Tom Misch maps out his musical range in debut album Geography
The long-awaited debut album from multi-instrumentalist Tom Misch is finally here. After our glowing review for the launch party, we were just as impressed with the sound of Geography and it's guest appearances...
Misch takes a slightly new direction on the album, which is audible on the opening track 'Before Paris', by using samples of speeches and movie scenes, Geography opens with a sample from an interview with Roy Hargrove passionately talking about what it means to be an artist and how it is more than just a job. There's an electronic funk sound on much of this album, with hip hop influenced beats. 'Before Paris' is a smooth number to open up the Geography album, beginning the highly anticipated debut for his ever-growing fanbase.
The second track, 'Lost in Paris', has Tom Misch's soft vocals and hip hop artist GoldLink also on the mic, the horns make this jazzy tune quite sexy. Followed by the upbeat 'South of the River', it's strings build into a dance-fueled track that harks back to those classic disco arrangements. By Incorporating his electronic sound Misch keeps the track exciting, along with some creative sampling.
'Movie' is introduced by Tom Misch's sister Polly, with a monologue that sounds like it's from a 60’s era film - this romantic soul track is one of the grooviest highlights on the album. There's some retrospective sampling on the dreamy instrumental track 'Tick Tock, with an introduction featuring the Apollo 11 mission - seemingly a reference to his musical progression since previous EP 5 Day Mischon.
There are collaborations across Geography that highlight Tom Misch's increasing success and recognition, with 90s hip hop legends De La Soul bringing their playful style on 'It Runs Through Me'. There are also guest appearances from Poppy Ajudha on 'Disco Yes', another album highlight, and Loyle Carner on 'Water Baby'.
Carner is one of Misch's friends and most frequent collaborators, the pair have not disappointed with, yet another, big number in 'Water Baby'. There is real potential for a collaborative EP/album from the duo, which would definitely be encouraged by the fans. Each time they collaborate they leave you wanting more of their jazzy hip hop creations, imagine the potential of that combined creativity, all in one EP...
Geography also features an acoustic cover of 'Isn't She Lovely', this is a favourite of mine on the album, which is of course because Stevie Wonder is king, and a personal homage to one of his influences. Not that Misch needs to do cover songs to show his emotions, he has enough experience to write about relationship struggles (particularly while writing the album) on tracks like 'You're On My Mind', which is why his songs have so much soul - Misch can merge music and lyrics that connect with people's emotions (just re-listen to 'Movie' and tell me I'm wrong).
Every song and creative element for this record is a worthy part of the story and visual theme, it feels meticulously planned out - from Carol Misch's album artwork (yeah, his mum did that, who else has a mum that cool?) to the string arrangements or horns that evoke funk or disco, and to Tom Misch's use of cinematic sampling. When Misch brings in the funky disco sample from Pazazz's 'So Hard To Find' he immediately puts his own twist on it, delivering that fantastic Misch sound.
Heavier hip hop beats with gentle vocals, funky guitar riffs, and jazzy keys, combine to create Misch's staple cosmic soul sound. This debut is a subtly psychedelic story playing itself like a film, the serious moments flow into the playful parts quite organically and Misch maintains his vision (but varies his approach) throughout the album. This is a strong debut for Tom Misch and, especially if Geography is just the start of things to come, the man will go very far indeed...