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RLW, "Flurry of Delusion"

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cover imageI never know what to expect when putting on a new Ralf Wehowsky album.  He has never let me down, but what form of strange electronics and unconventional compositional techniques he employs is always a mystery.  Flurry of Delusion is then, fittingly, another extremely abstract and unpredictable work from the legendary member of P16.D4 that is as much random improvisation as it is rigidly structured composition.  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  The confusion is intentional, by the way.

Black Rose/Dirter

The initial foundation of Flurry of Delusion is a fully improvised recording session Wehowsky had with fellow composer Giuseppe Ielasi in early 2010.  However, in traditionally perverse RLW fashion, these recordings were then mangled and mutilated over the span of six years, with the liner notes proclaiming, "all parts relate to each other and nothing is what it seems to be."

Only sparse information is given as to what instruments were even used during the initial sessions, but occasionally they can be discerned.  Near the beginning of "He Found Himself Facing His Painful Reality" (each of the eight song titles can be sequenced to create a different poem), it sounds like some passages of acoustic guitar slip out largely untreated, although still played in a rather unconventional manner.  Clattering percussive moments and shimmering electronics swell up in a collage of improvised, although seemingly not truly random, sound.

Electronics (or natural sounds treated to sound like electronics) are the predominant feature on "Without Subterfuge or Cosmetic Disguise", a blend of loose, buzzing like glitches into bigger sweeping tones that trail off uncomfortably and then come back aggressively.  That and the jerky stops lead to an almost unsettling unpredictability to the sound.  "Before" is similarly structurally and instrumentation wise, again a whirling mass of buzzing chaos and abrupt starting and stopping, although here Wehowsky adds in a nice metallic resonating drone.

At other points on Flurry of Delusion, the sounds that are almost detectable are less musical ones.  Amidst the weird panning and machinery clatter of "Within An Unreliable Narration" there is the sound of what is likely an audio cable not plugged into any instrument, judging from the telltale buzzing hum.  With a layer of clicking and popping, somehow these disparate passages come together in a way that makes sense, and also an excellent sense of space from a sound design standpoint.  An opening solo that is likely a vibrating cell phone leads off "Let Him End Up" is treated just enough to have additional depth, and also becomes the most identifiable element in a mass of bizarre sounds.

The credits for Wehowsky and Ielasi's improvisations included guitar, harmophone, turntables, and percussion, but other than the guitar, RLW did an exemplary job at hiding the sources.  Which, as someone who has been following his career for a while (including his P16.D4 days), comes as absolutely no surprise.  Little on Flurry of Delusion makes sense, at least superficially, and instead it is an unrelenting rush of bent noises and vaguely familiar sounds, which is exactly what he does so well.  As far as the ambiguity goes for the album’s concept, it did seem like the less I tried to make sense of things, the more it all came together as a cohesive work, as bizarre as it may be.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 January 2017 10:17  


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