Wednesday 19 September 2018

A-Tota-So - Self-Titled

Labels: Lonely Voyage Records/Buttonpusher/Circuit Sweet
Formats: VinylCD/Digital
Release Date: 17 Sep 2018


1. Black Market Broccoli
2. Tea Leaf
3. Double Deaf
4. Notionology
5. Acer
6. Long Run
7. Box-Elder
8. Future Finger
9. Clever Liver

Monday of this week brought us the debut album from East Midland math-rock band A-Tota-So. This release has been two years in the making yet even before it's release, the trio scored a slot at ArcTanGent and toured the UK with British instrumental trio Chiyoda Ku. The band got together when their other bands Alright The Captain and Cheap Jazz decided to take a break.

A-Tota-So’s math-rock is filled to the brim with instrumental loveliness straight from the moment you press play. The bizarrely titled opener Black Market Broccoli flits between calm mid-paced tempos and the odd noisy, layered passage that makes everything sound truly cinematic. While that first song was considerably upbeat, the feeling you get from Tea Leaf is a mixture of confusion and of being on-edge, due to it’s time-signatures that are all over the place and the dissonant riffs that explode at points throughout. It is a heavy number, that’s for sure. Double Deaf carries on in the same vein and the title is very apt as it’s loud with a really bass-heavy tone.

A-Tota-So mix grunge and post-rock elements into their music quite often and you can hear some of those elements on Notionology. The quieter moments are very introspective and there’s even room at for cracking guitar-work that sounds like it was taken from metal’s top drawer. As with the rest of the album, it’s all kept in check by the drumming, which presents the time-shifting heartbeat of the album. The way this album flows from one song to the next is impressive too and before you know it, the soothing tones of Acer are wringing out. 

I have to admit that sitting here with the wind gusting outside, listening to this album with a glass of red wine is making me feel a little smug. Not in a pretentious way though, but just because it’s a great way to unwind and the urgency of Long Run is more life-affirming than it is face-smashing. The trio ups the volume again on Box-Elder, which is remarkably powerful and shines a light on the incredibly recording/mixing/mastering that were done by Pete at NWFA Studios and Rich at Snug Recoding Co. respectively. 

Penultimate song Future Finger has been put here to hypnotise you with repeated riffs and movements. Closer Clever Liver catches the band’s experimental nature and deft musicianship one last time, just to ensure that their sound gets buried deep within your head. This is a great album and another reason why Britain continues to lead the way when it comes to experimental and instrumental math/post-rock.

You can stream A-Tota-So's debut album below:-

It's available to purchase now on vinyl, cd and digitally.

You can also purchase it from the below labels:-

Lonely Voyage Records -

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