Album Review: Lonely Planet- Tornado Wallace

Words: David Class

Lewie Day, the artist better known as Tornado Wallace, takes you on a meditated voyage in his first full length album Lonely Planet released earlier this year. Wallace has offered a variety of sounds through his previous ten EP releases, from jazzy acid tracks to straight up disco tunes. The Melbourne based electronic artist has exported himself to Europe in recent years, frequently playing sets in Berlin.

As the title of Lonely Planet suggests, the album is an explorative journey that concerns itself with vivid atmospheres that seem to form naturally in one’s head. This is where Day does his best work, painting clear pictures and environments through the sound. There’s a strong thematic base of the traditional and the future here. Tribal drumming, maracas, pan flutes, even environmental sounds like birds chirping and bees humming are contorted with sci-fi infused electronica. Beeps, warps and ambient synth are melted to that of the exotica. To summarise it, picture a tropical rain forest preserved inside a space ship, all with a mid-eighties sensibility.

Don’t expect the kind of dance floor hits shown in Tornado Wallace’s previous repertoire though. Lonely Planet remains steadily down tempo and contemplative, reminiscent to the earlier works of Tangerine Dream or AIR. It’s an ambient collection of songs, where each track burns slowly and simmers.

Highlights include; Trance Encounters. A sleek, very much 80’s sounding track that could’ve easily featured in an episode of Miami Vice. Hi-hats tick along to waves of twangy guitars and echoed synth that build up to a beautiful breakdown of the glossy bassline. Take out your pair of ray bans for this one. Voices, stands as the best feature on the album. An almost 9 minute safari that progresses and evolves as it goes on. The exotic sounds consistent to the album open the track, with flutes and African drumming. And then as the song develops, it goes from the introspective, to the utterly funky. High pitched plucks from guitars and candid basslines melodies are picked up for collection and brought together. It’s a complex track that travels along, going from the introspective to the downright cool – but it always downright cool. Today, featuring fellow Melbourne DJ Sui Zhen is the only non-instrumental track on the album. A steady drum beat and synth lines assist Sui Zhen throughout the song as she nonchalantly gives vocals. It’s a good change of pace and a unique point on the record.

Overall, Lonely Planet is a short record that is all quality. Lewie Day guides you on an expedition through space and sound, and indicates greatness in future endeavours.