Jan St. Werner – Glottal Wolpertinger

For their first release in a little while, at least in the drone vein of fellow giant emporiums like IMPREC, Thrill Jockey present Jan St. Werner’s “Fiepblatter” series. “Glottal Wolpertinger”, which translates to something like “wall of sound/frequencies” in German dialect, is a Ambient light expèrimental drone collage of functionally abridged exercises in hertz. With a solid play time of around 45 minutes, the album sits at decent length, yet manages to precisely explore the nature between active and passive sound spheres.

It can be a struggle relying on a solo instrument set up to excite audiences. Werner counters this killjoy assertion by deft editing techniques and painting oceans in just a few drops of residue. Starting each track with a brief explanation of the frequencies used, each track then walks adjacently well a trodden path in distilled modular continuum. High wires ebb towards the lowest parts of underwater falls in distortion, attack, sustain and decay. Reverb is employed, but this analogue was rarely harsh to begin with. The oscillations make for repeated listening. For me, I originally looped this Thrill Jockey album over eight hours straight. It definitely has a lulling quality as such, but also a semblance of great rapture.

Fundamentally affixed to the semblance of synthesis available from musical devices, although this naturally cannot be coffeehouse listening completely, there is much opulence and wonder about the overall sound palette, so fasten yourself to the laughing gas and maybe even strap yourself to the generator while you’re at it. Sparks may fly. A particularly finessed part of the record is its melting pot of technology textures and riveting, harmonic register. Playing without the desire for discord – dissonance, yes, but not the desire to mess with your head too much – caveats a worthy, successful attempt to emulate musique concrete pioneers like Daphne Oram and Eliane Radigue. And I don’t know about you, but that makes this interstellar listener very happy indeed.

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