Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Thom Smith creates unique electronic music

Published: November 1, 2013
Section: Arts, Etc.

Though I am a fan of electronic music, I often find myself very frustrated with how much of it sounds the same. I honestly cannot tell the difference between all the dudes in wifebeaters who play dubstep on MTV or the foreign guys in masks that just want to rip off Daft Punk. As a result, I have taken to exploring the internet in search of quality techno and electronic dance music (EDM), and while I am not always successful, some of my discoveries and introductions have provided me with new favorite artists.

With his new EP “Back to Outland,” independent composer Thom Smith (also known as beatmaker Opin) has quickly integrated himself into that list. While I am not very familiar with his music, the songs I heard on his site ( really stuck with me. There’s a creativity to the layers upon layers of funky sounds in each song that isn’t trying to make quick cash off of clubs, but really expresses a unique musical vision.

“Back to Outland,” a more experimental and ambient piece than Smith’s previous work as Opin, does exactly that. Opening with the one-two punch “Shadows of the Past” and “High Pressure,” the tone is immediately set as a real experience with heavy undertones and psychedelic sounds. “Forest Lullaby” continues this but adds a slow, natural drumbeat to great atmospheric effect. “Living in the Wild” reminds me of the Australian outback with its animalistic roars and didgeridoo-like bass notes.

“Sharp Edges,” is an overpowering blast of electronica that made me feel like I was in Videodrome or Cube, in a very good way. “Elemental Focus” and “End of Time” are both crazy and unnerving in the best sense, and both remind me of Flying Lotus with a Pink Floyd twist. Overall, “Back to Outland” is a really cool and really good piece of work, and one that feels electric in a way that no other electronic artist has given me. It’s out on Smith’s bandcamp on Oct. 11, and if you don’t pick it up, you’ll be missing out on great work by a very talented upcoming artist.