Being someone who finds words, wordplay and interesting turns of phrase…well interesting, I feel that there are few greater pleasures than looking at the list of song titles on an album and being greeted by strange names and intriguing subject matter. What after all is a Nested Infinity? Who is Mr. Bikinis? What is so exciting about The History of Fishes that you would be driven to write a song, or at least a tune about it?
But that is the world that Brian Wenckebach welcomes us into, a world where such strange titles have already conjured scenes and scenarios in your head, where you have created a unique other-land, a parallel world for his songs to exist in before even encountering the music.
And when you do you find his instrumental compositions to be equally as strange and brilliantly singular as the titles he gives them. These minimalist shards of music shimmer and shine like broken glass catching the sun, there is a feeling of space sometimes bordering on desolation but also optimism and quiet joy. The music is fantastical without pandering to the cliches of fantasy, it paints new landscapes but reminds me more of the strange acid-laced, left field artistic juxtapositions which adorned the covers of Michael Moorcock’s mercurial tales back in the day rather than anything more predictable or recent.
At its most drifting and transient, on tracks such as Eligible Receiver, sonic comparisons to Pink Floyd interludes abound, fragile, distant and largely unresolved; at the other end, bearing in mind dynamically the other end isn’t that far removed, The Great Dying or No More Parties feel slightly more structured though it is all relative and the album never moves far from territory which would keep the likes of Philip Glass on side.
Essentially it is an album of atmospheres rather than songs, of mood as opposed to music in the conventional sense, and even when there seems to be more space than creativity you are surrounded by sounds which hypnotise, intrigue, soothe and silence.