WAHNFRIED: Drums'n'Balls (the Gancha Dub) (German import CD on Metronome Records).
For the newcomer: Richard Wahnfried is aka Klaus Schulze. So this music can be expected to reflect Schulze's superior sound, wrought with electronic power and often very exotic rhythms. You have: rave foundation E-perc, dramatic keyboards and a quantum bag of unexpected sounds. Add poppin' bass and frequent use of vocal sample outbursts to the overall trance tempo. Vocal samples are sometimes played as a keyboard instrument and even mixed with real vocals. The melodies are a crisp fusion of dynamic and ambient, molded in enticing compositions that compel while exciting. Schulze's usual style of enduring grandeur is peppered on this CD with a sense of playfulness, a sonic raising of eyebrows.
WAHNFRIED: Trance Appeal (CD on Metronome Records in Germany).
Klaus Schulze returns for another collaboration with Jorg Schaaf, exploring the popular electronic genre. This time the target is trance. Frankly, the payoff is a traditional dose of Schulze music. Decent stuff, quite dynamic and highly rhythmic, which only proves how much current trends in music owe to Schulze's music.
RICHARD WAHNFRIED: Trancelation (CD on ZYX Records in Germany).
This is a collaborative effort by Klaus Schulze, U.W. Uberschall and GeorgStettner. It is Schulze's take on techno music (a genre that owes much to Schulze's early music), and quite a good take it is too. Here, Schulze applies his sound with great success to a different form of music than his general fare. Granted, though, much of the "techno" in the sound is just rhythm box tracks, but beneath this plastic tempo seethes a fiery electronic power.
WESTBAM Meets CAN: ...And More (European import CD EP on Low Spirits Recordings).
Industrial dub meister Westbam takes one of Can's more peppy throb rock tunes and adds mammoth E-surges disguised as percussion, and industrially edged sample-twists that mutate the song into almost twice its original length. This EP contains the cut from Can's "Sacrilege" remix release, a short mix of the same song, and a piece by Westbam comprising a melody that pulses with sampled weirdness, backwards noises and a robotic beat.
WHITE NOISE 4: Inferno (CD on AMP Records, Po Box 387, London, N22 6SF, UK).
This is a slick sampling of shorter pieces reflecting David Vorhaus' work in recent years in commercials and soundtrack music. The music is tight, enthrallingly artifical and usually fairly rapid tempo pieces. Vorhaus' electronics have always achieved a particular ethereal quality that is as prevalent as ever with this long awaited LP.
WHITE WILLOW: Ignus Satuus (CD on The Laser's Edge, PO Box 2450, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034-0199).
The first piece on this 66 minute CD alternates between lilting airy vocals, soft flute and delicate synthi strains with an injection of percussion livening it up between drifting passages. The next song speaks of fairy rings and phantoms. Think you're getting the sonic picture? Well, look out-because the music takes a sudden dark turn, delving into a castle dungeon of intensity to achieve a dramatic modern audio experience. Then the music takes a surprising medieval Celtic turn...then a pastoral Italian turn. Think you're getting dizzy?
Could be. White Willow are a multi-instrumental and versatile band, casting their interests like a sonic net across the sea of ancient musical forms. All tainted with the caress of a prog nature that is quite enticing.
WHITE ZOMBIE: Presents Supersexy Swingin' Sounds (CD on Geffen Records in USA).
White Zombie are best known for breaking out of the industrial heavy metal rock scene and getting FM airplay with their last LP "Astro-Creep 2000".
But that isn't the point here. This CD is a remix release. Most remix releases feature numerous mixes of the same song, while this one gives you remixes of their entire "Astro-Creep 2000" album (okay, minus one song, replaced by "I'm Your Boogie Man"). Very cool--but the real surprise is to find one of these mixologists being John Fryer, whom you might recall for his production work with Cocteau Twins and his collaborations with Lewis (from Wire) as He Said. The other remixes are by: Charles Clouser, the Dust Brothers, Mike "Hitman" Wilson, the Damage Twins, and (believe it or not) P.M.Dawn.
WIR: The First Letter (12-inch EP on Touch/Mute Records in UK, in USA contact Wire Mail Oder, PO Box 29133, Los Angeles, CA 90029-0133, USA).
(For the confused, Wire was a four man band. When Robert Gotobed hung up his drumsticks, the band changed their name to Wir to reflect the decrease in members.)
Wir's last album of new material was called "The First Letter", but contained no song by that title.
This 12-inch single is not an unreleased Wir track. Instead, it is a relocated reconstruction by the Hafler Trio of material from Wir's "The First Letter" album.
