The Inside Space by Vanessa Tomlinson


Vanessa Tomlinson | The Inside Space
Room40 (CS/DL)

Lauded Australian percussionist Vanessa Tomlinson has often been a collaborator in various ensembles and with other artists, but this may only be her second solo record thanks to the good folk over at Room40. Her new tape The Inside Space runs just over a half hour and consists of two tracks of near equal length starting with Waiting For The Passing For Solo Bass Drum.

With soft rumble, like thick storm clouds drawing near, the sounds is described as “vertical music, one that starts on a single plane and descends and ascends from that point.” The way it was recorded truly emphasizes that dimensional feeling, as if it’s moving around and about the space you are in, especially if you are lucky enough to have surround sound system speakers. Though I do not the muffled continuous banging has more in common with clouds breaking up and making way for a jet plane flying in the distance, than it does with traditional drumming.

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Tomlinson’s delivery is robust, steady, almost tribal – and somewhat of a meditation. The Space Inside For Solo Tam Tam is seductive from the very beginning. It’s quietude brings a breathy ambient drone to life like seeing a giant internal organ beating on a heart monitor for the very first time. There’s something raw about its introduction, and the way it magically slips into something of a flying saucer in no time. This dichotomy is so slippery it’s an aural metamorphosis. She keeps the whole thing light and vibrant though the drone wall is fairly solid from end to end.

The methods the artist uses seems to scrape the edges of the instruments with drumsticks and such, though it doesn’t sound like that on the other side. It’s much more sinewy and elongated with an impressive atonal range that that vibrates in reverb. Over the course of the track the volume rises and falls which divides the dramatic impact, and keeps the listener engaged. This is an exploration of the softer side of a dark mysterious place, and in its essence trails behind and stays with you minutes after its conclusion.

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Of the 100 hand silk-screened copies made only sixteen were remaining at press time. This is most certainly one of those rarities that any cassette collector wants to have in their collection.


This review is part of Womens Work Week – a celebration of international women working in experimental and electronic music genres. If you enjoy this review you may also be interested in one of these additional releases that we are covering this week on


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