Tuesday, February 26, 2013

WaMü- Viafuckt (2012)


          WaMü seem to succeed in functioning within the sphere of organized chaos.  The Seattle noise rock/free improvisation group utilizes violin and alto saxophone along with more traditional rock instrumentation to make for a pulverizing wall of cacophonous sound.  In this respect, they share kinship with contemporaries Little Women, yet where the latter insist on carving out slight homages to their free jazz ancestors, WaMü insist on revitalizing the brutal punk aesthetic of their No Wave progenitors in a modern context.  This pulls more comparisons to bands like DNA and Mars, while Rachel LeBlanc’s shrilly vocals are reminiscent of Lydia Lunch and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks.  Yet, despite all the influence tracking and comparisons, WaMü do manage to craft a sound of their own on Viafuckt that thrives on the interplay between musicians and the willingness to shape their wall of noise into ebbing sections rather than punishing the listener from start to finish.
            Opener “Diane and the Deep Bore Tunnel” feels like a sick perversion of that iconic “Downtown New York” punk jazz aesthetic that blasts the listener from the beginning, yet mercifully gives way to slightly muted sections with plucking guitars and honking sax.  Swiftly, WaMü transitions to a two-minute improvisation with skewed, slanted violin strumming and backseat sax doodling.  This track displays the demented chemistry that exists within the band, as back and forths between sax and violin are as rewarding as they are dissonant.  Standout “Nisqually Death Rattle” expands the group’s sound with a collective improvisation that eventually collapses into a sinister build, and it in this moment that the band displays what it is that makes them special.  The entirety of Viafuckt feels like an assault on the senses, yet not every moment of the album is a twisted exercise in maximalism.  WaMü often follows loud sections with subtle yet foreboding quiet sections, then build, collapse, ebb, flow, and circle around these two relative extremes of sound all while maintaining a positively frightening tone throughout the entirety of the album.  Viafuckt is an intimidating album, but it accomplishes this through organized chaos that utilizes the entire spectrum of dynamics yet expertly remains threatening throughout.  Ultimately, WaMü has crafted a visceral listening experience that will both punch you in the face and give you goosebumps.  

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