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Dam Mantle is Glasgow-based Tom Marshall. What he does tends to have a way of falling between the gaps of what’s going on around him. His two EPs from last year, ‘Purple Arrow’ and ‘Grey’, were tricksy propositions, skittering oddly with the jerky rhythms of Hudson Mohawke or, perhaps closer in terms of the darkness they both bring to their work, Becoming Real.
His new EP ‘We’ for GETME! is a step in the direction of completeness. Gone is the jarring, sounds stiched skew-whiff together, feel familiar from his previous releases; and instead ‘We’ is more like looking at a finished jigsaw puzzle, a smooth surface, but you can still see the cracks, how those sounds lock into each other. The change is most obvious on the title track, a ten minute slick roll of ghostly voices and twinkling synths, that changing direction intriguingly, like chasing the white rabbit through an inverted Wonderland. Not A Word twists hip hop, slow, vocal samples turned inside out, thick as spilt oil moving, while Meet Me In The Ambulance and Sonambulate, My Dear are strange beasts, rather like listening to a trick of the light. You can stream the EP in full below, and read a quick interview with Tom too.
How’s it going?
Good man, just had a weekend off music. Been cooking pies and tending to my plants.
Can you tell me something about the EP?
It was born out of jamming with a friend, who’s working under the name RobRoyston. We’d worked on a couple of installations together and stuff and we’d have these fairly informal jams slaving drum machines and synths to mpc. Some of it ended up as tiny fragments that had been mutilated within totally new compositions and others are fairly close to the original jams.
How has your sound changed or moved on from Grey and Purple Arrow?
Well, the process of making it was very different. There’s definitely a change in tempo, a call to raise the speed of the heart, maybe to move a bit more. I want to make each release different, to take you somewhere else. I don’t like the idea of sticking to an exact sound palette for too long, I also had the idea of playing out in mind a bit more at the time I was producing it and so the tempo is more constant as oposed to jumping 30 beats per minute from one track to the other.
What has changed in terms of instrumentation?
More ‘primitive’ maybe, a lot of sine waves and fairly untreated drum machines. We were mainly using a korg monopoly and a juno 60 on this although its decorated with samples and fragmentation.
We has a new openness, would you agree?
Yeh, absolutely. The title is meant to be open ended but I was definitely thinking about the idea of a collective sort of innovation as our ideal ‘now’ as oposed to ‘mass consumption’; consumption and production are crossed. Like, I don’t really own this music, I inherited rhythm and melody from everything I’ve ever taken in from the world. These are only ideas that may or may not be applied to the music. But yeh, hopefully it says embrace everything and everyone but with a pessimistic, apocalyptic view of our past and therefore future underlying it all.
What are your hopes for the record, and the year?
All my hopes go into making it. But yeh, of course I would hope people get something from it, it probably demands more of your listening attention than putting it on while your checking on your email, hopefully people can get lost in it. Maybe I hope that the listener will find a new way to move their body to it or will stop thinking, maybe that’s a little too much to hope.
I’m just getting back into writing, again – i’ve scrapped my album about three times now, I just wanna take my time and keeps things fresh for my self, working in different ways and just experimenting more and more.
What’s inspired you recently?
I’ve finally sat down to properly listen to some stuff I bought a while ago like the Africa Hi Tech album, which is really fucking great. Been listening to new Samiyam, Bullion, Zomby. When we were making this we were listening to more ghetto tech and jungle, the guy I was making some of it with was making booty bass sorta stuff, kinda tongue in cheek but that had an impact on what we were doing. I had a phase a few years ago when I lived down south with jungle which is starting to come back to me and I guess there was a period a good few months ago when Honest Johns put out the Shangaan Electro compilation and Paradinas started importing Juke stuff to Mu, that reminded me of stuff that was going on over here and and I really craved that rhythm in a dance. More recently been listening to a lot of Grime, stuff from Vlek and Leaving records. Alice Coltrane, Kate Bush, watching videos of John Coltrane.