Restless Mosaic Truly Takes It There on Made By Thawing Ice
It’s not easy to get a grasp on what exactly Restless Mosaic is doing on his forthcoming album, Made By Thawing Ice, which will be available to the masses on May 13th. The title to this opus certainly does little to help. The project is largely devoid of vocals—and those it has rarely venture into the realm of singing. Just consider a tune like “Sandbags on the Flood of My Insecurities”, for instance. What is that, like, a metaphor?
But what Mosaic has achieved on this project is creating a setting in which listeners can expect the unexpected. In that sense, he delivers royally. Sometimes, like on “Polliwog 1 & 678” he does so by wildly exceeding expectations. Despite the title, no one would’ve really thought the track was going to open with the sounds of crickets chirping in the great outdoors. Pair that with what appears to be the noise heard from construction sites and, if there is a motif to this album, the grating, harshness of metallic sounding keyboards.
But he flips the four-on-the-floor drum pattern, then out the blue drops warm chords of synthesized voices that completely transform the track into something highly accessible, danceable, and a number you can even put your head into. The arrangement is the key to this deliberate buildup which only appeared desultory, and actually works well.
All of this proves that there’s no telling what, or who, will turn up on these tunes. “A La Cara Amarilla”, of course, is a Spanish number in which a female vocalist spends much more time talking—seemingly mesmerizing the rest of the track with her accent—than singing, while occasionally hitting a high note or two. Plus, the producer (Brandon Isleib, who handles all the music on the oeuvre) inverts what sounds like the chords to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” during its opening moments, resulting not quite in a cacophony, but something not entirely dissimilar from it, either.
In terms of pure creativity, one’s got to give it up to Mosaic. Many of these numbers are bereft of drums, while he has the penchant for taking sound effects—screeches, flashes of light, and other such noises—and programming them like drums. “Insecurity” is characterized by this approach, and doesn’t suffer for it, either. Just imagine what a tune entitled “Alone For 10 Minutes” would sound like—then extend that vision for the 10-minute duration of this cut. Such boundless artistry helps define what the very term itself means—and what Mosaic unequivocally showcases.