Artist: Gideon Wolf
Title: I Am Wolf
Released: June, 2013
Label: Chemical Tapes
Format: Cassette (ed. of 75)
Genre: ambient, abstract, ambient folk, modern classical
Following the release of the album, “Paper” in 2012, Gideon Wolf returns with a new cassette on Chemical Tapes. And upon playing the first track, I’m lured in to a realm between space and time by echoed and layered vocals… like, actual arranged lyrics constructed and used as an instrument rather than to simply serve as the focal point. While I have heard of this being used hither and thither by other groups/artists, I’ve not encountered this prior and now, I’m hooked.
As I enter the second track, the voices echo, hum, ebb, flow and entrance. In a way, it’s like listening to a chorus of gentile wolves singing as darker ambient atmospheres and samples create a foggy, half frightening and half soothing landscape. The third track feels slightly bluesy in lyrics and harmony. Spinning that element into an ambient cloud makes for one interesting experience. We head back to earth with the track, “Neon Marks,” which is a nice voice and piano piece. Its lyrics are haunting, its melody sweet. Things return to the earlier haunting format during the following tracks. The final piece opens with voices humming together like a chorus of cellos before wild distortion, synth and piano carry us along with a wolf pack trying to find their way in the dark.
This album certainly is engaging and quite different. At times, the ambience borders more on chaos, being just slightly bound to reality by the vocals. This makes things very ethereal, sweet yet haunting in spots. The vocal layering and texturing add so much to this. The voice becomes more than just a voice; it becomes a howl in the distance, a drone, a stringed instrument and at times, a warm and buzzing hum. It gives depth and light in so many places. Can you tell I really enjoyed this?
Fans of Gideon Wolf’s earlier works will enjoy this, as will fans of Radiohead’s more experimental side, FSOL, or followers of Correspondence Tapes’ releases. This cassette covers so much ground that it is sure to please a wider array of fans.
(4.9 out of 5)