by Chris Allen
Returning from a string of American gigs, multi-instrumentalist and producer Tom Misch is about to chill out Thekla with his glossy jazztronica beats. His second EP Reverie shimmers in the wake of Beat Tape 2, a compilation of Misch’s mellow much-hyped hits which show his musical prowess, such as the haunting harmonies of In The Midst of it All and bluesy guitar licks on The Journey.
Follow, the second track from Misch’s newest offering, states “remove the labels that you are assigned”. The young musician definitely takes his own advice by shirking categorisation with silky production that masks a sensitive blend of trip-hop, ambience, and diverse cultural styles. It’s hard to ignore the influence of jazz on his delicate beats, from the saxophones and vocal scatting scattered throughout, to the Uptown Funk-worthy basslines, and melodic chord sequences. The stupendously impressive stringed intro to Watch Me Dance blends fluidly with rolling guitar and stamping bass drum, showing shimmers of steel drums which demonstrate his unique blend of ethnically-diverse sounds mixed with hip-hop clicks and handclaps.
The “reverie” is a theme woven into his lyrics, but it’s best illustrated through the dreamy music: Dummy Magazine extols his “unassuming beats that float off into some next level realm of relaxation”. Wistful Jack Johnson-esque strains of I Wish reveal his own sophisticated (yet relaxed) mastery of multiple instruments, but the promise of a live band accompanying him on-stage makes an exciting prospect for this upcoming gig. His new EP shows a higher subtlety and stylistic variation than his previous Beat Tapes, as well as more lyrical content, which portends positively for the whisperings about a debut album. Here, then, is a golden opportunity for indie bragging rights: be the first to say “I saw him before his first album” at a calm, ethereal gig at Thekla (the stylish Bristol venue aboard a boat).