Review Summary: What gorgeous chrome and silver can sound like
Throwing Snow’s Mosaic
is unimpressive in its impressiveness. It’s tough to pinpoint anything specifically wrong
here, as the album is generally made up of gorgeously-woven material with carefully roughed-up edges. Indeed, Throwing Snow’s beautifully eerie soundscapes are delectable at best and merely unimpressive at worst. The LP’s brilliant sheen is jaw-dropping, the result of countless hours of tinkering with sonic architecture and molding timbres and tonalities. It’s impossible to listen to “The Tempest” and not be hypnotized by the static-drenched roars of cymbals and the sharp, disorienting plucked strings giving way for a wonderfully austere backdrop for Adda Kaleh’s weightless vocals. The way the tune grows and blooms displays a producer comfortable with his craft, willing and able to tend to the finest nuances of every beat, every muted arpeggio.
The only unsettling bit is related to the sheen itself: somewhere along the way, it feels like Mosaic
’s soul got left behind. That’s not to say the music is vapid in its soullessness - and, really, you’d be hard-pressed to find more than a few empty moments over the entire 51-minute runtime. Rather, the human element so many producers strive for doesn’t really exist here. The opus is conducted with an ice-cold metal hand instead of one made of flesh: the human quirks that make very similar electronic music so appealing have no place on Mosaic
Which, obviously, can be fine (and even desirable) at times, and part of the allure of futuristic techno is how machinistic it all feels. However, the things many of the best cyberkinetic tunes accomplish run perpendicular to many of Mosaic
’s nagging flaws. Rather than pushing the limits of what can be constituted as original, lively composition and music by utilizing repetition, simplicity, and brute force, Throwing Snow seems to be aping much of what innovative releases in the past have done, combining disparate influences without adding that final sprinkle of individuality. Opening track “Avarice” feels much like a coarser Black Sands
-era Bonobo hip-hop masterpiece, clarinet and strings colliding with brutally abrasive bass. It’s a good track, make no mistake, but it sort of feels like it’s going through the motions, a carefully-assembled song that any number of artists could have made.
Hearing the issues plaguing Mosaic
is terribly disappointing, especially given how good the album truly is. It’s tough to expound upon what makes the album so enjoyable because so much of where it succeeds is the many different ways it flows sweetly through the ears of the listener. The tinkling bells in “Linguis,” the pads in “Draugr,” the liquid drums of “All The Lights” are all impressive individually, and the wonderful contrasts between serene and harried abundant on the album are truly spectacular. However, just as Mosaic
flows in easily, it flows out the same way. Though I hate to label music as breathtakingly beautiful as this “background music,” it simply doesn’t command enough attention to be anything more.