Artist: Mike Weis
Title Of Album: Loop Current/Raft
Year Of Release: 2011
Label: Barge Recordings / BRG010
Genre: Ambient, Abstract, Drone
Total Time: 39:39 min
Format: Mp3 / FLAC (tracks +.cue, log-file)
Quality: CBR 320 kbps / Lossless
Total Size: 100 mb / 229 mb
Mike Weis is no stranger to the American indie/experimental music scene. He▓s been the percussionist and drummer for the highly respected Chicago outfit Zelienople for the better part of the last decade, and has collaborated with such esteemed underground luminaries as Scott Tuma, The North Sea, Xela (John Twells), and Jasper TX. With so many feathers in his proverbial cap, it▓s hard to believe that this is Mike▓s first solo outing. Upon the very first listen to Loop Current/Raft it becomes clear that Mr. Weis is much more than just another hired gun. The compositions on Loop Current/Raft breathe a singular vision of percussion as centerpiece to a multilayered aural canvas. Mike▓s drums are shrouded in billowy clouds of ambient sound and muted synthetic drones. Tribal rhythms glean in and out of focus as sheets of bells, claves, bowed cymbals, and rattles dance over a hazy backdrop of manipulated field recordings, short wave radio samples, and found sounds. There is a subtle yet unmistakably eastern feel to the recordings. Mike▓s training in West African polyrhythmic drumming as well Korean Pungmul drumming coupled with his foundation of traditional western ▒rock▓ percussion patterns√birth an almost neo-gothic gamelan style. This inspired approach produces a recording that is both compelling and mesmerizing. ┘
There▓s a sense of dread to everything percussionist Mike Weis gets involved with. As percussionist/drummer for Chicago experimentalists Zelienople, Weis performs a bleak yet bold version of slow-core with an authentically ⌠timeless■ vibe of 90s post rock many other acts try too hard to imitate. Psych-rock and blues act as the springboard for the trio▓s pieces, but the execution is a charred and abandoned wasteland far removed from familiar characteristics those genres. Weis▓ collaborations with Scott Tuma (both their Taradiddle LP and both albums with Zelienople member Matt Christensen as Good Stuff House) furthered the expansive atmospheres but drew largely from Americana and acoustic textures without losing the blackened haze. Loop Current / Raft, Weis▓ debut solo, finds the percussionist simplifying his sonic palette while amplifying his expansive sound. The album ebbs, flows, rises, falls, crashes, heaves, and eventually consumes, making the aquatic title conjure a stranded-in-the-middle-of-a-fucking-ocean-on-a-raft-in-pitch-black-dark vibe than a pleasant float down a lazy river in an inner-tube. The theme of oceanic danger was apparently on Weis▓ mind when composing the album as a result of the BP oil leak and its effects on the coastline and Atlantic ocean.
⌠Loop Current, part 1″ opens unassumingly enough with low-end rumbles, warbled transmissions on a dying radio, and a soft tone pattern reminiscent of Windy & Carl▓s more tender moments or Donnacha Costello▓s ⌠Slowly Sinking In.■ Those low-end rumbles quickly swell into muted bass percussion, stormy cymbals, chimes and gongs. It▓s moments like this where Weis could have launched into a monotonous drum solo disguised as technical improvisation, but the piece unravels to a much more affecting space. The percussion takes a breath for a moment before opening into an (almost) drum circle-like pummeling. At higher volumes, the droning beat blurs into a choppy line of kicks. It▓s ambient music for drummers. ⌠Loop Current, part 2″ is a slower affair that draws on Weis▓ background of propulsive West African polyrhythms that slowly shuffles along with multiple cycles of wobbling vibrations.
The album▓s second half is dedicated to the three parts of ⌠Raft,■ a piece that▓s a bit more grounded but no less unsettling than ⌠Loop Current.■ Incorporating more massive sheets of processed cymbals and percussion, ⌠Raft, part 1″ is a disorienting hike with upside-down bits of hammered gongs and feedbacked-chimes. Weis▓ mastery of atmosphere with austere arrangements reveals itself further with ⌠Raft, part 2,■ a tune that highlights a solemn, meandering guitar played in the Beat Style of David Daniell. All in all, Mike Weis▓ solo debut is a landmark of percussion-centric albums, and yet another coup for Barge Recordings.
1.) Loop Current, part 1
2.) Loop Current, part 2
3.) Loop Current, part 3
4.) Raft, part 1
5.) Raft, part 2
6.) Raft, part 3
:: LOSSLESS ::
:: CBR 320 kbps ::