White Moth Black Butterfly: One Thousand Wings

Exceptional album from vocalist Dan Tompkins – ‘ex-TesseracT’ no more.

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Whatever the talents of Dan Tompkins, it seemed hitherto unlikely that he would ever shift the ‘ex-Tesseract’ prefix from his musical identity. With One Thousand Wings however, he’s flexed his muscles and – along with Skyharbor’s Keshav Dhar and Tesseract’s Acle Kahney, among others – has come out with an absolutely essential work, one which surely legitimises his decision to leave those prog metallers to pursue his own projects.

Throughout, Tompkins’ voice sends shivers down the spine, with his delivery pitched towards the higher end of his range. Because of the pitch, lyrics are somewhat hard to discern, but no matter, since a weaker point of the record is the preoccupation with similar themes, almost making the indistinct intonation an aesthetic plus.

Though it’s described as ‘pop’, radio-friendly this music is not. Genre-wise, for the most part it’s a sparse mix of experimental electronica and trip-hop. It also flirts with shoegaze atmospherics on The World Won’t Sleep, some folk balladeering on Midnight Rivers and studio-manipulated, detuned guitars on Omen.

Experimental, accessible and quite brilliant, this ranks high among this year’s progressive releases.