HOLY FUCK! We can’t believe it either. Can it be? Tonedeff’s long-awaited second LP Polymer IS FINALLY HERE!!! Written, produced and performed by the polymath himself, Polymer is a multi-part genre-shattering emotional epic three years in the making. No stone goes unturned as Tone puts his full range of versatility on display for the world, via his most devastatingly personal and revealing work to date. The album includes the exclusive 5-songs from the Phantom EP not available anywhere else. Now available digitally worldwide. CD/DVDs are available here. So let’s discuss shall we?
IT TAKES A POLYMATH
As the core piece of this massively ambitious multimedia project, (which includes an upcoming documentary, an art book and multiple videos), the musical scope presented here is IMAX-level massive. As Tonedeff’s first official studio album since 2005’s Archetype the artistic grown on display here is flat-out staggering. Song to song, Polymer treats genres like light suggestions and blends seemingly juxtaposed styles like shoegaze, boom-bap, electro, piano balladry with highly dense technical emceeing and the fragile ache of indie singer-songwriting. This thread is something he’s clearly been weaving through his work since his 1997 debut, The Monotone EP – but we’re just now seeing the incredible tapestry it has evolved into.
With his trademarked breathless flow and knack for life-distilled quotables filtered through impossibly intricate rhyme schemes, there’s nothing Tonedeff doesn’t do here. From lightning speed cross-examinations of time and anxiety, battle-hardened scene-observations, to goose-bump inducing slow-flow retrospectives – this is world class emceeing at the highest level and a rousing endorsement for Pantheon status. The sole feature here is Danish singer/songwriter Fjer, who delivers her own gut-punch moment to close out “More Like You, a song that reveals the echoing effects of early child abuse which still play a factor in the artist’s head.
IT ALL COMES TOGETHER
Thematically, Polymer is a veritable odyssey of pain, sex, self-sabotage, reflection and triumph as the album delves equally into the four portions of Tonedeff’s personality – each assigned to their own EPs, which were released prior to their assembly here. The meaty pieces of Glutton, Demon and Hunter are all stirred to great effect and then melted together by the fusing properties of Phantom, and the jumble of personalities suddenly become the perfect singular stew where each ingredient provides its own distinguishable kick to the greater dish. This is a portrait of a complete person used as platter for a four-course meal.
From the moment the album begins with “The Things You Don’t See Coming”, (which Tonedeff cites as a link to Archetype’s closing anthem Gathered”), and is suddenly crushed by the industral trudge of “And They Watched Him”, you realize immediately that – like life – none of this will be predictable. Other highlights include the stunning choiral-trap remix of “Sunrise (V2)” and the family novela of “Five Sisters”. But it’s the BEHEMOTH-SIZED entries of “Phantom” and the 10-minute shape-shifting struggle with self-sabotage on “Control” which steal the show here. We have three words for you: WALL. OF. SOUND.. Drawing inspiration from the towering soundscapes of My Bloody Valentine, Sigur Ros and M83, Tonedeff manages to bring arena-sized emotional noise rock to a “rap” record in a way you have to hear to believe. We’re in uncharted waters now, people.
These moments should be noted. If Archetype was a harbinger of the coming wave of singing rappers with emotional issues, Polymer is an alarm clock blaring at you after an all-night bender to warn you of an encroaching army of futurists with no-fucks to give. Make no mistake, that with these songs, Pandora’s box has been opened and it appears Tonedeff gnawed the latch open with his teeth when no one was looking. Whether the acknowledgement via cosigns or coverage ever occurs is immaterial, it’s those in the know that can validate it and testify it to power. It’s a unique piece of art – an artistic statement by an artist as unique as his skillset. No one else could’ve made this but him. With so much to take in, this one’s undoubtedly gonna be a slow-burner, but a rewarding listen for those willing to explore the many dark corners of this labyrinthine work. Who would ever expect that level of commitment from the casuals? We don’t. “And They Watched Him…”
But as for you? Yeah, don’t wait… listen to this modern masterpiece RIGHT NOW. And when you’re done…share it until people hate you. Then you’ll know you’ve done enough to spread the word.