[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Conversations overheard through a paper thin wall, the sensation of interactions felt but not seen. In Tonikom’s world, there are no boundaries between what is discernible and what isn’t. Her new album is akin to going from visible light to infrared; there is a realm you and I cannot ever hope to inhabit or survive in but thanks to ‘Seeking the Lost Mind’ we get to visit for a bit. These reflections of tone and time are quite literally going to overtake whatever else you’re listening to and render it irrelevant. Going from what she’d done before to this is a gigantic leap into the unknown, it’s the closest Maloney has yet gotten to perfecting her cinema for the mind.
Drink this in slowly, coming at her latest is a delicate process. As much as the compositions she’s wrought are beautiful in their intricate design they are also resilient and more iron-willed than even the angriest noise record. All outside influences have been minimized and the focus brought to bear fully on the melodic nether world she wants to show us where it is all too easy to just lose yourself… and drift forever. Wrapped in the warmth of oblivion it’s tempting to just let it go and vanish; Tonikom must know how that feels, she’s gone in search of what has been forgotten and left to the corrosive embrace of time’s passage. If you wanted to draw an analogy to a wine glass’ stem holding up the weight of it’s contents to this work, you would not be off the mark.
Even under the intense pressures and through tremendous forces arrayed in opposition, ‘Seeking the Lost Mind’ does not deviate from it’s objectives. I’ve thrown numerous albums up against it drawn from decades of audio investigation and this one holds up with one hand tied behind. Gorgeous yet fiery, dignified but direct.
Slowly those piano notes demarcate our journey into deeper and deeper reflection; Tonikom casts aside the bombast and groove her previous releases have explored for a quieter and far more graceful study drawing from the endless well of the subconscious. Magnificent strings swell across the subdued rhythms like capillaries gorged with oxygen directing their cargo throughout the body. One for the head and the heart, without a single word being uttered I might add. There’s no need to obfuscate.
I’d only hope that she gets a bit more notice for her efforts with this one, I don’t read as much about her as I’d like. Perhaps she prefers it this way, though. It’s a fine set of songs she graces us with, they can do all the talking my prose is incapable of. For you other fans reading this, as with everything she’s done this won’t grab you immediately. You’ll just have to keep playing it for the picture to fully develop, similar to a Butterfly being unable to take flight after emerging from the Chrysalis. Breathe it in long enough and your patience will be rewarded, Tonikom’s persistence and determination is unrivaled.
Tonikom – Seeking The Lost Mind
Hymen Records – ¥830
CD, Album, 2014