A project of London, UK based musician Tomaso, Semitonal is a solo project that incorporates unorthodox, unconventional recording methods along with collaborative efforts by outside musicians. Released on September 16, 2020, “Doors” is the newest Semitonal E.P. which features collaborations by Other (aka Keith Bishop).
The opening main number, “Doors”, is a collaborative effort by Tomaso and Other. It has a distinctively grimy edge, an eerie undertone, and a strong bottom end brought upon by a hybrid of electronic instruments and heavily compressed drums. The sparse yet notable piano bursts sprinkled throughout give vivid impressions of modern Film Noir. In fact, I’ve drawn a delightful perception of some subtle influences from a number of artists such as Massive Attack, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, and Angelo Badalamenti.
“TrapDOOR Dub”, solely mixed and arranged by Tomaso, has the same musical motifs and recurring tonal phrases as “Doors”. However, it has a slightly modified structure. The harsher Drum n’ Bass pattern of the main number is replaced by a half-time – almost Jazzy - beat which features sparse Bass drums and rimshot hits serving as the downbeat. Halfway through the track, however, the harshness picks back up as a heavy-hitting, abrasive Drum n’ Bass drum pattern hurls the energy forth towards the listener with a vengeance.
Separately mixed and arranged by Other, “DOORWaze (Cyberphunk Mix)” is an energetic and more danceable take on the main number; it gives an “alternate timeline” effect that compliments the release reasonably well. Devoid of the main musical themes contained in “Doors”, it instead has a darker Breakbeat feel reminiscent of The Chemical Brothers and Aphex Twin. Despite the saw wave timbre of the Synth Bass being a bit too upfront at times, I thoroughly enjoyed the more uncompromising atonality and gritty sonic textures of the track.
I would recommend checking out Semitonal’s release Doors, especially if you’re in the mood for a harsh yet alluring, Psychedelic tinged Industrial/Drum n’ Bass setting that subtly pays homage to 90’s Mystery/Action/Thriller films. In addition, be sure to check out video of the main number on YouTube here, which was created using a surreal blend of B&W found footage from obscure surveillance mediums.