19 August 2010

CD REVIEW: WD-41+2 - Temi Per Cinema (2010, private release)

I have a thing for ambient music and looping.

Oh, it’s not like the thing I have for Italian prog, all filled with symphonics and melody and operatic male tenor lead singers. Nor is it like the thing I have for extreme metal, what with the darkness and headbanging and growled vocals. But I have a thing, and there are times where I get an itch that just can’t be scratched by anything but a thick slice of soundscapy swoops and swirls and loopy goodness.

Recently I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of the newest release from WD-41, a project by Willie Oteri. Oteri plays guitars and live loops on this release, titled Temi Per Cinema, and he’s joined by Dave Laczko on trumpet and effects. Together they are the WD of WD-41, expanded on this release by guest musicians Dino J.A. Deane on lap steel dulcimer and beatjockey and Scott Amendola on drums and percussion. Obviously this does not sound like any ambient recording you might have imagined, but there are some amazing soundscapes to be had here. Amendola’s drumming and percussion helps to add bits of structure here and there, while Laczko’s trumpet playing adds humanity and organic sound to what often is a colder, more digital type of music. As a result, at times Temi Per Cinema veers dangerously close to free form space rock (something else I have a thing for at times).

Entirely instrumental, this is music that nonetheless has a very strong visual aspect. Perhaps I am being overly directed by the title of the album, but this is very much music I could see being used in film. Dark, almost post industrial in many ways, there is much to enjoy on this release, and it is one that reveals its gifts slowly. I’ve been living with this album for a month or so now (I am not always quick with reviewing things…but I make up for in quality what I lack in quantity, I hope), and I am still noticing little bits here and there that I had not picked up on previous listens. The tracks are generally shorter, too…nothing longer than seven and a half minutes, which means that it is easy to take this release in bite sized chunks if necessary.

It’s hard to pick highlights here…even though there are distinct tracks, there is a flow in how they were programmed that means that often I don’t always tell when one track has ended and another begins. I can state that I unequivocally love ‘Q-1,’ the third track, filled with distant trumpet, lush melodic soundscapes that remind of strings, and some punctuating lower register guitar or bass playing that provides a bit of pulse and beat. It is the longest piece, at just over seven and a half minutes, and uses that time very well, developing slowly, with direction and structure and purpose. It’s a great piece of music.

On the other end of the spectrum is the brief ‘W-1B,’ with loads of trumpet, bursts of percussion, and Frippertronic-like loops. This is a very industrial-like piece (without actually being industrial music, of course), and the bits of percussive accent and found sound mix very well here.

Having picked out 2 highlights, I will go back on what I mentioned earlier a bit…’ it is easy to take this release in bite sized chunks if necessary.’ It is easy to take the album in smaller chunks, but that doesn’t mean I really recommend that. But this time I’m sure most of you out there have figured out that I tend to be an album kind of listener in general, and I’ll say the same thing here. Temi Per Cinema is a release that works very well as an album listen, and it rewards multiple kinds of listeners. As background music it succeeds very well indeed, but careful listening will reveal subtle and delicate layers of sound. Peeling them back rewards with some interesting and unique musical treasures. Take a chance, especially if you’ve never checked out Oteri’s previous albums…I think you’ll find a lot to enjoy.

Track Listing:
1 U-5 (7:13)
2 BB-2 (5:07)
3 Q-1 (7:39)
4 W-1A (3:21)
5 W-5 (7:28)
6 W-1B (2:18)
7 T-6 (4:55)
8 AA-5 (5:41)
9 Q-2 (7:18)
10 AA-4 (5:04)

Willie Oteri: guitars, live loops
Dave Laszko: trumpet, effects
Dino J.A. Deane: lap steel dulcimer, beatjockey
Scott Amendola: drums, percussion


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