Tomu DJ - FEMINISTA Music Album Reviews

Tomu DJ - FEMINISTA Music Album Reviews
The California producer’s debut album channels new-age synths and retro dance styles into a dreamlike synthesis of disparate musical modes.

In late 2019, the California-based producer Tomu DJ was driving down I-5 when her back tire blew out. Her car flipped three times—the windshield shattered; her airbags exploded. Though she walked away relatively physically unscathed, the accident left her with psychological trauma and, eventually, a period of psychosis. She turned to music to regain a sense of self, retreading the breakbeats that spawned her love of electronic music and exploring the palliative effervescence of Balearic beat and piano house. After a series of EPs, her debut album, FEMINISTA, is a synthesis of her disparate musical modes, floating in the dreamlike space between ambient and techno.

Tomu DJ shelved her first attempts at a full-length, and FEMINISTA jitters with the nervous energy of a postponed debut. After a relatively subdued first half—the reggaetón of “Dula Peep,” the introspective synths of “Schizoaffective” and “Rock69”—”Exposed Nerve” digs into her musical roots as a DJ, a passion she developed after meeting Chicago’s famed Teklife crew in 2015. The sub-bass, breakbeats, and featherlight flutes combine the influence of her current collaborators—for instance, the weightlessness of Toronto-based producer Ciel, who hosted Tomu DJ on her show earlier this year—with her love of ghetto house, juke, and footwork. “Pretty Stuff,” with its rapid-fire rhythms and delicate synth overlay, sounds like a Teklife spa, pushing the Chicago producers’ penchant for experimental melodies further into the realms of ambient bliss.

The album also plays with nostalgia and memory, appropriating the sounds of ’90s pop without ever fully diving into pastiche. “Cali / Florida” feels like a warm, comforting hug from childhood, layering synths that evoke the breeziness of Steely Dan’s saxophone over a whirring and clicking sound reminiscent of a music box. “What’s Next” answers the question posed by its title with a retro-futuristic soundscape, fusing the shuffling beats of drum’n’bass with the washed synths of new age. Buzzing with the sidechain compression of Eurodance, it feels like a secret doorway to EDM’s past.

It can be difficult to successfully crack a joke within the typically self-serious spaces of new age and dance music, but Tomu DJ has already carved out a uniquely ironic, occasionally absurd voice. It takes a degree of humbling self-deprecation to call your 2020 single “Goes To Bossa During Covid Once,” title your May 2021 followup “Second Dose,” or tag an EP about psychological distress as both “420” and “schizophrenia.” In her typically wordless music, such wordplay comes off as an attempt to add clarity and signal the inspirations behind her work. That carries over to FEMINISTA, whose opening track is named for Wendy Williams’ mispronunciation of Dua Lipa’s name. But just as on her previous releases, jokes provide context—“Dula Peep,” with its downtempo, dembow-inspired beat, might be an opaque reference to the British singer’s penchant for reggaetón and Latin trap. The chintzy smooth-jazz melodies of “Rock69” similarly reflect its tongue-in-cheek title, layering schmaltz onto an already sentimental song.

Tomu DJ has said that the album was influenced by Janet Jackson’s legendary The Velvet Rope, and though there’s little directly reminiscent of the R&B classic, there is a clear throughline to that album’s breadth. FEMINISTA’s eight songs aren’t so much in active conversation as they are pulled from the same subconscious. The timbres and textures of Tomu DJs music, which she tends to coat with luminous reverb, often feel like attempts to translate a mental state into sound. The wobbling synths on “Schizoaffective,” the uneven melodies on “Confundida”—they sound off-balance, as if mimicking her tilted headspace in the months after her accident. But when that same filtered echo appears across her juke and drum’n’bass tracks, it also evokes the woozy afterglow of a night out—the way the thump of the rave rings in your ear as you walk home at daybreak. FEMINISTA is as much an album about recovery as it is about longing to safely return home to the dancefloor.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Tomu DJ - FEMINISTA Music Album Reviews Tomu DJ - FEMINISTA Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on August 18, 2021 Rating: 5


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