TOM TRAGO | You Deserve Better


you deserve better


A1. From Above
A2. Young Janet
B1. You Deserve Better
B2. Passenger Seat


Earlier this year, Tom Trago established the DIY label Jong Nederlands as a vehicle for the improvised, straight-to-tape tracks he records every day at his home studio in Bergen, a sleepy town on the Netherlands' North West coast. His intention was to surprise and inspire in equal measure, delivering emotive musical material crafted with a small selection of electronic instruments, drumcomputers and effects units.

It's down to this ethos that no two label releases follow the same direction – as listeners will discover when they tune in to this speedy sequel to JNL001, which hit stores early in the year. Opener "From Above" is poignant and melancholic, with bittersweet synth-strings, spacey motifs and bubbly lead lines riding a lo-fi drum machine groove, while the track that follows, "Young Janet", offers warmth in morning-fresh musical sunshine via rich Rhodes motifs, chunky drums and sparkling synthesizer riffs.

Darkness, and late-night intensity is provided by title-track "You Deserve Better", a mind-mangling, acid-fired excursion where trippy, razor-sharp TB-303 lines rise above tough but dusty drums and a suitably weighty bassline. Trago's basement-bothering intent can also be heard loud and clear on the EP's final excursion, "Passenger Seat". Here he readies an imaginary starship for take-off, reaching for flighty, Italo-disco style lead lines, increasingly forthright motifs and the kind of crunchy electronic drums that have long been a feature of futuristic and far-sighted machine music.