So, how was your weekend? Mine was good. It was pretty nice out. 70s, sunny, the first really nice weekend we’ve had of the season. Naturally, whispers of the word “camping” were brushing by my ears. I got pretty excited about it; we even BBQ’d, and I was imagining sitting out under the stars with a roaring fire in front of us the whole time. S’more’s, smiles, etc.
And then I sat down to write about Vilké, the new full-length release from veteran Portland noise-ist Daniel Menche, and started becoming terrified. “Vilké” is the word for a female wolf in Lithuanian, and Menche used the sounds of howling wolves as the core for the music found on this double LP, thereby obliterating any notion I had that sleeping outside, in the woods, in the dark, with the wildlife, in the cold, might actually be a smart, sound, and safe idea. I didn’t want to go camping any more.
I guess I should have been a little better prepared. Menche is a guy with previous album titles like GUTS and Beautiful Blood and Scattered Remains and Radiant Blood, and so themes of the flesh and animality were bound to be followed here in his audible portrait of the wolf, her environment, her plight, and of course how we as humans can exhibit all of these things within her. Menche’s dense soundscapes and keen sense of pacing and compositional suspense make this a real gripper, a quiet mix burned deep with a force to make it seem deafening, menacing in just about the most intimidating way imaginable. It’s a weird metaphysical/psychological mindfuck type of thing that happens as you make your way through this sample, especially if you check it out on, say, a full moon. Heart hammering blood through the temples, itches you didn’t know needed scratching before becoming suddenly excruciating. I think you know how this one ends.
Our first listen to the album here is also accompanied by some visuals for good measure, provided by the album’s resident artist, Faith Coloccia:
Daniel Menche’s Vilké is out May 14 on double vinyl and cassette via SIGE.