LWW is none other than Portland, Oregon's Luke Wyland with a three-lettered moniker describing his explorations in joyous repetition and softly-stated minimalism. Harsh vowels need not apply, but some rounded ones may accidentally appear. The project has already acquired the Nils Frahm / Piano Day seal of approval for the track 'PNO' (told you) which made the Frahm official PD playlist this year. A record on which Wyland has allowed unadorned, unembellished single takes to form and evolve naturally. Which is cool. LP on the always reliable Leaf Label.
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This is nice. Portland, Oregon’s Luke Wyland is here with a newie and it’s a full-length of gorgeousness. The guy who used to sing and do lots of other stuff with the rock band AU that he formed a decade or so ago, is singing and doing more stuff on his own, under the LWW handle. All the above -- including this one here called ‘3PE’ on vinly LP -- are available under the shade of a bay tree on the venerable Leaf label, by the way.
The record opens with what sounds like an organ imitating an oncoming train, before its associated snake-charming drones unfurl and coalesce to enchant and summon up some Eastern, Alice Coltrane-type spiritual vibes. Then Wyland’s guitar does a kind of Ry Cooder (Paris, Texas) thing that gels with his voice to bring home a filmic dusty-desert feeling. Then it builds into a proper (post-)rocker. Next track, ‘P&B’ with its simple, repeated distorted guitar motif and mini-pauses, with overlaid improvisation, recalls Susumu Yokota; in other words, it’s very lovely indeed. Wyland’s guitar twanging is a pure joy to find washing over you.
It does get more experimental, elliptical and oblique, as if to disclaim things don’t always have to be pretty; bloopy and bonkers electronics demand your attention over gently pulsing yet insistent keyboards, on ‘DTE’. It kinda reminds me a little of Matthew Bourne’s moogmemory project, what with its throughline in nifty key jaunts and all. Then there are the gloriously joyful frivolities in minimalist composition and organic improvisation. On ‘PNO’ (this is the one given the Frahm thumbs-up; he included the track on his Piano Day playlist, if you’re curious), pianos and organs combine under Wyland’s guidance to channel Steve Reich, Thelonious Monk and… Nils Frahm, all at the same time. And it’s amazing. Can’t get enough of that guitar, though, and thankfully it’s back and sounding as sultry as ever, on ‘LSP’. There’s even some Moondog-inspired percussion to close out the record, on ‘PRC’.
An undeniably weird but coherent and often sublime LP that doesn’t so much blur the lines between minimalism, free improvisation and experimental rock so much as to drop a bottle of white paint all over them and say, “Make what you want out of that! I’ve done my bit and it was one heckuva blast!”
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- 3PE by LWW
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