Artificial music will probably always be a bit polarizing to interpret when compared to the more traditional means of performance art; the stodgiest of musical purists may lambast the use of computer-generated sounds and sampling as a mask for authentic ability. In doing this, however, the crux of artificial composition is glazed over. Electronic music stresses the construction of sound through technological innovation, and if this maxim is to be considered parallel to the indefinite expansion of technology, it can be construed that electronic music is constantly evolving in scope and execution. From this constant evolution spawns a sense of infinite wonder, akin to exploring the vastness of space. Much of trip-hop and electronic music's appeal to me is its ability to inundate my senses with its digital waves in a manner that is enigmatic like the unknown frontier, but ultimately comforting. With the release of this collection of tracks, elusive Bostonian Dr. Quandary has certainly done that.
"Wayfarers" is ultimately a collection of rarities, and clocks in at a very digestible 25 minutes in length. There is more than enough material present to be thoroughly satisfied, however. These eight compositions include a veritable assortment of influences: "Feijao", "Oneiric Field Mandala", and "Varanasi" are noticeably influenced by traditional Hindi music for example, while tracks like "Branches & Bells" and "Bedouin Drums" delve more into psychedelic krautrock similar to a band like Tortoise. These eclectic influences shimmer like sunlight off of a lake when superimposed over Dr. Quandary's nuanced trip-hop beats.
While the compositions here are predominantly instrumental, vocal samples appear sporadically and tastefully. The looped vocal melody on album highlight "Feijao" becomes rather hypnotic as undulates contrarily with the harp glissandos. "First Law of Harmonics" complements a simple piano loop with thought-inducing spoken-word samples that will certainly draw comparisons to DJ Shadow's "Endtroducing." The sheer nuance Dr. Quandary utilizes in his production, however, transcends derivation and creates a product that is memorable and unique in itself.
"Wayfarers" is an incredibly satisfying trip-hop release. I could pan its short run-time, but as a collection of rarities, it is wholly satisfying and, perhaps mysteriously, altogether very cohesive and complete. In keeping with electronic music's curiousness Dr. Quandary doesn't have an awful lot of information available on any of his webpages. Artistic reasoning aside, this anonymity only adds to the thematic elements of wonder present in his music. Electronic music is at its best at its most esoteric and otherworldly, and "Wayfarers" is all of that seal-packed in cellophane.
I hear that a lot. I dunno, I'm not really trying to impress anybody with delusions of eloquence and I consciously dialed
down some of the superfluity in a few instances, believe it or not. I don't think it's quite "The capacity of human
intelligence" bad at least haha. Are there any specific examples you can point out that you think require cleaning?
Yeah, the phrase "the stodgiest of musical purists may lambast the use of computer-generated sounds and sampling as a mask for authentic ability." stands out to me.
Like, it's mostly a couple of word choices. "Stodgiest" and "lambast" come across as a little haughty, even though I know you don't mean that. Hell, tons of my older reviews came across that way, when it certainly wasn't my intention. It just feels like you're trying to explain simple ideas in a really poetic way, and I'd say to stick with the more elaborate words when getting your main point across. I try to be descriptive for the most part, and only use complex words when I absolutely couldn't use any simpler one.
it's pretty verbose but never goes overboard and isn't ever too bad. that sentence omaha quoted is the worst but it's fine, just kinda fluffy. good fluff though! the review reads very easily and it's short as hell so I don't think the big words are a huge issue. plus, "stodgiest" man that is a great damn word, I'm having that.
though I generally agree with what Omaha said, shadowing George Orwell who said that you should never use a long or complicated word when a shorter or simpler one will do, but this is creative writing and attempting to be descriptive about art, so I say go for it. unless you overboard and just come off as trying to sound smart for the sake of it, then don't. that's really fucking annoying.
It's funny you mention that George Orwell Quote; I actually have his rules for effective writing bookmarked as a reminder haha.
Thanks for the blurb though, aids, it means a lot to hear that. I'd much rather take more of a critical stance when analyzing music than just come out and state exactly what I'm hearing...it's a little more fun for me and I hope for anybody who reads my reviews as well. I try to split the spectrum of abstractness/verbosity and simplicity/bluntness but I'm not always effective in doing that.
it makes me think of a bunch of old guys in burgundy armchairs.
Haha and see, I wouldn't ever want to read a review from an old dude in a burgundy armchair.
And there's definitely a difference between creative writing and reviews. Sure, a good review has to be creative-- I'd say it has to effectively introduce ideas the listener hasn't quite considered. But that's very different from an unnecessarily expansive vocabulary. The most powerful parts of the reviews are often the most simply written, at least from my experiences.
Yazz, I don't want you to think I'm criticizing you here, or anything of the sort. These are topics that are very important in reviewing, and it's just good for all of us (including myself) to think about these things. You're an incredibly solid reviewer, which is why I always make an effort to check out your write-ups. I'd just love to help, because I see great potential in your work here.