Review: “AMDG” by Jair-Rohm Parker Wells

My review as featured on Klanggold. Many thanks to Andreas Usenbenz:

With the dawning of synthetic science and the promise of technologies birthing from collaborative efforts across the whole scientific spectrum, optimists are calling the 21st century onwards the potential age of convergence. The crops of once isolated fields bordered off from one another are now relentlessly cross-pollinating, blurring into dizzying collaborative networks and shared information. And with the barriers between genres brought down in “AMDG” from electric bassist and experimenter Jair-Rohm Parker Wells, an atmosphere of convergency is prominent throughout this release, Klanggold’s second after “Pelktron” by Nobile. Slightly reminiscent of the free-squelch of Interface’s Cycling 74 release “./swank” (which, like AMDG, also features heavily treated electric basses), this vibrant, multi-genre amalgamation comes from his own “Sun Room” studio in Stockholm…and the fruits of the time and care an artist can spend in their own studio (rather than rushing between funds and compromising through self-consciousness in someone else’s) are apparent here. From the solitary down-and-out rubberiness of For Peace (Would You Hug A Suicide Bomber?) and Libido Management to the autopanning cosmic pulses of Setentia Africanus for Karlheinz Stockhausen (a fitting tribute to the late electronic magus), this is physical music, full of head-swimming drones and wibbly-wobbly sounds. Ah, the solitary rubberiness of Libido Management, after which we then take a voyage home to the blissful cetaceanism of The Annexing of Jane. The sounds of AMDG are physical also in the sense that Parker Wells has been -interfaced- with his music through his electric basses (which have been modelled on and resynthesised via processors both hardware and software) and some furious knob-twiddling, rather than letting a programme run and morph with the occasional intervention or the painstaking editing of sound libraries. Of course, that is not to say any technique is superior to another, rather, that Parker Wells’ methods are refreshing, as is his aforementioned usage of both hardware and software in a world of hardware vs. software. AMDG also returns us to a time when synthesisers spoke to one another, as with the agitated chop-chop and rapidly changing dynamics of Lethal Beauty, reminiscent of Ligeti’s “Artikulation” or the quieter moments of Kraftwerk’s “Von Himmel Hoch” with their conversational qualities. If you do not let the exotic lure of opener ALM’s first several minutes fool you into any misguided ideas of what the rest of the album is like and instead keep an open mind throughout, AMDG will provide a listening experience fitting for today’s early 21st century and it’s promises…

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