Zoom is Thessa Torsing's first full-length album as upsammy. Since 2017, she has developed a signature style in front of listeners eyes and ears: hers is a mesh of airy tones, tender melodies and highly technical drum patterns which wrap around the body of the song like colourful thread around a metallic spindle. Zoom, a refinement of her sound and an expansion of its ambition, is evidently electronic yet seems to float some way off beyond the glow of a screen. Zoom is upsammy's most comprehensive release to date, something she remarks is "a closer and truer look into my work right now"
Across the 11 tracks on Zoom, which has early support from Ben UFO, Lena Willikens, and Call Super, are moments that sharpen your focus then throw you off guard. On "It Drips," a chunky beat conjures the image of a stomping machine. Not so – within seconds a gentle frosting of notes begins to emerge atop the song before a lead melody yawns into view. This technique recurs on "In A Shade", where buzzy static around the margins of the track and a robust low-end are merely the sediment for the song to grow into another form altogether. Using only an Analog Rytm drum machine, Ableton, some modular kit and field recordings to achieve such a wide palette of sounds, the album reflects the excitement of its maker throughout the production process.
The title is an invocation for people to look a little closer at their surroundings and replenish their stock of wonder: "People can be consumed by really big or 'fantastical' things in life, but don't see the small things that have great emotional, artistic or even spiritual value." The packaging of the release contains reminders of the everyday – from associated imagery, a poster, text and videos, all compiled, photographed, and executed by upsammy, to a limited clear vinyl pressing as part of Dekmantel's physical release.
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Ever since her early contributions to Whities, Nous'klaer and Die Orakel in 2018 Upsammy (real name Thessa Torsing) has been regarded as one of the biggest promises of Dutch electronic music, carving out a sound that's quite unlike anything else out there at the moment. With 'Zoom' she's keeping that promise and more.
Opener 'Melt in My Heated Hands' has Upsammy sculpting an otherworldly dream forest echoing both early Black Dog productions and Arca's work on Björk's 2017 masterpiece 'Utopia' before moving firmly into nineties braindance territory with 'Growing Out of the Plastic Box' and the expertly fragmented polyrhythmic 'It Drips', that sounds like early Squarepusher abducted by friendly aliens.
Side B of this well-balanced double album ventures even deeper into the brightly coloured soundscapes of nineties UK IDM (think of an updated DIY version of Bola and Black Dog’s side project Plaid, with darker traces of Autechre thrown in for good measure), but somehow Torsing always manages to sound like herself. She does get all Aphexy on 'Overflowering' (check out the similarities with 'Fingerbib', one of the key tracks featured on the classic 'Richard D. James' album), but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
The three closing tracks on 'Zoom' seem to hint at future directions for Upsammy, veering towards a faster and more bass-heavy sound that sits somewhere in between the hectic stumble sounds of modern-day Squarepusher and the advanced sound design of Four Tet and Floating Points' most recent albums, all underlined with a clearly written Upsammy signature, sounding more handcrafted than your average.
‘Zoom’ is a double dose of picture perfect headphone isolation music and one of best albums we've heard this year so far."
(by Rogier Oostlander)