Review: Throwing Snow & Py – Wallow

Young British producer Throwing Snow (born Ross Tones) has captured our attention time and time again over the past year with his imaginative creations that deconstruct house, dubstep and garage with a focus on fractured textures and rich atmospheres. On his new Wallow EP, available next Monday on Super Recordings, the producer teams up with British singer Py for four mesmerizing tracks, backed by three winning remixes of “Wallow” from the likes of Lapalux, PhOtOmachine, and Super Recordings boss Raffertie.

The crescendo of hollow, ambient drones and twinkling wind chimes on opening track “Wallow” establishes a moody tone that goes on to become the common thread among the otherwise diverse collection of tracks. Throwing Snow utilizes sidechain compression to maximum effect throughout the track to create an undulating atmosphere that serves as a beautiful backdrop for Py’s velvety vocals. The gingerly, skittering rhythms add a sense of melancholy to the track that’s echoed in the restrained bass line and sparse keyboard stabs. Up next, “The Shadows I Make,” which features vocals from Russell Morgan, boasts the kind of heady, introspective production that characterized Four Tet’s 2010 album There Is Love In You. A slow-burning house beat plods along, replete with loose, locomotive hi-hats and the jangling of pitched percussion. Aside from the richly layered rhythms, the rest of the production leans towards the atmospheric side, making the the interplay between Py and Morgan – whose voice is edgier and slightly paranoid – the centerpiece of the track.

On third track “As The Rain Spits” Throwing Snow ramps up the energy level and enters full on dance mode, while still rendering a brooding soundscape that fits in with the rest of the EP. The intro’s diced vocals, vinyl crackles, and juke-tinged percussion are a clever smokescreen, as the track eventually reveals itself as a thick slab of gurgling, electro-infused techno. An initial sense of uneasiness is progressively driven into schizophrenic territory by the combination of unstable plastic synths, frenetic rhythms, and disorienting vocal treatments. While closing track “Nettles And Gangs” may not be aimed directly at peak time sets, Throwing Snow channels classic dubstep and garage influences through a more expansive musical lens that highlights his maturity as a producer. Py’s vocals stand out at the front of the mix on this one, as minimal bass stabs and a thin drum-kit rhythm sneakily build steam beneath the singer’s alluring sound. A short breakdown introduces a groggy, opium-laced melody in the background that sends waves of hazy reverb across the track and brings a euphoric ending to the four original productions on the release.

First up on the remix tip is Essex-based beats prodigy Lapalux, who uses an alchemic touch to transform “Wallow” into a joyous, downtempo space romp. He coats Py’s vocals with layers of shimmering reverb and delay, while fleshing out the original’s minimalism with sexy analog synths akin to Com Truise. Remixes can be hit or miss when they take the original this far out of context, but Lapalux really delivers with this one. Meanwhile, hotly-tipped producer PhOtOmachine turns out a terrific next-level house remix with some serious late night appeal. Kicking off in rather unassuming fashion, the producer drags the original through a series of tightly arranged old-school house tropes, ultimately settling into a sweaty, acid-referencing groove. Lastly, label head Raffertie flexes his sound design skills in an untouchable re-working built around Py’s vocals. Over the course of two minutes, grainy synth tones fight to break through, ultimately opening the door to a dream world that’s arresting and emotional in an understated way. It’s hard to say whether any of the remixes top the original, but that’s just a testament to the quality of the entire release.

SPR006 : Throwing Snow & Py – Wallow by super

Throwing Snow & Py – Wallow (Super Recordings) is out on August 1st.

Sam Billetdeaux