London-based artist, label boss and general man-about-music Throwing Snow has been busy this year, from the further development of his left_blank label to the establishing of new label Snowfall. “Clamor”, the label’s inaugural release, was a delightfully chaotic affair, and the label’s second offering, his own “Aspera”, is just as exciting. Jumping to life with a stuttering kick, its haunting arpeggios filled with lost yearning. The track judders along in a deceptively haphazard fashion, a deadly swing concealing a careful structure. Distant claps and twisted vocal samples abound with swirling, expansive synths. It’s a thrilling opener, taking us even further from the skittery garage that one might expect from this artist. “Melum”, which could almost be considered dubstep given its tempo, and fizzling percussion, tugs on the heartstrings even more than its predecessor, as searing guitar lines and wailing horns drift in the same skies as jagged basslines and ever-changing synth phrases.
“Lingerwell” is the real shock of the bunch, coming off almost like Throwing Snow’s attempt at disco. That’s not to say it’s a genre exercise, instead merely incorporating some of the tropes of that style. The forlorn piano chords, snarling bass and broken, arpeggiated synths of the previous tracks are moulded into something entirely new, a higher upbeat and booming kicks lending an air of plaintive urgency. The drifting synths that wail above recall the gurgling melancholy of Boards of Canada, yet this track manages to make its own voice clear, becoming more than the sum of its imagined influences. The gated synths that open “Behest” cannot prepare you for the emotional onslaught that will bring this release to a close. The track’s gentle plod builds from a murmur to a steady clank, while muted synths jump up and down in the mix, a constant source of surprise. That gated riff meanwhile grows to something quite stunning, turning this into a 100bpm hands-in-the-air anthem for the weirdest rave you’ve never attended. Just as it bubbled into existence, so it drifts away. Could this be the most heartbreaking release of the year? Throwing Snow has achieved something special with “Aspera”, and we thank him for it.
Stream: Throwing Snow – Aspera EP (Snowfall)
Throwing Snow – Aspera EP is out now on Snowfall.