Friday, March 12, 2010

Torstein Wjiik - Wjiik Let Angreben Af Influenza CD (review)

Label: Synesthetic Recordings / Ambolthue
Catalog#: Syre 021 / Ambolt -90
Format: CD, Album, Limited to 220 copies
Country: Norway
Released: February 2010

Apparently this is the debut CD of Torstein Wjiik, which is really hard to believe when you look at his discography, where you can find lots of MP3 and CDr releases. Wjiik is the alias of Norwegian experimental artist Kjetil Hanssen. Knowing that this young man has been around and producing sound since 2004, some would say it is about time he appeared on the proper CD format. However, this is usually no guarantee of a more proper listening experience.

The title suggests that Wjiik is slightly attacked by influenza, just like Ibsen was described when his health got worse 6 years before his death, and the tracktitles can certainly be a cronology of getting the flu. Firstly the “Gag Reflex” followed by “The Flu Has Come”, “Screamer”, “Headache”, and so on. Some of the titles are also descriptive. When the title is Gag Reflex, you get, yes a recording of someone gagging (I’m guessing the artist himself). And the track “Oslo Tram”, is a recording of trams in Oslo, nothing more. In between these recordings there are wonderful full on feedback and whitenoise recordings. The track “Brekninger & Feedback” is a wonderful combination of a recording of gagging or vomiting and feedback. You can barely hear the person doing it as it is brilliantly hidden in the feedback.

So, is this CD meant for the noise audience or those who like field recordings or just strange recordings? I believe neither. It seems like Wjiik here has made something he wants to present rather than point it to someone specific. A mix of the said gagging, harsh noise, low-fi recordings and outside field-recordings can seem a bit random at first, but to me the cronology and the way the tracks are mixed proved it differently. Listen to this alone on a cold dark, snowy winter night as I did, you’ll make sure to keep warm avoiding the flu come and get you.

Uncompromisingly put together it can easily be labeled as a release someone didn’t quite know what direction to choose, but Wjiik has many talents, as he has proved before in his massive amount of other releases, and here he shows but a few. Is he making fun of us or is it a well put together concept album? For me it will have to be the the latter, and in contrast to Ibsen he is certainly in good health, although the CD finishes off with the title track.

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