After two albums of scrappy, chopped-up, electronically tinged beat rock and a cryptically clean and precise aesthetic, the self-taught recording artist’s idiosyncrasies are starting to become identifiable as uniquely “Tom Vek”.
Born and based in London, as a teenager he spent years recording grunge in his parents garage and then went on to experiment with lo-fi electronica during his time at Art School in his early 20s. Vek’s debut “We Have Sound” was released in 2005 as the typical document of growing up experimenting with music.
While “We Have Sound” took on a loving cult following, noted as an early example of a healthy period of UK crossover rock music, Tom decided to shy away and make another album. An album he’ll freely admit documents this period of absence, a period when he became an almost-myth, a performance on the O.C. in 2006 a final sighting.
In 2011 after a five-year disconnection, mischievously “Leisure Seizure”, the follow up to his debut album, came out of nowhere. Musical styles have changed, new sounds are in vogue but unmistakably it sounds like new music from the same artist. It is a distinct development; a more controlled, consistent and elaborated version of the unique, raw sound of “We Have Sound” that intrigued and captivated its audience. “Leisure Seizure” typifies Vek’s self-coined beat rock. Music that is engaging with an emphasis on groove and cryptic angular statements. A sound that doesn’t slot into or borrow from current nor nostalgic musical movements.
Singles from the album reveal more identity as videos and remixes unpack the nuances of prominent tracks. In the video for “A Chore”, acknowledging the artist’s disappearance, Vek takes the role of presenter of T.V. Island, a self-imagined American cable show that appears to be an uneasy mix of Glenn O’Brien’s cult TV Party and Desert Island Discs. The “Aroused” video presents the viewer with a question regarding the glamorisation of smoking, no agendas are aired, no messages are shouted, just matching the abstraction of the song’s lyrics and a fundamental intention that “whatever you understand it as, that’s what it is”.
Production skills learnt crafting “Leisure Seizure” to his obsessively controlling values have been applied to remixes, Tom’s remixes include those for Bombay Bicycle Club, Man Like Me and Alt-J.
In 2012 Tom released a brand new track “You’ll Stay” which offers a glimpse to what will ultimately be best described as “The next Tom Vek album”.