Posts Tagged ‘Tom Iansek’

After a break of over four years between album releases, Australian duo Big Scary announce fourth LP ‘Daisy’. Their most playful collection to date, the tracks are full of drama – a little bit spooky and a little bit silly. It’s ok to LOL when you listen (and do a little boogie), but equally there is a thoughtfulness to be discovered within the themes and arrangements. The pair of Joanna Syme and Tom Iansek reflect broadly on superficiality, naivety and fantasy, compared with the complexities of reality, and the ongoing exercise in thoughtful living. Dynamic relationships are explored, between lovers old and new; and with the voice in your head.

Since releasing their last album ‘Animal’ in 2016 the pair have dived into broader creative projects. Tom has released three albums across solo project #1 Dads and duo No Mono, and produced or engineered releases for Maple Glider, Tom Snowdon, The Paper Kites, Airling and Bec Sykes. Jo created a second label imprint Hotel Motel Records (the first being Pieater, run with Tom Iansek and manager Tom Fraser); releasing four LPs, eight EPs and many singles; and toured Australia and Canada with the likes of Quivers and Cool Sounds, as well as working the Pieater releases.


All songs written and performed by Big Scary, except for “Bursting At The Seams” where extra percussion was performed by Jim Rindfleish and live strings were performed by Emma Kelly

Releases April 30th, 2021

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The best songs exist as their own self-contained worlds, planets that seem out of orbit with everything else. “Finally” is one of these rare tracks, a slow-burning mood piece that evokes hazy, half-remembered dreams, snippets of memory, thoughts that pass by and disappear like clouds. Tom Snowdon’s voice is a singular, haunting instrument that holds focus as the instrumentation washes in like a slow-motion wave. Finally is the connective tissue that binds their two-part Islands project, and fittingly for its title, has been announced as the last song No Mono will release for a while.


Recorded at Pieater’s BellBird studio in Melbourne, the album came together over a three-year period, mostly in Melbourne, but pieces sketched all over. It was entirely written, recorded, produced and mixed by Tom Snowdon and Tom Iansek.

“Islands” brings the previously separated “Islands part 1” and “part 2” together in a whole state, and includes the previously unreleased track ‘Finally’, which helps close the “Islands” chapter.

“Islands” the culmination of years of songwriting and performance, and draws from broad influences including Snowdon’s upbringing in the remote desert town of Alice Springs and his relationship to central Australia. It also oozes Tom Iansek’s boundary-pushing production.

No Mono’s music explores and is inspired by the emotional and other-worldly. “Islands” is a record about transition through crisis and sanctuary.

The back half of “Islands”(originally released as “part 2”) serves to complement and expand on the haunting first half. The BPMs are increased, and the energy at times borders on frantic, but there’s also a swagger. Percussion is used to bewilder – at times frantic, scattered or glitchy. Snowdon’s vocals are less tender, as he battles to find connection and empathy. Yet despite the eerie energy, there is always an alien beauty to the whole, and ultimately a faith in keeping hope.

Deluxe Islands vinyl is now available – it includes all songs on parts 1 and 2 and bonus track ‘Finally’, which we released this week. Our “Islands” records were always meant to be two parts of a whole. They’re together here with some new art by Tom Iansek.

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No Mono – Finally (Islands LPs | 2019)

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Hunting. Lurking. Resting. Waking. Animal is a four-legged beast depicting “four stages of the animal” in evolution “from dark to light”. Not Art may have been an ironic title for Tom Iansek and Joanna Syme’s AMP-winning album of 2013, but the disclaimer is inconceivable this year.

The follow-up is an unwieldy monster, as any representation of human duality must be when rendered in episodes of electronic sound and splinters of opaque poetry. The Melbourne duo’s suggestion that any of the four sides are equally valid entry points only confuses the one fact you can take to the bank: Animal plays nicer as she goes along.

The first four songs are primal acts. From the visceral thwack and grunt of “Oxygen” to the carnality of “Savior Add Vice”, drums are high and synths dry, though the horny groove of “Organism” is a feelgood highlight of the sprawl.

Muscles and tones soften in the romantic deconstruction of “The Endless Story”, and by the time we reach the piano splashes and languid falsetto of “Breathe Underwater”, it’s like we’re in a different relationship entirely.

There’s still phase four, and a soulful denouement in the classical strings and piano of “Lamina”. If there’s a remaining glimmer of anxiety, it’s ’cause we know that Lurking and Hunting are only a random record-flip away.

Hunting – Oxygen, Organism, Double Darkness, Savior Add Vice
Lurking – Lone Bird, The Endless Story, Flutism, Up and Up and Up
Resting – Breathe Underwater, The Opposite of Us, Heaven on Earth
Waking – Over Matter, Lamina

The album has been quartered into separate bundles of tracks, which we are calling the 4 Stages of the Animal. These stages are “Hunting”, “Lurking”, “Resting” and “Waking”. Being a double vinyl each of these stages will have its own vinyl side. The vinyl will not be marked with a chronological order. This way each side will be its own self-contained unit and can be listened to as so if preferred. We intend this to emphasize a lack of a fixed starting point, as the album can start at whatever side of vinyl is placed down first. Additionally there will be a unique colour-scheme to guide the musical and thematic flow if desired.
The 12″ LP artwork and layout is designed to reflect the ideas behind the music. It may provoke an immediate reaction of disdain or even disgust. There is not meant to be a ‘right way up’ – it is designed to disorient as well as reinforce the idea of no fixed starting point, and thus a continuity.


All songs written and performed by Tom Iansek and Jo Syme.

Big Scary are a very impressive duo who are getting better with each release. This *should* be “big”.