With such a rich and diverse musical landscape at our fingertips, it is often the nonlinear artists that truly stand out. The ones that, far from sticking to rigid formulae, offer and showcase encompassing palettes; often shared with audiences and showing they aren’t limited to one style or sound. Truly a worldwide venture, White Moth Black Butterfly is one such entity that offers an alternate creative outlet to a contingent across all four corners of the globe. Consisting of Dan Tompkins of TesseracT, Keshav Dhar of India’s Skyharbor; plus Randy Slaugh and Jordan Turner; WMBB was born from a love for less rock-based but still progressive and experimental music, but always felt somewhat sidelined if not creatively immersive. On the evidence of new album Atone (Kscope) and their joining with Kscope, it now feels like this is an entirely serious entity.
Far less metallic than their main bands (even more so than the most recent TesseracT efforts), Atone offers a much more mellow tone, slower pacing and a range from slow, contemporary pop elements, ambient and near shoegaze to even subtle, Massive Attack like experimental electronic and noise. Lyrically it focuses on polarising aspects of beauty, tranquillity and positivity with loss and life’s bleakness; often proving much darker than gathered on first listen. The vocal performances of both Tompkins and Turner are the show stealers here; with Tompkins seeming to improve further with every release whilst Turner offers a complimentary and equally impressive display as they either merge well with harmonies or by offering different expressions solo.
WMBB may have been the product of necessary alternate creative outpourings and may not truly feel like a main project in comparison to the likes of Skyharbor and TesseracT, but if the signing to Kscope doesn’t prove the project’s worth then Atone alone shows fully their vision and creative wealth. At times heartbreaking, others warming, but entirely soothing, captivating and immersive; Atone is a prime example of stripping away in some senses but still proving textured and thought provoking whilst maintaining full beauty.