Relentless, crushing urban environments often breed the desire for the most pastoral of escapes. Those moments of anxiety we all experience could, through a different lens, become calming, almost trance-inducing.
but why hide? as presented is truly deep composition, as jarring and immediately present as it is ambient – omnipresent, yet tucked away. Though laced with samples, quotes & cell phone captured recordings, it’s not quite collage – more a distilled drone, each sound numbed through an unsympathetic mono cassette process, where harmonic content seems to vanish out of thin air, the remains stretching to fill the cracks. You can hear the trail-streaked signs of many a late night trip, begging the question – what here is imagined? What is real, intentionally placed, what is accidental? Is this a personal reckoning, a protest, an innocent experiment?
The album is equal parts pure distilled joy and fear, reminiscent of the mid-century tape experimentation of Babbitt & Varèse as well as contemporaries such as Actress & William Basinski. The cinematic, 9-minute opening of “the brarv” sets the scene, highlighted by the modern synth ballads “courtmis” & “slvmmm”, coming to a close with the inspiring coda of “i surfd”, its own Chariots of Fire moment. That being said, aldenwels does not leave us without a fair balance of rhythm, humor, & confident experimentation. “dustymilla” achieves a pounding smash in an industrial, almost tribal setting; “brogm” applies this concept to the hip-hop template. Tense & baroque, “kast” & “koficondu” feel completely at home within their own harmonic sandboxes.
Previously, aldenwels released music as Quam, including 2011’s “On My Mind” for our Companion I compilation. This is clearly not the same project, but we can see distant echoes of the soundsystem culture & UK-inspired sounds that defined his previous work – an example of how processes can change, and how acutely the outcomes change as a result.