This Tamu Massif article was written by Jessica Otterwell, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Fraisia Dunn
Tamu Massif’s ‘Alba’ is an intriguingly chilled EP. It feels rootless from the beginning, as though it longs for sunnier climes, colourful days and long sultry nights. ‘Alba’ is half in a suitcase, waiting to leave on its next adventure.
Opening track ‘JeJune/Selene’ draws you in with echoes of bar chatter; this has wanderlust written all over it. There are fragments of Tom McRae, John Frusciante’s later solo offerings (think, ‘Shadows Collide With People’) and Bon Iver. However, you can’t pigeonhole Tamu Massif’s sound. The music is full of light and shade, the space and silence is at once a vital component of the sound.
‘St Isidore’, is a stunning blend of beats and samples, moulding with delicate vocals to create a dreamscape that is very much suited to listening to on a bleak winter day with nostalgia for lost loves, broken hearts but realised dreams.
‘A Fate Much Worse’, a stellar moment of gentle guitar and beats, showcases a darker, somewhat melancholic turn but through the dark emerge glimmers of hope. “I’ve already suffered a fate much worse than this”, confesses Dave Dixon, and you know he’ll get back up again.
As a whole ‘Alba’ is multi-layered; offering up a pronounced fragility, however there is strength at its core. The beats and snatched samples give the listener glimpses of moments past, slivers of passionate memories. Dave Dixon’s vocal is at once a warm and soulful tone peppered with higher notes that call to mind both Jeff Buckley and Joanna Newsome.
Tamu Massif’s song craft is exquisite; it’s fresh and current while at once recalling an era long ago. ‘Alba’ is a beautiful way to melt away the winter blues.