A pioneer of UK breakbeat culture, having cut his teeth as half of Evil Nine, EVL Tom brings a myriad of influences to bear on his debut album, ‘Absolute Melt’. It’s an opus where Moodymann-esque Detroit soul flavours meet the psychedelic rave stylings of early Future Sound Of London, the raw but incessantly funky loops of hip-hop producers Madlib and the RZA rub up against the bass aesthetic of early ‘90s jungle/drum & bass. The album is soon to be released on Out Yer Box, the sister imprint to Irvine Welsh’s Jack Said What label.

“Absolute Melt’ was me endeavouring to make a truly autobiographical record that represents my diverse tastes and experiences but bringing them together to form a cohesive whole. It’s a hybrid opus, the fulfilment of a life-long ambition to make an album solely by myself — to resoundly kick back against the Imposter Syndrome on my shoulder whispering that it couldn’t be done.” – EVL Tom

The thunder of rainstorms and other organic tones abound in the album opener ‘Trees’, a track drenched in bass with a Vangelis-esque horn melody riding it. Then it’s into ‘A Prayer’ with its mantra on peace and love, Tom’s stab at pushing out some positive feelings into the world, sonically harking back to early DJ Shadow and those seminal Mo’Wax joints. Two breakbeat cuts follow; ‘Incendies’ is a low-slung, smoked out roller with hints of Burial and ‘90s jungle (albeit at a fraction of the tempo), and ‘Eternal Lids’ is a track crafted to evoke late-night drives around cityscapes aglow with orange light and neon. Taking a breath in the middle of the album we have the beat-less ‘Norman’, which is melancholically melodic like a sci-fi movie scene-setter, which then moves into ‘Rebels Of The Neon God’ where we’re taking it back to the club. The title references a Taiwanese cult film favourite of Tom’s and also serves as a tribute to Taiwan, a place dear to Tom after numerous visits over the years. An electro / hardcore hybrid, ‘Rebels…’ buzzes with an undercurrent of pure rave euphoria.

Next up is the first single off the album, ‘The Heathers’, a dream-like, psychedelic epic with a dark second half that’s a counterpoint to the more wistful beginning of the tune. This is closely followed up by second single ‘Give Up (Don’t)’, something that Ron Hardy would maybe play at Muzic Box in Chicago, a tough disco banger pinned with an organic break that oozes raw funk. It’s a heads-down belter where the mood is positive and euphoric. Album closer ‘Love In Fire & Blood’ is the embodiment of a meme where a dude drinks a big bottle of cranberry juice whilst skateboarding to Fleetwood Mac — musically dense, and with the album’s signature blending of organic and electronic flavours. This delicate balance was achieved in the collaborative mixdown of the album by Tom and top bro Alexander James Fox, who brought his talent and knowledge to the table to craft it into the deeply woven epic you have before you.

“The title ‘Absolute Melt’ started as an in-joke, just a dope phrase that made me and my crew crease up, but then as I started to think on it, many levels were revealed to me. There’s ‘melting’ everywhere, with its climate change connotations; the psychedelic slant; and also perhaps a self-deprecating angle where maybe I’m the absolute melt… or you are, ha ha!” – EVL Tom

Tom now chiefly DJs and produces solo as EVL Tom and has a monthly radio show The Evil Tom Show on Brighton’s 1BTN.

Absolute Melt

Release Date : March 1, 2024
Artist : Evl Tom
Format : Out Yer Box
Catalog ref. : 0YBAL003