Premiere Special/Dominic Valvona
Photo Credit: Natasha Alipour Faridani

Cephas Teom ‘Tomorrow’s World’
(METR Records) 5th November 2021

Here we are again, just over a year later and a premiere of another multi-layered, multi-sensory piece of sophisticated electronica from the West Country musician and producer Pete Thomas, moonlighting under the ancient language etymology of Cephas Teom (decoded that translates as the Aramaic for “Peter” and Hebrew for “Thomas”; pronounced as “Seh-fass Tee-um”).

Last October we premiered the Feet Of Clay EP, which we summed up at the time as: ‘A synthesized soundboard certainly, but one that has a soul and atmosphere: Imagine a jazzier Autechre and more twinkled Yuk.’

As a congruous bridge between that record and the debut Cephas Teom album, Automata, released next January, the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ single continues to channel Pete’s quandaries, concerns through the voice of others: From Jung refuting materialism to the speculative sci-fi author Ursula K Le Guin talking about how her childhood influences her musings on the future, and the member of the fatalistic Heavens Gate cult – adamant that only collective suicide would usher in and speed up the UFO chariot that would deliver them to their God.  

Photo Credit: Natasha Alipour Faridani

Name-checking the long running, generally optimistic BBC series Tomorrow’s World, this latest single is woozy with nostalgia for a more innocent examination of the future. An escape in one sense to a society yet to be allured into the Pandora’s Box that is the Internet in the 21st century; when technology promised so much: benevolence, altruism and democratization. And so the synthesised vapour wave of Outrun arcade games and anime soundtracks, VHS idents, J-Pop and incidental TV music ripples and glows with both a warm and heavy bass vision of a vocal-free Yukihiro Takahashi, Sakamoto, the Nippon Columbia label and Kavinsky. But nostalgia isn’t what it used to be (as someone once famously quipped), and despite the retro feel on this 80s style electro bubbled track there’s a certain mood of uncertainty and dreamy filtered disconnection. This all fits in with Pete’s concept of finding meaning in a crumbling society; and in this case reconnecting with the lost idealism of a pre-Internet age. 

Sending the original onto another plain entirely, seasoned electronic traveller Cristian Vogel maps out an extended journey through ambient, techno and trance with a nine-minute remix. That four-decade resume proves its worth, with touches of his years on the Tresor (the first UK artist ever to be signed to that iconic German label) and Magnetic North labels alongside sonic references of Jeff Mills and the Basic Channel and Bureau B imprints. Vogel stands on a cosmic porch recording the lashing rain whilst in the living room a literary interview can be heard dreamily weaving in and out of cyclonic swirls, tablas, jazzy piano spells and rotating space diamonds.

A second remix finds Pete’s co-conspirator on the METR Records label James Cameron (performing under his own alias KEMS) applying the lightest of touches. The rain is present once more, but as a trickle, whilst the original interview sample becomes more focal and somehow creepy. The music is ambient and alien, with glassy bauble notes and droplets falling in a soft spacy cascade. Cameron almost turns it into a semi-spiritual otherworldly meditation.

‘Tomorrow’s World’ is released officially this Friday (5th November) through the METR label. The Monolith Cocktail has been given a two-day head start, with a special premiere of both Pete’s original vision and Vogel’s remix.

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