Dead Melodies – Slowwave Perception (EP, 2015)


For my second swipe at an EP in as many days, Slowwave Perception is the debut release for Tom Moore under his new Dead Melodies alias. Moore is not a newcomer to the musical world however, having produced content for nearly 10 years under previous pseudonym Indigolab, and that clearly shows through the production quality and depth of sound displayed in this part Ambient, part Post-Rock, part Downtempo little EP; clocking in at just over 20 minutes and only 4 tracks long it’s another relatively short affair but again manages to squeeze a surprising amount of content into its walls.

In opener “Sycamore Ruins” we find ourselves slowly immersed in the tentative but somewhat luxurious world of Dead Melodies, rising in a wave of blissed out guitar drones and thrumming field recordings suspended in a cassette tape fuzz, lovingly drifting in on the wind. These bleary movements find themselves propelled forwards by a light, oscillating synth line that gently urges these languid expressions along, pushing the track out of the heavy and encumbered darkness it finds itself creeping out of and into lighter atmospheres. Distant radio snippets cement that Post-Rock foundation in blurry murmurings before the piece slowly collapses into a refined and contemplative silence, broken only by brief incursions of drone. The title track is quick to follow, this time a shimmering mass of drones and backwards chords, a hovering mirage of barely impressionable and distant sound shifting on the edge of perception that slowly falls away into more harmonious and clearer movements towards its conclusion, those untouchable perceptions beginning to take hesitant form in tentative piano strokes suspended in the haze.

“Radars & Stars” is perhaps something of an outlier within the EP, finding itself largely occupied by female whisperings and sparse, echoic minimalism. It’s a pleasant and delicate affair with a wistful, skygazing sort of attitude but it does feel a little out of place, or perhaps a little less meaningful than the other pieces here; when the faint whisperings are left behind some very nice and delicate instrumentation and warped guitar drones make for thoughtful listening but it’s a little dry when they are not. Which then only leaves the closer in appropriately titled “Laze”; although initially disjointed and disharmonious it quickly finds its feet and relegates these starting woes in favour of an easygoing and gently progressive drum line wrapped around a bed of lightly cruising guitar drones, the rest of the piece never breaking character once it establishes itself and continuing to lounge in unflappably relaxed sequences.

It’s difficult not to feel in some way embraced and comforted within Slowwave Perception‘s throes; it may not be an overly emotional album or break any particularly new ground but it’s nicely consistent and thoughtful in its presentation.