost intimidatingly headsy. That's not a criticism—this is house music for the very deepest dance floor introspection. "Solastalgia" sinks deeper still, its firmer groove and cool synth bleeps cushioned in watery reverb. Gloomy chords swim past in the depths, hinting at firmer forms but never taking them.
On the B-side, Ellis takes us rapidly up to the surface with "The Unavoidable Consequence Of You." Closer listens reveal the quirks in this sunny disco-house groover: the halting quality of the loop, its shrill mosquito drone and the rubbery claps framing it. "Tradition No 3" finds Ellis back in luxe jazz mode. It sounds like he's corralled a small ensemble, or at least a pianist (playing smooth and slightly sour) and a drummer (splashy rides, dancing snares). Ellis's cotton-bud synth weaves through the gentle confusion, pointing the way.
Mon / 18
A1 The Wave Function
B1 The Unavoidable Consequence Of You
B2 Tradition No 3