[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Wrecked on the rocks, cast out upon the barren shore, no light coming except the glinting of stars well removed from the maelstrom. These two tracks are disorientation perfected, it is impossible to find the edges and thus define the frame of reference which went into Wenngren’s work here. I found this album to be daunting, demanding and also daring in equal measures. Forget about the beautiful material he releases under the Library Tapes name, what’s going on with “Les Revenants” is a whirling, lacerating affair replete with full on saturation. The reverberations rattle one’s skull, demonstrating just how easy it is to completely lose yourself in the moment.
These are not going to digest easily, every tiny molecule of space is utilized in such a way that purely chaotic cacophonies torn from the subconscious mind will begin to manifest while his latest here plays out. Only two? Yes, and be grateful there weren’t more because when dealing in substances such as these you don’t need to overdo it. Or do you. Maybe he has, I’m still deliberating that particular viewpoint but what I can firmly tell you all is that to play around with these compositions is unwise. It’s just noise or it’s just feedback are the two worst takes you could have on this as “Les Revenants” is a well thought out, fastidiously composed release. To assume this is merely casual noodling with the equalizer is a grave error, don’t turn your back on this pair and do not fast forward through.
Ears were made for these sorts of tracks, the kind which bewilder by their seemingly unchanging nature but there’s plenty going on. Slowly. Cautiously. Cunningly. Wenngren introduces each element on here with a subtle nod, a steeping of the terrain manipulated by unseen hands gently mixing the ingredients until at last there’s a completed statement to breathe in.
If he had an outline detailing how he planned to approach this one, it would be a fascinating read. Just how does one set about composing what can so easily be dismissed both as merely experimental daydreaming and also first-rate tinkering with the mind’s most extreme regions. I closed my eyes while parsing through this one the first few times and I’ll tell you what, I didn’t see bucolic farms or shimmering fields. I saw everything ablaze with red skies choking on volcanic debris, I saw magma scorching the earth until all that remained were endless vistas of obsidian silence. Perhaps a more reassuring description would be something we all did as children: draw outside the lines and fill in the center with layer after layer until an impenetrable gaping maw of formless collective color tore through the paper.
We did this because we wanted to and moreover, because we could.
This is the result of a very satisfying creative exercise for David Wenngren, his crush of sound is engaging on so many different wavelengths you can’t help but be compelled to tune in and then stay for the duration. Anything else would just be cowardly.