Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ben von Wildenhaus - Great Melodies From Around (Riot Bear Recording Co., 2011)

Ben von Wildenhaus - Great Melodies From Around
Riot Bear Recording Co. 2011

Wildenhaus is a NYC based musician and Great Melodies From Around was his debut album originally released on cassette, but has since been out of print. Last year Riot Bear Recording Co. re-issued it on LP, CD, and download. This album features Wildenhaus on electric guitar, a 1960s sine-square wave generator, and vocals.

As Wildenhaus notes about the album, “Each side [of the tape or vinyl] descends from the purist audio form - the unaffected sine wave - to various states of decaying audio fidelity - old warbly cassette decks and walkmans, am radio transmission, etc. Each side then ascends back and concludes with the sine-waves again. This makes the vinyl and the tape an endless loop.” “Sine Wave (Falter Sky)” features softly round and melodic sine-wave chords which are really quite beautiful in their “pure” sonic essence. After this short melodic structure, the layers of sine-wave begin to rapidly oscillate in slight dissonance. The song transitions smoothly into “Cumberland Winter”, a down-tempo, guitar, piano, and drum set instrumental playing in a rather slow, swing-y ballad or waltz. Sporadic electronics join the mix in short oscillating bursts. Towards the end of the piece enters the aforementioned tape warble in a collage type format of old, hissing, slowed down piano and guitar recordings. It sounds as if the same song continues in its same form but through a collage of different recordings. It is a unique effect. As a result of this decaying aesthetic, I hardly notice the track change. The guitar instrumentals are generally down to mid tempo and have a kind of country western aesthetic. The juxtaposition of the instrumentals with the sine-wave generation gives the compositions a strange and quirky quality. This album considers quite nicely the significance of fidelity of a music recording, and that, regardless of whether the music is melodic or more “sound art” oriented, recording production certainly defines a part of what the music is in how it is documented.

LP/CD/DL for purchase:

No comments:

Post a Comment