In an age where every rock band toys with kraut tropes and every electronic project shoehorns beats into arrangements often as little more than an afterthought, Baltimore’s eminent power duo Wume continue to fine-tune their man/woman motorik machine down to the tiniest rhythmic flourish. As a live unit, Albert Schatz and April Camlin combine into one pumping cyborg circulatory system, stacking tiers of hi-fi synth and pinpoint drum patterns over grooves that organically swell and ebb into new configurations over the course of their extended sessions. In the studio setting, the band’s impeccable sound design and production quality ensure that every hi-hat click, every slowly unwinding synth patch, and every chubby burst of bass reaches our cochlear nerve fibers in perfect clarity. While their music may be “minimal” in its construction, Wume transfixes us by setting their intricate system of spinning cogs into motion and allowing each isolated element its own space to twist and evolve within the wide stereo spread.
Ahead of their forthcoming Maintain LP, due May 19 on B-More’s own Ehse Records, the duo premieres the video for “Ostinaut,” which times their percolating electronics to the jitters of Chicago noise kingpin Andy Ortmann’s analog video synth manipulation. As the almost titular ostinato bass motive bumps through the nether regions of the mix, Camlin delivers one of her most complex polyrhythmic percussion performances on record, locking into precise hi-hat patterns and airtight snare fills that drive us deeper down a seemingly infinite tunnel trajectory. Schatz constructs a matrix of panned arpeggios and staccato chord blasts that accrues more layers and augments established patches almost imperceptibly. Ortmann’s visuals abstract highways and bridges into pulsing fractal ziggurats flecked with perpendicular geometric obstructions and VCR-core static debris. Zone out for a moment, as if you have a choice in this situation, and when your mind flashes back into “Ostinaut,” you’ll find that new details have arrived for you to soak in.