TOBACCO, also known as Thomas Fec, who is known for being the leading songwriter and visionary for Black Moth Super Rainbow. TOBACCO’s style is incredibly similar to BMSR as they both use an extremely different technique for creating music. TOBACCO works primarily with pre-digital instruments, relying on analog tapes and synthesizers that create what feels like a step back into the glory days of late 70’s, early 80’s experimental music.
His newest record, Sweatbox Dynasty only continues to expand upon this intriguing style of production while adding in some easily approachable tracks that any new listener of TOBACCO’s work could pick up without a strict listening curve. A sincerely groovy and retro throwback into one of music’s most experimental ages, Sweatbox Dynasty is an intense level of fun from beginning to end.
Opening with the track “Human Om,” a looping synth riff starts the track off and continually lays the ground work for the following instruments that will bring the track into its many different stages. A minimalistic approach in the first chords are present before eventually drawing in heavily distorted vocalization and an authentic style of clap beat lays down the percussion. The track seems rather calm but within seconds, an abrasive and heavily crunchy rising synth crashing in creating large break within the track.
This also creates a flowing segment into “Human Om’s” second component that acts similar to a breakdown where the beat becomes mixed and twisted. TOBACCO uses his strange and ethereal vocals to acts almost like a background instrument as the beat continues to push on before ending on a suddenly abrupt final note.
The following track, “Hong” uses a bell-like instrument to act as the melody of the track while a synth lead lays down the bass work of the track. TOBACCO also experiments with the instrumentation as he changes the beat to misshapen the foundation, making the snare and bass lines change in such a way that it nearly disrupts the course of the track. “Hong” keeps the sound feeling fresh and even in such a short journey, it still creates an uplifting style of distortion.
“Wipeth Out” trails behind and this is one of the heavier tracks on Sweatbox Dynasty. It uses an intense amount of these corrosive synths that nearly melt the instrumentation itself. There is also heavily authoritative voice that chimes in to bring in more twisted vocals into the mix of the track. “Wipeth Out” ends with a rapid synth that sounds similar to an 80’s horror chase scene, and launches right into the sludgy sound of “Gods in Heat.”
“Gods in Heat” is easily the first track that jumps out to the listener, from the crunchy beginning synth to the ripping guitar and electronic style of percussion that works so in tandem together. With the chorus of the track, the bridge, and the silent pauses that build up each intermission act so well that “Gods in Heat” is a masterpiece from the first listen. The track ends just as well as it began, the synth lays down some beautiful chords that act as the “Gods in Heat’s” closer.
The following track “Home Invasionaries” is a constantly shifting track that begins with one beat that feels similar to an old action movie set to an entire analog style of recording. This quickly changes as “Home Invasionaries” takes a turn into more of a two-step style of club song that uses a rising bass line and more chime-like instruments to lay down the melody. There are also quick layers of energetic synth and bass chords that completely differentiate from the beat’s first approach. This style of adapting beat makes the entire track feel like it is constantly changing from even the first second of instrumentation. The last sections of the “Home Invasionaries” begins to use more of a free-form style before finally letting the synth bass line finish the track out.
Next up is the heavily distorted and artificial sounding track, “Dimensional Hum.” This track was an interesting approach to using different instruments of both authentic and synthetic tastes to create what sounds similar to a warzone within a track. The opening guitar combined with some vocals and static along with a bass breakdown creates an overall noisy, but busy track as well. The melody laid down by a higher pitched synthesizer continues the theme of the last tracks, but this melody feels almost horrific or in a creeping style. “Dimensional Hum” comes to an incredibly abrupt end, but the silence acts as a way to move onto the next track, or piece of art.
“Warlock Mary” features a hi-hat that clicks along as a quick moving synth provides the foundations for the track. The vocals are the primary focus of this track and seem to be more of a spoken word style rather than singing. Again, the distortion is immensely present in this track on the vocals, creating an otherworldly style of voice over the rising synths that segue into “Suck Viper.”
“Suck Viper” is most similar to a boom-bap style of beat that walks along a bouncing synthesizer. These continue throughout the track until a fazing synth pad comes in and overpowers the instrumentation within the track, leaving everything else to fall behind as the synths take the lead. There are no vocals present, but there are varying levels of depth to the track that features several different synthesizers and a bass line that continually shakes “Suck Viper” to its core.
The following track, “The Madonna” is a strange double part song that switches between a rather noisy and abrasive style of instrumentation, to the cheerful and more approachable style. “The Madonna” is one of the shortest tracks on Sweatbox Dynasty, but that does not mean that the track is without variation. In fact, the track switches up so rapidly that it is often hard to keep track of what different sections are being played until the track finally ends.
“Fantasy Trash Wave” begins and has a similar style of “Gods in Heat” in the way that the synth sounds overly crunchy. However, this track uses an uplifting synth lead that acts nearly like a chorus and almost seems to battle the other buzzing synths present. Then as the bass line kicks in and the rest of “Fantasy Trash Wave” starts to flesh itself out, the track feels like the most varied and overall the most interesting track on Sweatbox Dynasty. The runtime allows for “Fantasy Trash Wave” to take every idea and make sure that no second is left unexplored.
The second to last track, “Memory Girl” is this dream-like track that uses charming synths and a cheerful chime set to lay the melody down. “Memory Girl” is one of the more rock sounding tracks that uses amp buzzing and a guitar on overdrive to deliver the main section of the instrumental. The chimes are the focal point however, and act as the primary device for moving the track forward and into the final piece on Sweatbox Dynasty.
“Let’s Get Worn Away” is a mismatch of different instrumentals that last no longer than 30 seconds each. There are parts where the synth will simply noodle away on the keyboard almost making no real sense when played in these sections, but when the track does find a melody and stick along the path of that melody, the track is great. There are just too many obstacles in “Let’s Get Worn Away” to let the track stand substantially on its own. The track ends with radio static, and it is the perfect closing from one of the more experimental releases of 2016.