PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Throwing Snow: Mosaic

The instrumental tracks are largely stellar. The ones with vocal performances or guest stars, not so much.

Throwing Snow


Label: Houndstooth
US Release Date: 2014-06-03
UK Release Date: 2014-06-02

I love Wang Chung's album Mosaic, and have since I was a child. From “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” to “Hypnotize Me” to “Let’s Go!”, this is a blockbuster record wall to wall with hits. Michael McDonald sings on it too -- what more could you want? Mosaic is just one of those records that ...

Wait a minute, I’m getting an e-mail from my editor here.

What’s that? We’re not reviewing Wang Chung’s 1986 masterwork, Mosaic? This is a different release?


Silly me.

Okay, then. The object up for review here is actually, as it turns out, the debut album for UK producer Ross Tones, who records under the moniker Throwing Snow. There is a commonality with Wang Chung, though, if not in album title, then in the fact that there’s a song here called “Hypnotise” (though not “Hypnotize Me”). And Throwing Snow isn’t even the only act releasing a Mosaic-themed album in June either. The Athens, Georgia, band Circulatory System is releasing Mosaics Within Mosaics later on in the month. So what can I say about the Throwing Snow record? Well, I have a love-hate relationship with it. The first couple of times I listened to the album, it didn’t really grab me, but by the third and fourth run-throughs, I was thinking that it’s pretty OK. But it does suffer from Special Guest Star Syndrome: seven out of the 11 tracks here feature guest vocalists (one called Kid A, natch) or groups working to hone Tones’ sound. And it is pretty collage-based, which would be apt for an album called Mosaic, but this lack of focus might be more of a distraction than anything else. A few of the tracks feature pretty minimal beats and sound fairly deep house, so if you’re into that sort of thing you’ve probably got a few records in your collection that do similar things in a little more fleshed out and, well, better way.

However, there are some treats on Mosaic. The first song, “Avarice”, is actually pretty nice when it isn’t rattling your speakers with garish keyboard sounds. With a vaguely Middle Eastern loop to open the track, it dovetails into swooping strings that are quite nice. “Pathfinder” is quite groovy as well, with a shuffling guitar line that feels remotely folk-like. This is a cut made for the dancefloor, and you can’t quite help but shaking your money-maker to it. It eventually dives into a futuristic vibe, which I have to admit is interesting. “Lingus” has the neat, experimental effect that makes it sound like the percussion was performed on a series of cans. It’s achingly beautiful. Closer “Saltare (Parts 1 & 2)” is quite house-y in the most classic sense, and it’s actually not too shabby of a song, even if it does reach past the seven-minute mark.

Noticing a trend here? These are all songs that don’t feature a guest star or much in the way of vocals, and I tended to find those to be the better songs. Particularly, “All the Lights”, which features Russell Morgan, is quite annoying as it simply just repeats the title as its constant refrain and is likely the weakest track on the album, even though it does feature some interesting slice ‘n’ dice percussion. In fact, there are no verses, just the dumb refrain “all the lights” repeated like a mantra. So what lights, I ask? I’m a little perplexed. “Draugr”, which features an outfit named KNOX, doesn’t really do anything for me, even if it does seem a little Blade Runner-obsessed. Meanwhile, “The Tempest”, which has Adda Kaleh and is tipped as the lead single from the LP, is a little too low key for its own good: it simply has her singing over a very bare bones beat. Next. The aforementioned “Hypnotise” reminds me a little of Enigma with its religious overtones. All it really needs is the Gregorian chanting to make it exactly like an Enigma rip-off.

By now, you’re probably getting the idea. The instrumental tracks are largely stellar, and the ones with vocal performances or guest stars, not so much. That makes Mosaic a rather haphazard and average at best listen. However, repeated listens do reveal some rewards, and this album isn’t a complete write-off, which is what I was initially planning on doing. There’s still enough stuff on this release to warrant a listen, even if it does seem a little all over the map stylistically. “Linguis” is worth the price of admission alone. So get this if you’re into experimental electronica with a smattering of house. For others, there are probably other, better albums best suited to your needs. Mosaic won’t make you forget that there are other albums with the same name, and it might not meet the same pop heights as a particular album I used to adore as a child, but it’s worthy of investigation and exploration for those who can’t get enough of this stuff. Even if it’s not Wang Chung. Not even close.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.


Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.


Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.


Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.