Ever had that experience when a small innovative person has dismantled the Lego Millennium Falcon? Then, when you try to re-assemble it, it doesn’t look anything like the vehicle that took Luke and Leah to the Death Star, instead it’s a shiny new space hopper that’s unique to your own warped imagination. 

Welcome Tommy Perman – designer, sound artist, arranger, insomniac – a man with a love of dismantling things and repurposing them accordingly.  

A long-time artistic collaborator with Rob St John of MOJO-approved Modern Studieswhen Tommy heard the songs on their ‘Welcome Strangers’ album, although he loved them, he just couldn’t resist a bit of manipulation, re-interpretation, dissection, elongation and minimisation. He’s that kind of guy. 

 Tommy is a talent – check out his site – it’s full of beautifully designed things, hand-tooled, hand-crafted, rare-as-can-be must-haves that make Record Store Day seem like old school bric-a-brac. He was part of creative conglomerate FOUND, he’s done time in Random Audio Therapy Unit, not to mention his BAFTA-award winning sound sculpture Cybraphon. He likes an art project. 

 A set of beautiful modern electronic compositions, Tommy and Modern Studies have made ‘Welcome Strangers’ sound like Brian Eno, John Carpenter and Tangerine Dream’s grandchildren were hanging out with Aphex Twin’s twin. ‘Emergent Slow Arcs’ is something else.  

Once completed, it sat in isolation to mature. A Frankenstein moment? A monster of ambient ardour. 

 “Would the band like it?” he worried. “Would they hate it and demand he destroy the digital files and never open his laptop again?” 

 Of course, the tale has a happy ending. ‘Emergent Slow Arcs’ is like nothing else in the Modern Studies canon. Tommy’s laptop remains open, his secretive dismantling in the wee small hours was celebrated; it’s an electronic homage, a mystical re-telling that sounds so askew from the sum of its parts it has a life all of its own, traversing an arc previously unchartered. 

Read more about the album:

“This album was made in secret, without permission. I began working on it in December 2017, shortly after Rob from Modern Studies shared the mastered tracks from their second LP Welcome Strangers. I quickly fell in love with their record and listened to it repeatedly, often becoming lost in its rich layers of sound. I’m not entirely sure why but I felt a strong compulsion to respond to their music with my own interpretation.”
Tommy Perman