Technical description aside, this release is an unparalleled triumph of brilliant sonics. The Hafler Trio have converted Wir's sounds into a pair of extremely long industrial trance outings, making this the best "remix" disc I have encountered in years!
WIR: So and Slow It Goes (CD EP on Mute Records in UK, in USA contact Wire Mail Order, PO Box 29133, Los Angeles, CA 90029-0133, USA).
Admittedly, this an old EP from 1991, but, being heavily into Wire (or Wir as they were called at the time of this EP) and only recently having even heard of its existence, I feel compelled to bring this EP to your attention.
It contains two remixes of the title track (including one by the Orb which is rich in quivering drone and sneaky pep), a non-LP track, and a LFO remix of another song from Wir's "The First Letter" LP. Dynamite experimental pop at its best--twisted into semi-dance tracks for the stupidity impaired.
WIR: Vein ( UK import CD EP on Touch Records).
In 1991 Wir (who dropped the "e" from their name when their drummer left the band) released their "The First Letter" album. Nowhere on this album could one find a track entitled "The First Letter". Years later, Wir's "The First Letter" EP, a vinyl-only 12-inch was released, being a total sonic reconstruction by the Hafler Trio of this unreleased track. Finally in 1997, comes the release of Wir's 25 minute CD EP "Vein" which contains two tracks. The first one being "The First Letter": a long softly spoken word intro breaks into an urgent percussion loop, followed by guitar grinding and hoarse vocals. The second song is more the typical Wir muto pop, with Lewis crooning, counterpoint guitar and duelling strumming, and a duralloy percussion track. Trust Wir to do things differently, releasing their title track EP six years after the album.
WIRE: Coatings (double CD on WMO Records, Wire Mail Order: PO Box 322, Alta Loma, CA 91701-0322 USA).
What we have here is an amazing compilation of mostly previously unreleased versions of Wire songs spanning the band's existence in the Eighties. You get 70 minutes, 13 tracks in all: alternate versions and club mixes and three live pieces (including another version of "Drill"). Only three of these 13 tracks have seen previous release on old EPs. Extremely vital to Wire addicts, this CD is bound to raise some uninitiated eyebrows too. Some copies of this release come with a second CD, which packaging notes seem to indicate will be included only for a short time. This bonus disc features a 19 minute epic version of "Ambitious", lush with a warzone of effects and more code letters. Many guitars making unguitarly noises. Much glee. A must-have piece of music!
WIRE: Exploded Views (book published in English in Italy by Collana Sconcerto, in USA contact Wire Mail Oder, PO Box 29133, Los Angeles, CA 90029-0133, USA).
It's a cool and informative book by Alessandra Libutti, full of data and stuff--but it comes with a 23 minute CD of live Wire from 1990. Searing --and it features another version of "Drill". Need I say more?
WIRE: Turns and Strokes (CD on WMO, PO Box 29133, Los Angeles, CA 90029-0133, USA).
There've been numerous Wire Best Of and Collection CDs in the last couple of years, but this one is of particular note for containing unreleased and live material. Indeed, the only previously released music are "Second Length" and "Catapult 30", the b-side tracks from a rare 12-inch EP from 1980.
Wire were never more powerful than live in performance, they were a band renowned for refusing to play a song live the way you expected. This album features a very dramatic selection of such live material, from their raw early work to the esoteric take on pop that predominated during their maturity.
There's an absolutely awesome 16 minute rehearsal track of a previously unheard piece called "A Panamanian Craze?" that displays Wire at their hypnotic weirdest in prime form. It alone is worth the price of the disc.
JAH WOBBLE: Heaven and Earth (CD on Island Independent Records in USA).
Jah Wobble has the luckiest wanderlust, even on this solo LP. From Holger Czukay to Brian Eno to Sinnead O'Connor, you never know who he's liable to collaborate with next. And on this 58 minute album, it's Bill Laswell and the World beat crowd that hangs with Material --plus jazz great Phaoroh Sanders (no lie!).
The sound of this music is extremely Middle Eastern with multilayered ethnic percussion and quivery vocal strains. Interesting songs and suitably well crafted execution. Another winner from the Wobble bloke.
WUMPSCUT VS. HAUJOBB: The Remix Wars (CD EP on 21st Century Records, PO Box 170100, San Francisco, CA 94117).
Wumpscut and Haujobb: two incredibly intense industrial bands heavy on the E-perc, electronics and hoarsely shrieked vocals. Imagine them together, remixing each other's material on this 30 minute EP. Who will win? You decide. I'm afraid both bands knocked the breath out of me.
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