Review: Wetkoff – He Is Lying (self-released, Sep 12)

Recently, I’ve become fascinated with “musical” releases that don’t seem intended for human ears, or at least ears that are expecting to hear something conventionally finished, coherent, or even palatable. Like teasing the serendipitous poetics from verbose instruction manuals or evaluating sketches and abandoned drafts as completed pieces of art (I probably possess more “unfinished” works that finished ones), it’s usually not too far of a reach to unearth the beauty in unadulterated sonic extras, leftovers, rinds. None of the individual sounds featured on He Is Lying, a recent release by Asheville, NC artist Wetkoff, are necessarily abrasive or unappealing to the average listener, but overall it certainly fits the bill with its scattershot assemblage of warbling electronic malfunction, small slivers of feedback, and insubstantial loops. There are often perceptible notes but they sound more like the dying breaths of a brutally dissected Casio than anything. I find it difficult to pick up on anything that appears to be concretely intentional, which is actually what makes He Is Lying so compelling; it feels like something uncovered, forgotten until now, left to rot in an ancient archive for so long that all traces of humanity have long since dissipated, leaving only a passive, dispassionate document behind. Layers clash and chafe without much, if any concern for one another; fragments repeat incessantly and imperfectly like a badly damaged record left running on an old turntable; haunting undercurrents lurk underneath the colorful garbage. A superb release, constructed so as to be artfully, and even rivetingly lifeless.

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