Thoom Blood and Sand

[Club Chai; 2017]

Styles: situation, environment, archaeology, blood, sand
Others: Zíur, Bonaventure, Nkisi, Kablam

Thoom’s music operates environmentally. It uses sound to generate space; delineating its contours, filling its innards with sharp feelings and serrated velocities. Its spaces are layered, geological in nature — striated and stratified — assemblages of remnants, detritus. They exist in a state of flux, shuttling between destruction and reconstruction, saturated in and by a percussion that both sutures and rends. Across four short and sharp tracks, Thoom maps these reciprocal and opposed forces — destruction and reconstruction, form and formlessness — plumbing the depths and scaling the heights of the spaces in which they manifest, creating a suite of music that moves with grace and strikes with force.

First track, “حركت السكوت (No Speech),” inaugurates this spatial production, its drums clattering across the scene with churning, abrasive propulsion. Patterns emerge on the fly, blooming into being and dissolving into noise, becoming the conditions of possibility for the next wave of sound. This dialectic extends across tracks, with “Salwa” emerging by and through the dust and gravel kicked up by its predecessor. The latter’s drums are subsumed and fragmented, the broken ground above which voices float, mournful and precarious. Great depths of feeling and sound pool and unspool here — archeologies, histories — their presence made tangible, real: like blood in the mouth, sand in the eye.

“Mikal Jackzon” rolls and thumps, an outpouring of drums that covers the territory. There’s a fluid unfolding to Thoom’s music, an elegance to its controlled disavowal of control. The track, beset on all sides by the whirl of percussion it’s summoned, accumulates a lopsided momentum as it grows into itself, steadily blurring as the mesh of resonances, beats, and sounds are drawn into ever-more complex, constricted shapes. We observe the momentary entrance of the technological, as the sound of hand on drum becomes abstracted and shortened, before this too is fractured and narrowed, degraded by the vicissitudes of its environment. Finally, “Apology ft. Scim” yawns, lashed by a menacing beat that drags behind it the accumulated waste of this pregnant, corrosive music. A swaying melody underpins the track, pushing through the perforated space left by the violence of the percussion. A structure emerges, its center searching, exploding.

This is music as situation, a series of entanglements in and with space. Across these four sonic zones, memories, affects, sounds and textures struggle together, straining and falling, the speed of the beats grinding against the heavy slowness of fossilized found sound. But Thoom’s music has no interest in offering resolution: its spaces are produced through antagonism and conflict. Its parts must abrade each other in order to become animated, so that these sounds can flower and rebound and fracture, forever repelling and subsuming one another as they chart a path across an uncertain environment.

Most Read