Artist // Woulg
Release // Last Time LP
Label // MethLab Recordings
Woulg presents the dynamic and beautifully crafted ‘Last Time’ LP, an exploration of time and space through sonic exploration. The dynamic of the journey (and it really is a journey) sees movements that experiment with time dilation, phasing, minimalism, polyrhythms, unusual time signatures and ultimately, the relativity and space between notes. It’s a journey that demands the listener’s attention, with real beauty to be found in the details. Woulg has delivered a manifesto that’s both delicate and poised, whilst laced with razor-sharp intelligence.
DO I opens within our standard auditory and temporal world, amongst a wistful, acoustic beat that echoes longingly of past musical eras, as though carefully considering its next move against a glittering nostalgia. As an ethereal vocal sample drifts through the background, a piano rises upwards in wistful aspiration, and the track begins to take on more elements of digital modernity, with its cello bassline becoming augmented by a rumbling sub bass in a mergence of past and future.
OPERATE flutters almost chaotically with myriad arpeggios that drift in and out of time with the rest of the track, which seems to breath and rustle with the collective life of a full sonic ecosystem, not always synchronized but full of spontaneous moments of beautiful lucidity. As a dissonant, swarming synth sweeps its way through this sonic world, the result is not one of expected discomfort, but instead one of necessary tension which builds continuously until, in a single moment, time snaps back in on itself, suddenly closing the portal to this world, causing us to become lost.
In the resulting chaos of that desynchronization, BLUE SHIFT tumbles into the umbral depths of an unknown destination, with thunderous kick drums pounding with powerful urgency. The drums seem to fall from nowhere out of a single tone, slowing and then quickening once more alongside a droning siren which imparts an atmosphere of near hopeless dystopia. As the journey continues, we find even in this strange and terrifying realm echoes of the previous ecosystem, in a melody that is retained from the strange pastoral land of OPERATE. It too is transformed by this strange sonic space, accelerating unnaturally and quickening the mind.
TIME DILATION stretches and rebounds between both sonic and temporal extremes, with moments of slow, melodic contemplation, and anarchic, tumultuous distortion. Time and sound then stabilize for a moment, following the guiding influence of a comparatively simple beat that once again carries a familiar refrain in the melody of places already visited, though at its zenith this once more decays, tumbling onwards into a new space.
BAUD-Y, carries the momentum of the previous track, adapting its basic structure to hold additional intensity, as the rhythmic, distorted pulse of a siren repeats in the background. Amongst this, a powerful bass punches into the foreground, forcing its way in of its own accord with little care for the last vestiges of convention the song still holds, and seemingly transfers this mentality to the rest of the track as it shifts into a new time signature, holding within it an extra beat. Here, the original drumbeat and melody return, morphed by this new temporal realm into something alien yet familiar.
DEPRESSURIZED seems at its outset restrained in comparison to its predecessors, with a structured drumbeat accompanied by a benign and complacent melody that serves to normalize our sonic environment. Yet even here time shifts obscurely, as the heaviest hit of a drum in each part of the beat walks slowly forwards, further into the pattern as if somehow moving of its own will.
LOST TIME continues onwards, striding methodically with the pounding steps of a powerful kick drum. As before, arpeggios flutter through the atmosphere, ignorant of the time supposedly enforced by the drum, and yet somehow belonging. A soulful vocal drifts once more from obscurity, adding a human element to this strange landscape, but it too is morphed, crushed and distorted by the strange time within, as it descends once more to obscurity at the tracks closing.
I DON’T begins apart from itself, with a lurching silence separating the moments of its stripped down instrumentation, once more made of largely acoustic components, calling back in response to DO I and wistfully closing a journey that has simultaneously gone everywhere and nowhere at once, as though its path of travel had been but one great circle. The return to a relative base elicits whether such a state is truly best, whether the comfort of complacency is truly worth the lack of exploration it requires, a question that is left hanging in the air as the final portal to these strange realms of time suddenly closes, this time without repercussion.