Painted Girl - Familiar Trees of the North West
Familiar Trees of the North West
May 22, 2022
In many ways, the artist behind Wurrm is a triple threat. High Jon The Conqueror showcases the creator in a light all of his own, in which he released pristine and infectious dub tracks. Rukus is also a creation that bares the mark of this particular producer, an atmospheric dub duo, combining traditional reggae and dancehall musicality with a masterful production sensibility. These two projects in and of themselves illustrate a tremendous amount of effort and attention to detail.
In a move that may seem unmethodical to some, the creator of High Jon The Conqueror and co-creator of Rukus presents Wurrm, a project without the heavy rolling percussion of the two projects prior.
Acting as a salve from the world of dance music production, Wurrm allows the artist to delve into pure sound design. Often finding a home for these rich atmospheres in the broad boundaries of a Future Garage sound, Six Modes departs even from that. What is unleashed in the new EP is a completely limitless sonic experience.
Nest begins the EP. Heady crackles of feedback spread across the floor of the soundscape. A chorus of strings and pads flow through the scene, providing a warm glow. Light rain can be heard, imbuing a sense of melancholic serenity as the scene begins to fully open itself up to the listener. A graceful combination of world-building and musicality is birthed. The listener is alone in a tower block flat stairwell, watching a light shower catch against the omnipresent sun on a withering summer morning. A patient production style that is a world away from projects before it, the sonic image glows with an orange hue from time to time. Wurrm lets sounds drift toward the listener, only for them to fade back into the damp, glistening euphoria. Newly spawned pads lay softly down on top of others creating a choral pool of strings. The track truly is mesmerising and emotive.
Reduced Movement begins again with characterless background noise. Light movements against some sort metal entity echo endlessly, the sounds of traversing a hallowed cityscape are presented, only to be lost to the endless reverberations and echoes of a troubled recollection. The undulations in the melody, as well as the background, are pristine and faultless. Each shift in note is washed out but audible, each movement in the landscape is simultaneously clear yet cloaked in mysticism. The glitching echoed sounds meld a sense of dark reality with corrupted electronic processing. Worlds away from the creator’s previous works, but with all the skill and confidence still very much intact.
Uncertain Times brings a cacophony of sinister bells, some ringing out into the cold soundscape, some reversed, swallowing themselves abruptly. A bed of austere sound design is created. A lack of background noise in the track, Wurrm interjects with a light fizzling instead to cushion the listener. Haunting sound bites interject suddenly, creating a much more staccato texture then the tracks before. It’s almost as if we are listening to a diseased cityscape on life support. The dissonant clanging, the sporadic fuzzy recordings almost sounding like laboured breathing, the cold withering collage of bells. All of these elements submerge the listener entirely.
River Stairs brings field recording to the fore once more. Again, a rain-stricken tower block careers into view. You can almost smell the moist air as more flawless strings seep into the atmosphere. Wurrm creates these scenes like an obsessive architect. He moulds solid structural texture with amorphous, ethereal sound. The string sounds soothe the wet landscape before us. The high-pitched squealing of a bird or small animal conjures images of new life, before being dashed toward the echoing wind. We are positioned between a harrowing, gaping precipice, and the warmth of the undulating tones Wurrm breathes into the track. The warmth certainly wins out in this instance, we are lulled toward the end by a reassuring pad sound.
Trading Eights in the City Centre cracks and bubbles from the very beginning. Distant sounds trickle toward us, subtle sound design brings a familiar scene into focus. The moaning string that supplies the frame of the track does not relent. Small percussive motifs bleed out of what seem to be incidental sound, the whole atmosphere is rife with musicality as Wurrm floats his hand back over proceedings, bringing the gurgling string to bloom once again.
Signals finishes off the EP. A timid sound bursts into life. A stirring noise slowly rises to the fore, the confident strings that Wurrm has relied upon have not lost any of their power. A melodic sequence echoes from them, wavering slightly as it hovers past us. No image of a city or scene, just the slow movements of the sound, humming loudly and at points passing right by us. The listener, coexists peacefully with these noises at this point. In this closing track they seem to fizzle with the heat they have contracted in the last few tracks. A low sound glides in at one point, bringing a intense collage to the front of the mix. The same longing is there that exists on Wurmm’s previous works under the same moniker, but this time with a limitless capability and heart-wrenching structure.
As the last track draws to a close the listener reflects on the heady, intense experience the EP has provided. With all of the mastery of Rukus and High Jon, Six Modes presents a stark and sometimes troubling landscape as well as an undeniable brilliance. The artist instinctively pushes sentimental and symbolic sounds to prominence whilst also assuming a confident and assured methodology. His talent is undeniable, the atmosphere is unwavering, and the experience is unique. Six Modes is truly touching and transcends any set genre or classification.
Listen in full/purchase here: https://wurrm.bandcamp.com/album/six-modes