Tom Scott
Hilldrop [12-inch; Skire]

I always bristle a bit when artists put out vinyl with a bunch of dead space on it. Why not throw a b-side on there, or an impromptu boogaloo after-hours track, or a recording of your mother talking about church; something! Then again, Tom Scott isn’t one to give a damn what could, should, or would be. He’s too in the moment, to immersed in his ambient, mostly minimal world, where the kitchen sink is replaced by a small, slowly leaking faucet and a hand towel, where piano comps form a warm cocoon for his explorations of space and distance to congeal into, where everything is everything and nothing is nothing so why not just admit that everything also, by extension, is nothing? I’m not at ALL a big fan of minimalism in any of its forms, so when I talk straight to you about artists like Scott and strange-ass releases like Hilldrop, understand there inherently must be more at work than simple wisps of sound and brushes of stroke. And it’s pathetic because I feel I don’t articulate enough about what renders “Dewpoint” so precious to me and 90 percent of tracks like it so… less than essential. I often make the point that only certain examples of film music actually make sense outside the construct of how they were birthed; that is, if a piece of music is meant to accompany a stirring scene in a quality film, it often won’t arouse the same feelings in the listener if separated from its visual component. There exist several examples that flout this of course (if I were to name my favorite soundtrack ever it would either be Morricone’s Once Upon a Time in America or the Interstellar score, but I’m not an extremely feverish film buff so take that with a salt grain), but in the world of minimalist music and especially drone, there’s often something missing, a piece that, without its vitality, a composition tends to blow in the wind and wander from track to track like a drifter taking on a new town every few days. Scott among the best I’ve heard at keeping the listener at an almost uncomfortable distance even as he reels them in subconsciously, almost like he’s ‘neg’ing us with his worlds-apart attitude and yet, against our best instincts, we want to know more because why would he be like that if his music wasn’t interesting and worth a second look? “Ribbon Glass” is another stunner, this time matching piano pricks with triangle (or maybe wind chimes?) and that cold, always-holding-back nature. What more do you need to know? Hilldrop is a lonely, isolating listen, and in no way is that a bummer. More please; no seriously, only a full-length LP will be enough to fill the need created by this 45RPM, wasteful (remember all that space on both sides of vinyl! How could he!?), charming, and limited-to-150(!) copies as it is. On sale at the Skire site so it’s cheap even if you live in America. I won’t bore you with the details of what to do next…


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