Simon Reuben White will not be the first, nor the last, to come up with an album that is filled to the brim with playful electronics constructed with childish and na?ve melodies. The question is then if he can offer a surplus value to a template that counts big names like Aphex Twin, Black Dog and a good half of the roster of the Rephlex label as main precursors.
The answer is that sometimes his music comes almost obscenely close to the aforementioned and their followers, while the rest of the album just does not cut it. The main problem is that White?s songs are all so short (12 out of 15 songs are shorter or not much longer than a mere two minutes). He does not allow himself any occasion to do something with structure, tension or build-up, because most songs are already over before you have taken in the main idea, an idea that most of the times is all too flimsy to begin with.
At its best ?Tone Flakes? evokes the minimalism of Philip Glass or Steven Reich, but even then the comparison can be no more than one of acute embarrassment. When he takes a different direction, as with the primitive drum&bass of "Kinkle," he falls short again when compared with masters of that particular craft like Luke Vibert, Mike Paradinas or Aphex Twin. At its worst, as in "Fragettit," White sounds like a rip-off of the latter?s legendary ?Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2?. To elicit such comparisons is on a debut release is risky business and White does not for one moment live up to the expectations conjured up by these references.
The artist likens his music to snowflakes falling on your tongue. The problem is that, just like snowflakes tend to do, his music melts away in the blink of an eye, leaving only the tiniest of an impression. 4/10 -- Vincent Romain (29 August, 2007)