Premiere: (EP) Cephas Teom ‘Feet Of Clay’

October 14, 2020

Premiere/Dominic Valvona
Photograph credit to Natasha Alipour-Faridani

Cephas Teom ‘Feet Of Clay’
(METR Music) 16th October 2020

Overpowered by the wild elements of his Dartmoor studio retreat, the debut release from Nightjar Pete Thomas took on an entirely transformed electronic and programmed form; the consequences of an unwelcoming imposition by nature forcing the Bristol musician to change his acoustic methodology.

Known previously for his part in the folksy ensemble The Nightjar, Thomas moved to an isolated spot on the moors and a self-built studio in a former mining crater, to pursue new sonic horizons. Under the atavistic holy land alternative version of his own name (“Cephas” is the Aramaic name for “Peter”, “Teom” the Hebrew for “Thomas”) alter ego, this first Cephas Teom release is also a showcase of intention for his burgeoning co-led label METR Music: His partner in this venture being fellow producer-artist James Cameron, who trades under KAMS amongst many other names.

The opening account is all about the synthesis: a synthesis of the algorithmic compositional programs Supercollider and Tidal Cycles, and, as Thomas puts it, a “natural synthesis of the mystical jazz esotericism of Sun Ra married with the dense technical schematics of pioneers of generative process, Visible Cloaks and Mark Fell.” And yet, it does to a degree pull this conjuncture, counterbalance off; though less esoteric and more just a tad mysterious and starry.

Firstly the most ominous, disturbed part of this EP is the star-gate ascendance to dreamt-up superior overlords from another space, ‘The Kingdom Of Heaven’. Ping-Pong algorithms, kinetic nodes, videogame operatics and hits of Richard James at his sweets and most entrancing (yes it does happen) cloak a more sinister and profound theme of cultist indoctrination, seduction in an epoch in which institutions and reliable sources, guardians are collapsing. A transmogrified sample of one such fatalistic cult recruitment video cuts through the echo-y spells: that is the death cult Heavens Gate, who’s members committed a shared suicide pact in 1997, in what they thought would be a lift aboard a comet-trail hidden UFO to utopia.

The rest of this EP masks, veils, any other kind of dangerous disturbances; setting off a minimalistic Techno and Tibetan percussive ringing peregrination on the soulful and quivered bobbing notes meander ‘In Whom Can We Trust’, and gentle evoking, gilded intersection of the Bureau B label, House Of Tapes, Kota Motemura and Sakamoto on the Japanese imbued ‘Zen Brouchure’. Enervated industrial components, rattles of steel mesh, jug poured liquid atmospherics, pondered electric piano, metallic percussion connect on a most subtle and sophisticated record. A synthesized soundboard certainly, but one that has soul and atmosphere: Imagine a jazzier Autuchere and more twinkled yuk..

A great start then to an emerging transformation, and one we are lucky enough to share with our followers before the official release on Friday the 16th October. You can hear the full five-track EP below for a limited time.


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