Tomaga - Intimate Immensity
From the moment they dropped their first, humble cassette release back in 2013, Tomaga - the London based duo of Tom Relleen and Valentina Magaletti - remained an inspiring, boundary pushing fixture on the experimental music scene. Incredibly prolific, their output sprawled across the territories of noise, percussive ambient music, and electronic tinged free-improvisation, leaving fans on the edge of their seats at every turn. Tragically, at the age of 42, Relleen passed away in 2020, bringing Tomaga’s shining light to an untimely end. As a final gesture, Hands in the Dark brings us Intimate Immensity, the project’s last, outstanding release. Ranging from the moody to restrained, joyous asceticism, Tomaga’s swan song is an inwardly reflective expanse of intertwined percussion and electronics. Not only stunningly beautiful and creatively consuming, it’s among the most striking records will likely fall into our hands all year.
For seven years, Tomaga was an inspiring presence in our midst, endlessly rethinking the terms of experimental music, while inexplicably managing to integrate an exacting sense of refinement with a raw, intuitive immediacy into their sound. They sculpted an image of something hard-fought and concrete, permeated with life and chaos as they looked into the beyond. Their final gesture, Intimate Immensity, is equally such a case. Distilling two years of creative innovation, mostly recorded at Relleen’s home in London, the LP collects ten tracks that bristle with intensity as they embark on a breath-taking journey that traces across the multifaceted worlds explored by the band over the years.
Woven from Magaletti’s infectious polyrhythms on percussion, Relleen’s skilful hand at the synth, and vocal interventions by Cathy Lucas and Martin Tomlinson, as well as strings by Agathe Max, each of the album’s compositions stands as a highly individualised, intimate, and free-standing world that belongs to the same, cohesive sonic universe as the next. Bridging the realm of rigorous experimentation with an openness and accessibility that is usually confined to pop, lush ambiances, melodies, and rhythms form into a dense rethinking of minimalism that ripples with humanity and life, and covers a vast emotional range.
With nods to the work of Laurie Spiegel, Pauline Anna Strom, Midori Takada, Hiroshi Yoshimura, Richard Pinhas, Manuel Göttsching, and others, Tomaga’s Intimate Immensity, takes its own, astounding original form and send the project out with a band. A truly stunning piece of work, leaving the incredible contribution of Tom Relleen and Valentina Magaletti inscribed on our minds. Issued by Hands in the Dark in a very limited black vinyl edition, issued in a beautiful sleeve by Icinori, this one isn’t going to sit around for long. Move fast.