Review Summary: Gary Wilson creates influential trippy music that will haunt your nightmares.
Gary Wilson’s influential lo fi debut You Think You Really Know Me
is a direly confusing effort. Seven years after a talk with John Cage that made his work far more experimental, this effort dives into two directions that so conflict each other, it’s hard not to feel the utter confusion that comes from Wilson’s mind at this time. New wave synthesizers used years before they were popularized, utterly confused ‘soulful’ vocals, and attempts at bouncier pop music, with undeniably noisy, crude, dissonance that give off his true emotions.
The soulful/dance-inspired song's that make up a majority of the album have incredibly dark undertones. “6.4 = Makeout” features Gary Wilson whispering into the listeners ear, while the minimalist instrumentation consistently builds upon itself, laminating itself in an ominous environment. “When You Walk Into My Dreams” works because of its utterly perfect sound, with Gary Wilson’s echo-y voice and groovy pop composition working together perfectly. “Cindy” means to be a slick, slender track, but the faint buzzing of the keyboards engulfs the track, while his utterly creepy voice lurches in on the track like a stalker. Wilson’s confused mind makes these attempts at slender tracks awkward and filled with dark undertones, ultimately adding to his experimental nature.
Noisier pieces are, however, what truly make You Think You Really Know Me
work. “You Think You Really Know Me” is covered in muffled voices, shrill siren shrieks, monotone vocals, and a certain stillness that keeps this experimentation somewhat orderly. “Loneliness” is the freakiest piece of all, raveled by stomping, dissonant keyboards, dreamy/nightmare-ish loops, and suicidal death wishes from Gary Wilson. The first song “Another Time I Could Have Loved You” and the second half “And Then I Kissed Your Lips” sort of play as pieces that fulfill eachother, stumbling in shrill-sounding distortion and warbling keys, creating a startling atmosphere to begin such an album with.
In todays experimental world, this effort would fit right in, but in the 1970s, when this was released, it felt shocking, weird, bizarre, and absolutely not conforming to the music of the time. That’s what truly made You Think You Really Know Me
so real and so influential. The insane, trippy motions of the bouncier tracks still have dark undertones, while tracks that show influence gained from John Cage give off even more feeling. The faint grumbling of the lo fi production give off the first impression, while the rest of the album makes it even more confusing. This must be weirdest angst-inspired record ever recorded.