Riccardo Dillon Wanke - To R.S [Sedimental Records - 2010]Wanke follows up his acclaimed (last solo) album Caves, from 2008, with this similarly minimalistic work.
The album consists of four long tracks which are delicately linked and developed through intermittent motifs, spare melodies and sounds. He uses just a few instruments - electric and acoustic guitars, piano, objects and found sounds. His use of subtle, pitch-shifting tones and pared down, sometimes almost imperceptible drones and loops, creates a gentle waft of sound textures. This ethereal atmosphere is occasionally broken by intermittent, dissonant sounds, from unusual 'field recorded' objects (for instance, what sounds like ball-bearings rolling on the floor) or softly strummed 'chords' on the guitar, which develop into somnambulant, thick rhythm's, overlapping with the ambient pattern-phasing drones and noises, in the background.
The Italian Wanke continues the tradition and development of avant-minimalist/drone music previously made more famous by the likes of Steve Reich and Brian Eno, to name but a few. He is at the centre of a core of contemporary musicians based in Lisbon, including fellow collaborators Francesco Dillon and David Maranha, who seem to be spearheading a new form of this type of music, which variously employs and incorporates jazz, classical and electronica influenced improvisation and composition.
If you were not used to this type of music, then you would be forgiven for thinking that it is so quiet and seemingly innocuous that it doesn't really amount to anything much - but this initial reaction would be deceptive, because - like any art-form that requires you to leave your old prejudices at the door - once you have begun to actually listen, closely and calmly, to its meditative ambiance, it begins to exert a hypnotic hold over you, and seems, with subsequent hearings, to contain more and more levels of depth. Like an ocean-drifting amoeba, gradually evolving over millenniums, it tenderly entwines itself into your consciousness, within its poetically captivating 54 minutes of duration.James DC