Review: S. Wurm – God’s Love (self-released, Aug 6)

For the most part, the Bandcamp description of God’s Love has already done my job for me, eloquently introducing the new album from Alberta artist Magnus Tiesenhausen (as S. Wurm) abstractly as “a study of sequential precipices, the yearning singularity of fire, desire’s flaying and consuming spiral” and more concretely as “a composted composition: hollow stalks of solstice flower, the tallying of traincars, faltering documentation of field thaws, buoyant insect clouds, and northern-Albertan extractive industry captured by decaying third-rate tape equipment.” Thankfully, the music lives up to and beyond the expectations evoked by these words, delivered in two thirteenish-minute halves of bleak atmospherics, juxtapositions of gritty analog against digital clarity, and fleeting but dense swarms of intricate static noise. On “Ligularia (Horn of the Sun),” detailed insect-colony symphonies and low-end growl lay webbed groundwork for the track’s centerpiece element: what first sound like “Neukoln”-esque harsh saxophone laments but are actually produced with a single dandelion stalk. It’s funny that these blaring tones originate in the most organic of S. Wurm’s source materials, yet they often manifest as the most synthetic of sonic ingredients, clumsily clawing with (lo-)bit nails at the gain limits of the capture device. “(Slumped on Horseback) God’s Love” disguises itself as a relatively more stable meditation, slowly coagulating into a wet mass of graveyard-swamp electronics—think the halfway point between Yeast Culture’s IYS and Hermetic Plot, that Serrater tape I reviewed a few months ago—before tapering off to a bizarre coda, whose bizarre textural dissonance works well as a microcosm for what makes God’s Love so intriguing as a whole: its boundless eclecticism.