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February 2020
Review

Tom Misch - Geography

The 13 tracks on 'Geography' bristle with soulful energy.
Tom Misch - Geography
Published: 7:13 pm, April 06, 2018
The thirteen tracks on 'Geography' bristle with soulful energy.

Label: Beyong The Groove
Released: 6th April 2018
Rating: ★★★★

Every now and then an artist comes along and creates something which feels genuinely innovative. Tom Misch fits that bill and then some. The 22-year-old has received his fair share of hype since he first emerged from South London, but it’s the way in which he fuses genres with such ease, creating something altogether new and exciting enough to justify that hype.

The 13 tracks on 'Geography', Misch’s debut LP, bristle with soulful energy and bare the fruits of a craft he’s been honing ever since he began releasing music to SoundCloud at the age of 16.

He sets out his modus operandi on opener 'Before Paris', as the voice of a musician explains why they perform: “You have to love this thing, man! It’s your morning coffee; it’s your food.” You get the sense Misch feels the same way. And then that familiar, faultless jazz guitar noodling takes over.

His frighteningly-good fretwork is a constant throughout 'Geography', but Misch uses enough restraint to ensure it never feels overindulgent. Instead, the guitar adds another voice to Misch’s soft croon. It’s used to best effect on tracks like 'It Runs Through Me' (featuring De La Soul, no less) and 'South Of The River' – the songwriter’s ode to a part of the capital which has birthed many other musical talents in recent years, including fellow collaborator Loyle Carner.

Misch’s ability to blend jazz, funk, soul and just about anything else he fancies is a running theme across the 13 tracks, including on the Chic-inspired 'Disco Yes', where he combines an irresistible bassline and a chucking guitar Nile Rodgers would be proud of. There are subtler moments on the album too, with the gentle sway of 'Movie' and 'You’re On My Mind'.

Contemporary jazz-inspired guitar music has seen something of a resurgence in recent years, but there’s few who can touch Misch on this showing. Alex Thorp

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