Tom ‘Konx-om-Pax’ Scholefield’s Caramel is quite a different record from the dark, mould-pocked ambience of his debut ‘Regional Surrealism’. Although it’s primarily a beatless album, it’s one with a big smile on its face.
Scholefield started making ‘Caramel’ after his last record in 2012, “My surroundings have a direct influence on the mood of what I make. I made Regional Surrealism when I was living in a big empty flat on my own in Glasgow town centre surrounded by concrete and junkies. Moving next to the park, closer to friends and getting to tour the world had a positive effect on the feel of the tracks.” ‘Caramel’ has a lightness and energy, an unrepentant joyful cheesiness even - like the rave piano and spiralling arpeggios of ‘Cosmic Trigger’ or the big beatless build up of the title track. “A lot of the tracks are very simple, that’s quite an important theme.” He adds “I remember the Human League talk about how you can play their songs using only a couple of fingers on the synth, or Boards Of Canada saying its important to be able to hum their melodies really easily.”
There’s also a strong element of rave memory in this ambience. It’s influenced in some ways by touring the world with Lone doing visuals and DJing, but also from simply listening to old rave tapes and taking in the warmth and energy. As he says “Some of the tracks are like photocopies of photocopies of rave tracks, where the drums have dissolved and its just the melodies that have survived.” You can hear this distinctly on ‘Perc Rave’. Other tracks are more or less drones that build into melodies, like ‘Beatrice’s Visit’, as he says “I’m always trying to find the most ecstatic and basic loop and just let it run and do its thing. I heard a funny story about Basic Channel popping out to get a kebab and letting their machines run while they were out.” Other tracks approach the pastoral melodies of prime nineties IDM such as ‘At The Lake’ and ‘Rainbow Bounce’ which almost seem like a homage to Planet Mu’s Mike Paradinas at his most beatific. Dive in.