Tom Monoto has released not one, but two EP’s within a close proximity, meaning double the music for his fans. What Next seems to have a split personality of sorts. While still having a retro sound with a bit of that 8-bit/video game sensibility, there’s a bit more happening in tracks like the melodramatic “Naked Truth” and “Out Of Sight”. “Naked Truth” reminds me of watching adult movies on Cinemax After Hours, while “Out Of Sight” could have easily been the end of the NES game Goonies II where memories of me saving the mermaid made me almost tear up at a young age, but we don’t want to get into that right now. What I like about “Out Of Sight” is that it sounds like there’s a bit of tape hiss going on, but am not sure if that’s just white noise (or something similar). I also like how some of the keyboards pan from left to right and back again continuously, makes it a bit psychedelic without sounding as if it came from 1967.
Spacetoy leans more on the Kraftwerk side of Monoto’s craft, where every sound has a meaning, and every meaning may have another meeting. That’s not to say What Next or his other works lack meaning, but it just sounds distinctively different, at least to my ears. It’s less video game-y and more comprehensive, a slight shift in depth and how things are put together. “Atomic Disco” and “Suborbital” may sound more like tributes to the Kraftwerk kling klang than anything, and when the EP closes with “Bon Voyage”, it’s done in a way as if to say “thank you for listening, I am off to a new land to explore more music, please meet me there.”
The sounds on both EP’s are cool, calm, and collected, it’s just the right serving size that will keep listeners fed until the next round/sound.