EP REVIEW: Throwing Snow – Aspera

throwing snow aspera ep

Written for the 405

What’s the hook? Aspera is, according to Google, the Latin word for “rough” (as well as the name of both a “American indie rock band from Philadelphia” and “a Norwegian melodic progressive metal band”). The music itself is quite the opposite – Ross Tones, aka Throwing Snow, curates four tracks of delicate, intricate electronica. A press release for his last EP, Clamour (which is apparently Latin for “shout”, so probably also the name of a Norwegian melodic progressive metal band), describes said music using poncy language like “the title track sounds set in some huge open church for the way it echoes and resonates with an untold spirituality”. Don’t worry, none of that is the hook.

Anthony Bourdain, a chef who has worked in kitchens of varying menus and repute and has since travelled the world, experiencing all the different culinary delights, has time and again expressed the most respect for meals that are not the most inventive in their preparation or appearance, or their originality at the expense of taste: simple meals, cooked well, are the best. Yes, I am going to talk about music again now: Throwing Snow’s music, at least on this EP, follows that dictum. You can throw about all the Latin phrases and cod-spiritual hokum about when talking about it, but when it comes down to it,Aspera is good, modern British electronica.

Songs never outstay their welcome, but remain within a fixed, repetitive groove, building up and then exhaling. At times the bass-heavy beats, like the echoing pound of a light headache or of water-logged ears, coupled with the weird sampled noises resemble a less frenetic, hip-hop-influenced Mount Kimbie. Whenever the tiki-taka drum machines and the synth drones part for a breath moment of respite amidst the delicate, intricate noise, it’s not so much akin to standing on top of a mountain and watching the clouds dissipate as it is being on top of quite a nice hill in the Peak District. It’s not breath taking, but it’s still nothing to blow your nose at.

A later, better part of that Clamour press releases describes Tones’ music as “like Shlohmo and Fly Lo taking a beach holiday in the Caribbean”, which is something I can get behind without cringing (unlike “untold spirituality”). Throwing Snow is music that has got a lot pulse rate, but is by no means lifeless; it is laid-back without being straight up ambient; it is modern without being dubstep, or trapp, or any other labelled genre. It’s good to listen to without being at all ground breaking. It doesn’t have to be. Aspera is a simple, good thing.

7.5/10

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