Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Important New Music: Doug Wieselman’s “WA-Zoh”


The phrase “for the birds” is usually utilized dismissively. However in case you mentioned it to Doug Wieselman’s face, he may inform you that he’s, the truth is, simply that. At residence and on the highway, he likes to document their songs. And since Wieselman is a session man, theater musician, soundtrack composer and longtime sideman for the likes of Lou Reed, Iron & Wine, Laurie Anderson, Cibo Matto, the Lounge Lizards and Anohni, he has gotten round through the years. 

When working for others, the multi-instrumentalist (clarinet, flutes, saxophones, banjo, guitar, piano, electronics) is adept at giving people what they want. However when he composes for himself, Wieselman tunes into the influences of the pure world. Beforehand, he’s composed music influenced by the rhythms of water. For WA-Zoh, Wieselman discovered inspiration in his assortment of avian area recordings. Every of its eight tracks is called after a location, and the music for every is derived from birds he recorded there. Both by transcribing and recomposing or by sampling and manipulating them, Wieselman developed music from their songs. 

It’s a testomony to Wieselman’s creativeness that his compositions typically evoke thoughts’s-eye footage fairly at odds with the areas from which they have been derived. The dense chatter and background surges of “Brooklyn 1,” for instance, call to mind some situation performed out on the banks of a tropical river. The buildup of quick loops on “Luxembourg 1” evoke one thing {that a} younger Terry Riley may’ve long-established if he might’ve satisfied doves to sing for him as a substitute of getting to play his personal saxophone right into a tape recorder. And with its chopped-up coos, subliminal woodwinds and scattered echoes, “Fourviere” feels like a dub-wise remix of Luc Ferrari.

Whereas every monitor on WA-Zoh has a definite vibe, they converge to recommend a crepuscular rift within the time-space continuum that’ll flip a little bit of twilight fowl watching within the native park right into a wondrous stroll via one other dimension.

—Invoice Meyer

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