Music for escape artists.

Music for escape artists. | Evocative music from the Underworld, the Otherworld and The Abyss.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Review for: Wrekmeister Harmonies - Light Falls (2016)

Light Falls is the latest album from the ever-changing collaborative effort that is Wrekmeister Harmonies. Composer and master collaborator JR Robinson with trusty sidekick Esther Shaw, form the nucleus of the latest embodiment of Wrekmeister which breaks from tradition with a smaller collective of musicians from Godspeed You! Black Emperor and a more typical album structure of seven shorter tracks rather than one or two long compositions. Despite this drastic change in approach; the familiar sounds, themes and textures of Wrekmeister Harmonies remain fully intact while expressing new realms of atmosphere and emotion. This is a testament to the unique and personal approach applied to JR Robinson's compositions and his versatility as an artist.

Wrekmeister Harmonies is known for compelling live shows at unorthodox and fascinating venues such as museums, mausoleums, cemeteries and many other interesting places such as; the Andy Warhol Museum, the Golden Gate Bridge and Chicago's Bohemian National Cemetery which add to the aura and ambience of the music. Along with the unusual locations are the exceptional musicians that have joined Wrekmeister throughout its many transformations including artists such as; Wrest (Jef Whitehead) of Leviathan, Alexander Hacke of Einstürzende Neubauten, David Yow of The Jesus Lizard, Chip King and Lee Buford of The Body, Marissa Nadler, Sanford Parker of Minsk, the cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, Chris Brokaw of Codeine, jazz composer Ken Vandermark and many more.

It is clear that JR Robinson has a certain way with people. He manages to seek out and uncover the vast talents found in the musical underworld and shed light on dark places that others would only dream of. I think people can sense that this guy is for real; he means what he does and he is an artist with a vision that needs to be fully realised with the assistance of others. A perfect example of this rapport with other artists can be found within the VICE Media documentary 'One Man Metal' in which JR is the host and correspondent. The film uncovers the hidden misanthropic lives and gives us glimpses into the fascinating, obfuscated existences of three elusive Black Metal figures; Wrest (Jef Whitehead) of Leviathan, Malefic (Scott Connor) of Xasthur and Sin Nanna (Russell Menzies) of Striborg. Few people (if any) would have been able to gain access to these artists in the way that JR did. To show how far he was willing to go to prove sincerity and gain trust with Jef Whitehead (who is a tattoo artist by day), there is a scene in which JR books a spot at the tattoo parlour where Whitehead works. He requests a tattoo of the symbols displayed on the album cover of the Leviathan album; Howl Mockery At The Cross (2005). Following this, Whithead agreed to feature in the documentary. He even managed to convince a reluctant Malefic to show his face and drop some vocals for the first time on camera.

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