Tom Wu - All You Want

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Tom Wu shows should take place in basements – exclusively. Basement clubs, that you need to descend unto, like a submergence into the abysmal depths of our minds. There where there is no light, like a dive into the bleakest corners of our thoughts. Basement clubs with no light, except that of a stroboscope, which reveal images of people thwarted in ecstasy, all chopped up into snapshots. It is exactly this imagery that sums up the new record by Munich-based drummer and singer Tom Wu: A trip into the unconscious, like the blackest of black nights on (slightly too) hard drugs.

Following his 2014 self-titled debut album, Tom Wu now sounds even more menacing, speedy and determined. He morphs his synths to roaring fighter jets („Johnny Doe“), beats the drums across old school Kung-fu movies' combat scenes („Wintermute“), at times his vocals are more shouting than singing („Cocaine Champagne“).

All this simultaneously – Tom Wu sings, plays the drums and synthesizers all at once. It is never a circus act, more rather just because he can. And because he has got an unerring vision of his music: Energetic drumming, weighty synth-bass, psychedelic synth-pads, a trumpet riff here, a flute melody there, beyond all that the urgent, wailing, desperate vocals of Tom Wu. All this steeped in a distinctive New Wave coolness that – unlike many other contemporary bands – it is not just a cool trick, no sheer reenactment, no pastiche, but thoroughly authentic and mandatory content-wise. That is because Tom Wu has something to say, namely about things that exceedingly few dare to speak about honestly: Repressed fears, obsessions, desires, sex, hedonism and nighttime darkness.

As is the case with „Cocaine Champagne“ where one thing becomes evident from the very beginning: We are NOT at a safe detox-party, nor at a club night that spins repeatedly like a broken record. Here, the night still has chasms, any moment euphoria could shift to paranoia – at full tilt. A charmingly ghastly funfair tune „Please Baby, Smile“ leads us straight into the mental world of a psychopathic horror clown: I want to see you happy – for a while. In the title song „All You Want (Is Just a Little Something)“, one person's sexual desire becomes the other's sexual weight of expectation. On video we find peak-power porn scenes projected onto the naked body of (not only) Tom Wu.

This music does not really seem to suit fancy-shmancy-Munich (although, there of all places, you will find plenty of abysses for sure…). In actual fact, this fits all the more perfectly with them wildest and most beautiful blossoms produced by this city's underground. An underground that Tom Wu has had many an instrumental impact on as a drummer, including Kamerakino, Das Weiße Pferd, Parasyte Woman or the Honky Tonk Movement. An underground that happily belched out such splendid acts such as Pollyester, Friends of Gas or Leroy.

Like with all good music, the music on „All You Want“ targets suggestive darts in overly-diverse directions: From H.P.Lovecraft's short story „The Music of Erich Zann“, to Chuck Berry's classic „Memphis, Tennessee“, William Gibson's novel „Neuromancer“, and references to the Greek youngling Ganymede, icon of beauty and homoerotism, with Tom Wu as an incarnation thereof, depicted on the album cover, brilliantly orchestrated by artist Anna McCarthy.

Accompanying Tom Wu (drums, vocals, production), we can hear The Notwist's Micha Acher (trumpet on „All You Want“), Dizzy Errol (vocals & guitar on "Memphis, Tennessee") and ex-Franz Ferdinand member Nick McCarthy (guitar on "Cocaine Champagne").

"All You Want" was mixed at London's Sausage Studios by Sebastian "Seb-I" Kellig, who previously also had his hands on "La BrassBanda" and together with Nick McCarthy, who has concocted productions such as "Das Lunsentrio" or "Manuela".

Tom Wu's album "All You Want" is released on May 25th 2018 via Munich's ECHOKAMMER label and Vienna's label CUT SURFACE.

– Hardy Funk