words by tom johnson
As dreamy and elusive as ever before, Thomas Howard returns today with a brand new track under their Orchid Mantis pseudonym, the Atlanta-based bedroom-pop project which we last covered on these pages at the tail-end of 2016, and the release of their Flashbulb Memory album on Track & Field Records.
The first track from his forthcoming new record, Kulla Sunset, which is set for release next week on the Z-Tapes label, “Sunlight” is a woozy reminder of Howard’s ambiguous craft, a brooding four-minutes that seems to settle in that eerie space between night and day, in the lost hours of twilight where the world seems to blur in upon itself, shapes in to shadow until they’re one and the same.
Centred around those totemic wilting keys, there’s an abrasiveness between the subtlety of the instrumentation and the somewhat brash nature of Howard’s voice, but such a juxtaposition only adds to the intrigue, underpinning the prevailing atmosphere with a palpable edge; a sense of displacement or unsettledness that lingers for long after the track’s departed.
“The chords & melody for Sunlight were first composed on a Portasound PS-2 in the summer of 2016,” Howard says of his new work. “At the time I think I was pursuing some lyrical tangent involving waking dreams and in-between states of consciousness. Throughout the recording process, the song naturally guided itself in a direction I don’t think I could have imagined before all the pieces came together – which is always an odd, mystical feeling. Today it reminds me of long drives out of the city and the ambiance of open spaces in the country.”
Check out the new track below right now; keep an eye on Z-Tapes for the full ‘Kulla Senset‘ release next week.