Wolff Parkinson White: Veritable Rapunzel (Colonel Beats, 2021)

March 12, 2021 at 9:59 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Wolff Parkinson White: Veritable Rapunzel

Wolff Parkinson White (aka drummer Jochen Rueckert) wowed me with last year’s Favours, an album of hyper-complex drum programming, often using quarter-tone scales, with each track incorporating guest vocalists, including artists far from the breakcore scene like Gabriel Kahane and, believe it or not, Norah Jones. A year later, WPW has released the follow-up, Veritable Rapunzel, and it might be even more bonkers than his last one. Immediately rhythms seem to get chewed up and spat out, smeared voices talk about fruit salad, and tones rapidly crumble and reform, twisting into hundreds of audio shapes per minute. It more closely resembles musique concrète than dance music, but exponentially more harder edged. There’s also a wicked sense of humor to this. “Unapologetically Engineered Nothingness” seems like a desolate dark ambient piece meant to express extreme soul-crushing isolation, but an unexpected payoff lobs a sudden spitball at this mood. “Intentionally Impetuous Incrementalism” seems light and delicate at first, but gradually speeds up into a sonic whirlpool. “Aspirationally Non-Heteronormative” comes close to a level of sentimentality, but then a mangled vocal sample that drops in makes you question the seriousness of all this. “Goebbel’s Brunch Preferences-ish” has a recurring cartoonish sample about stepping on a dead body, while the beats start out menacing and swerving, then tinker away into nothingness. Rueckert constantly pushes the edge on a technical level while crucially keeping a high level of absurdity, assuring that the album is fun and perplexing rather than dry and academic.

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