Swooning guitars, found sounds, synthesizer trills, forward percussion and dream vocals; New Universe is the second full-length album by Desolation Wilderness. It alternates between lonely sounds and the euphoria of freedom and distance – like an empty, foggy beach in the early morning. After touring the country extensively, this album is the labor of a restless engine; postcards from being constantly on the move.
These songs are the celluloid preview to Desolation Wilderness’ second full length album, New Universe [KLP204], which will be released by K in August. The single, part of our International Pop Underground series, was recorded by the band at Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia Washington: tubes glowing, tape echoing, guitars chiming. Hey, go outside and let the sun in.
White Light Strobing [KLP198] is the debut album of the band Desolation Wilderness. Recorded in the Winter of 2008, supposedly the dark months but there is a beauty hidden there, too. Sound waves transmuted through archaic vacuum tubes and dusty transistors, magnetized on to a playable medium. A rush of air pressure, a few more charged ions here and there. Somehow, out of chaos comes order, a record of an event at a specific time and place. White Light Strobing. Strobing, like what movies do, or sunlight, or even sound: More than meets the eye. White Light Strobing contains songs straight from the wide awake dream world about simple things (love, escape, the open road) which transform before your ears into something else entirely. Similar to the experience of being inside all day and then walking outside to find yourself blinded by the light of the sun, blinking in a daze. What just happened? More than meets the eye. The meaning of words are transcended by their texture, what they rest upon. Lingual poetry as visual poetry as aural poetry; sung in any language, it is understood.
Wilderness's third full-length album entitled "(k)no(w)here" was conceived as one musical piece, and the impetus for this composition came from an invitation to collaborate with renowned visual artist Charles Long at Long's exhibit at the Whitney Biennial in Spring of 2008. The eight identifiable parts of "(k)no(w)here" are not readily separated from each other, such is the flow from and into each part. Created in ways different than the previous Wilderness self-titled album (2005) and the Wilderness "Vessel States" album (2006), "(k)no(w)here" still retains the Wilderness sound, with some evolution. On the new album, James Johnson is sometimes joined vocally by Colin McCann (aka The Lord Dog Bird, whose self-titled debut was released by Jagjaguwar in the Summer of 2008). And, as on previous albums, McCann performs on guitar, Brian Gossman on bass, and William Goode on drums, but the resulting community of all these parts comes across as more dynamic, and the perceived space they inhabit seems more vast.
Desolation Wilderness is the primary musical project of Nicolaas Zwart. Started in 2005, it is his musical realization of themes inspired by american literature, film, and music: transcendentalism, hope, longing, movement. If you had to map it, it would be somewhere between A Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Rabbit, Run by John Updike.
Until Forever was written, played, and recorded by Nic in Summer of 2007, at Dub Narcotic studio in Olympia, Washington; during the late night sessions for his self- released full-length album Hey Someone. Nic played almost all the instruments including the vibraphone, clarinet, glockenspiel, guitar, computer, and synthesizer. On "4/4 Love Song" he enlisted his friends Andrew Dorsett and Adam Oelsner to play Hammond Organ and Accordion, respectively.
"Goodbye Summer Girl" is the end of a story. Saying a sudden goodbye to someone new to you who you were in love with, and seeing her disappear out of the rear view mirror of your car as you drive away; getting lost in the shimmering heat of a California summer day.
"Gloria" and "4/4 Love Song" have no words, but they capture a mood you can get when watching fireworks over a lake during twilight on the Fourth of July: everything you see and do is imbued with the magic of fate and destiny.
Living Through / Part Ways, the first 7-inch released by Wilderness, contains two previously unreleased songs done at Silver Sonya Studios, the same studio as where their first two full-lengths were recorded and mixed. On “Living Through”, thundering bass and dangerous shards of guitar splatter before James Johnson as he walks his plank, while on “Part Ways” Will Goode channels his pummelling drums through the gates.
Wilderness is an unconventional band from Baltimore, Maryland, whose apparent musical pedigree stems from the likes of the Fall, This Heat, Savage Republic, Public Image Limited and Joy Division - without sounding like any of them -, and whose music is every bit as spiritual as it is visceral, as nuanced as it is overt, and as communal and all-embracing as it is culturally alienating and nihilistic. Embodied most recently in their second full-length record called Vessel States, the music-art of Wilderness attempts to glide above definitions or categorizations, especially those that are self-serving or manipulative. Yet the band is fully aware that striving for this kind of purity is most likely futile. Every human expression builds on or is connected to previous expressions, and the music of Wilderness will be packaged, commodified and connected to other forms of things beyond their understanding or control. This tension between the intended and the actual, and the awareness that this tension exists, may best sum up what Wilderness is all about.
This quartet’s self-titled debut conjures images of Metal Box-era Johnny Lydon fronting Savage Republic or Explosions in the Sky. Cascading guitars build into the most beautiful pop epiphanies, as though the Edge were leading a modern day Popol Vuh up the mountain before us. Wilderness’ debut is the culmination of three years steady work by four dear friends. Their songs touch on numerous themes like living through the end of capitalism, the beauty inherent in beauty, staring at the sky, listening to the woods, feeling the landfills topple and swell, vibrations in the market place, collective brain harvesting and the absolute falling all around the opinionated as the opinionated fall all around the absolute. The record is about your perception. It is ultimately a celebration of life that serves as an impetus to stand in a place and aim music towards itself. The four human beings that comprise Wilderness have been making art and music, living and travelling together for over 10 years. They live and work in Baltimore, USA.