Paul Wirkus Deformation Professionnelle

[Staubgold; 2006]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles:  electronic
Others: Fennesz, Jack Rose, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Phill Niblock

For his fourth album, this Polish knob-twiddler behaves less like the drummer he is away from his laptop and more like a lyrical guitar virtuoso. Unlike past Wirkus albums, there’s no glitchy underbelly here, and what littler percussion there is exists in service to winding, Fennesz-ian melodies. The multihued songs here sound like they were assembled from massed guitar notes, with the attack edited out, and their sense of progression and development is outstanding – Wirkus tells a story as well as instrumentalists like Jack Rose and Steffen Basho-Junghans, which is to say with far more twists and tensions than most narrative-spewing indie-popsters.

This attention to form is abetted by efficient, clean-burning tones. In purely aesthetic terms, Wirkus improves upon five decades of prophetic electronic and compositional music, siphoning seminal 20th-century sounds into a modern, aerodynamic sonic. For instance, “Kocham” drowns Reich’s Phase Patterns in cough syrup and shaves away its delirious hints of Doors-y classic rock, while “View Finder” situates classic Kraftwerk in an environment of modern drum sounds. The album’s best moment, though, isn’t a revision, but a resolution: “Exoten” demonstrates that Phill Niblock’s sublime, anarrative sound walls can in fact thicken a compelling melodic yarn.

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