I’m in a side project kind of mood, so here’s another one for you guys. This next review comes from a side project I just recently found out about through Twitter. Originally from the band TesseracT, singer Daniel Tompkins has been doing work on the side for his project White Moth Black Butterfly. Residing in Nottinghamshire, UK, White Moth Black Butterfly is a collaboration between Daniel Tompkins and multi-instrumentalist Keshav Dhar, along with several contributing musicians. With sounds ranging from electronic, to classical, to soundscape, and even to pop, their only album “One Thousand Wings” is different than most albums featured on this blog.
Unlike his main band TesseracT, Tompkins primarily focuses on the use of piano and electronic equipment to provide the rhythm and drive this album. Offering only a few moments of acoustic guitar, “One Thousand Wings” is a much more simplistic than most progressive rock albums, yet more artistic and mood-provoking (Honestly, it’s a stretch for me to classify this as “progressive”). The arrangement of piano with soundscape elements brings more attention to the vocal quality provided by Tompkins and the other singers. The album is actually very relaxing because of the way the album is organized, from the gentle taps of the piano, to the smooth beats generated by sound manipulation, to the great range each singer has. A perfect example is my personal favorite song “Rose,” a song in which the piano arrangement reminds me of a movie’s musical score. Tompkins begins slow and soft, but gradually builds up to reach soaring high notes by the end of the song. The final moments are my favorite, as Tompkins comes in with a plea before God:
“Oh creator of this world / Show compassion, I give control / Raise me up and now I’m gone” (source)
There are several moments like this in this album, meaning moments of skin-tingling, goosebump-raising, hauntingly-beautiful lyrics. If you go through the lyrics of this album, you will find that most of them might be considered depressing to some extent, but passionate and affectionate towards those meant for in each song. There are other moments which are primarily beat-driven, such as the songs “Omen,” “Ties of Grace,” and “The World Won’t Sleep” that tie perfectly with the vocals and piano. The electronic sound of this album is refreshing to those who have taken my advice on my reviews and listened to my recommendations. Sometimes a change of pace is needed, and a general 4/4 beat is welcoming to a tired mind. This is a perfect album to cleanse the palate: It is simple, yet beautiful. It is mainly electronic, yet very high-quality. It contains very little guitar, yet it goes almost unnoticed. Keshav Dhar is the genius behind this album’s instrumentation, providing great moments of electronic work. I tip my hat to him for the amazing arrangement.
The best part of this album is obviously Daniel Tompkins’ vocals. Although he doesn’t appear in TesseracT’s newest album “Altered State,” his vocal style is very similar to Ashe O’Hara’s, albeit more passionate in “One Thousand Wings.” I can feel every emotion he lays out on this album: the tension, the suffering, the love and hate. His range is incredible, fitting perfectly with the atmospheric sound. Even the simple “oh’s” and “ooo’s” in songs like “Equinox” and “Ties of Grace” are beautiful layered in front of the chord progressions. This album is a must listen simply because of his voice.
I recommend “One Thousand Wings” for those who are music completionists like me, looking to find discographies of single artists. Besides that, I would recommend this album for those who enjoyed my last review, or bands like Crosses, Skyharbor, and Glass Ocean. Please support this album by listening to them on their Bandcamp page. If you’re a singer and envy Tompkins’ vocals, you’re in luck! Tompkins provides vocal instruction to those who sign up when he comes to town with his band. Check out his page to get more information.