XAM: Tone Systems


The first hurdle with this new EP by XAM, (AKA Matthew Benn, bassist in the the acclaimed Hookworms), is not a musical problem. It’s how to actually pronounce the name. Zam? Sham? Exam? X A M?

I’m none the wiser.

Anyway, pronunciation issues aside, this three track EP (clocking in at over 40 minutes) has plenty on offer for fans of kosmische, krautrock and skewed electronica.

It all kicks off with Werk and Play, underpinned by a pervasive motoric propelled beat and a simple arpeggiated synth progression that gets gradually more and more hypnotic during the length of the 8 and a half minutes you’re alone with this track.

Coke Float has much more urgency to it than the opening track. Again, the motorik beat is in attendance, but this track has a grittier feel than the opener, chirping and bubbling effects breaking through in the background behind the synth foundation.

Side two sees EP highlight Lifer – it’s 22 minutes in duration, and if you know me then you’ll also know I appreciate a long song. It’s all glorious drone for the first four or so minutes before a bright, coiling synth line comes into view. It’s a track that rewards you if you immerse yourself in it, headphones on. Eschewing the beats of the tracks from side one, here you can glide gently on glittering analogue noises. But Lifer isn’t content just to drift, oh no, there is real progression in this track, especially so when it gets into the last few minutes where the the drone takes a slightly darker turn, and subtle explosion noises and electronic pulses take over.

Tone Systems is available for digital download or on Vinyl (if there are any left…) from Bandcamp.


About Pete Collins

Bundle of wasted potential. Music & Retro Gaming blogger, and bass player for Flange Circus.

Posted on October 13, 2015, in Album reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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