Tom VR connects with Ghostly’s Spectral Sound imprint for Heart Can Still Somersault, a four-track EP that weaves through the worlds of club music and headphone listening. The UK producer has quietly developed his bright patchwork electronica sound across releases on labels such as Midland’s Intergraded, Seb Wildblood’s All My Thoughts, and Valby Rotary, which he co-runs with his pal Louf. Per Resident Advisor, Tom VR “has a knack for crafting genre-bending electronic dance music that glistens and flutters like the work of a young Kieran Hebden [Four Tet],” and the nod is especially apt given recent DJ attention from Hebden himself, along with the likes of Ben UFO, Bicep, Avalon Emerson, and Jamie xx.
The guiding vision for the first two tracks is The Great Orme, a limestone headland in Llandudno, North Wales, where Tom’s grandparents lived. The coastal rock formation is known for its resemblance to a giant sleeping sea serpent; here, Tom leans into the mythical scene, first seeing it beaming with the super-charged and melodic “Heart Can Still Somersault,” then tense and clouded on “Orme,” under the hiss and whips of dark scaly synths.
“I wanted to make music that felt vast, anthemic, and unnerving, but euphoric and purposefully overwhelming.”
The back half drifts outward and far beyond club expectations, favouring a textural, sensorial style. On “GPS Says I’m Flying So I Guess I Am,” Tom deploys dazzling sound design with glittery synths to elicit the sense of being enveloped by brightness and propelled skyward. He explains the origin:
“One morning I was running by the river and I checked my phone and my GPS showed that I was essentially hovering over the water, instead of on the path. I kinda envisioned this idea of just suddenly ascending and what that would feel like, or if gravity switched and you made peace with it and floated upwards. I had this circling around my head while making the song.”
“Chaotic Folds” is an eyes-down rolling techno track, pressure-packed, grounded, and hypnotic. It’s a fitting closer, an exercise in mood and restraint, further proof of this rising producer’s range.