|irr. app. (ext.)
CD HMS 016
irr. app. (ext.)
CD EIE 006
irr. app. (ext.)
CD HMS 002
by Adrian Dziewanski
The music of irr.app.(ext.) is not to be tackled lightly. When listened too, it's potent qualities burrow into your skin and sink deep inside your bones and stay there, altering your biological make-up forever. It's not exactly a Cinderella story that Waldron's music is finally being heard, simply because it will probably never grace the ears of those who should really be paying attention. But it is just recognition for a highly talented sound maker who for years has had terrible luck getting his music on the map due to a string of collapsed record agreements and just all around bad luck.
I can't say so for sure, but judging by the spectrum in which Waldron decides to involve himself artistically and by slowly piecing together bits of his personality revealed to me in reviews, I can only assume that he is a modest man, a bit eccentric maybe (if anything, a redeeming quality), but most likely modest. Thus, the conclusion that early thwarted attempts at recognition only acted as a catalyst to the man's musical production, is a conclusion I would be inclined to myself recognize as being true. Plausibly speaking, Waldron most likely started making music for his own benefit and not for any grandiose, megalomaniacal motives. Thus, I am among those who are ecstatic to see his music slowly become available through labels like Helen Scarsdale, Beta-lactam Ring and Waldron's own Errata In Excelsus. Besides, this shit is just too good to remain in hiding.
Irr.app.(ext.)’s output has been relatively unprolific since releases of his started to surface in the late nineties, though some would probably argue that 20 albums to your name is far from unprolific. Somewhere along that time line or maybe much before it Waldron became interested in the works of the Austrian-American Psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. His studies eventually influencing him to create what he would call the Orgonosis* trilogy, each work seemingly alluding to a major Reichian concept while still maintaining sonic cohesion in respect to the trilogy. The continuity amongst these explorations could have easily turned divergent or convoluted in lesser hands, yet the focused entity of irr.app.(ext.) manages to steer well clear of such tragedies. Over eight years in the making, Ozeanische Gefuhle, Cosmic Superimposition and Kreiselwelle were well worth the wait.
*An extension of the Freudian concept libido, Orgone was a term Reich used to describe what he thought was a sub-cellular bioenergetic force lying within all things; a “primordial cosmic energy” responsible for basically everything in the Universe. He also believed that Orgone could be concentrated in large capacitors called Orgone Accumulators that he claimed if used, could be advantageous for curing illness among other things. The press however, regarded his accumulators as giant sex boxes that induced uncontrollable hard ons. Fun.
The first and perhaps most outstanding piece of this triptych, Ozeanische Gefühle is an impeccably focused lesson in dronology. The title, roughly translated as "Oceanic Feeling," is a term used by Reich to describe the healthy relations between organisms and the world around them, the energy flowing like a spiral from the middle outwards, a pattern that has been readily observed by thinkers as holding varying degrees of cosmic importance. Waldron deftly translates this concept of symbiotic harmony into musical form using a plethora of instrumentation and field recordings without ever suffocating the mood. As if transcribing the pace of nature, "one listen to the record will reveal that Waldron has somehow recorded life and placed it on a compact disc." (Last line quoted from the Brainwashed review of the album)
Resonant drones, wooden creaks, clanging bells and countless other sources tip toe and weave into one another, often so subtly that it's hard to pin point their initial introductions, bringing to mind a more twisted East of the Sun. The work undulates and ventures into many spectrums of sound. And it is the flawless transitioning from these spectrums and the subtle mini climaxes within these spectrums that separate this work above others like it. Take for example the introduction of the mechanized whir of a Wurlitzer organ at about the 38 minute mark, blown out tones meander their way through the decompressed chimes of Tibetan bowls and resonant bells, a flawless conclusion to the epic 42 minute opener. Suddenly, the organ is severed and the track decays into celestial beginnings giving way to the 16 minute The Demiurge's Presumption, a complimentary work that concludes this hushed masterpiece. An Absolutely Essential Album.
The second in this three parter, Cosmic Superimposition is a revisitation of the source material used in Ozeanische Gefuhle, bent, unraveled and reconfigured, then wrapped around five field recordings made during five different periods of the day over five consecutive days in November 2004. The result is a lusher album that, while at times fails to elicit the same consistency of controlled detail as Ozeanische.. and Kreiselwelle, still manages to be jaw dropping through the use of tonal layering and more conventional instrumentation (the use of a hand drum rhythm for instance). The 'Cosmic Superimposition' that the title refers to is again a Reichian adopted term that beckons cosmological interconnectivity. Particularly, the superimposition of natural energies as a fundamental principle in the way the things in the World behave, operate, and interact with each other. Decifering for the connection between the philosophy and the music may seem a daunting task, but as the album diminishes into a trickling water hole recording you may be struck with the thought that maybe it's all just like a sunset and I don't have to tear my hair out over what it means. Or... you can tear your hair out over what it means. The choice is yours.
The final installment in this epic trilogy, Kreiselwelle is again a reinterpretation of the source field recordings used in both Ozeanische Gefuhle and Cosmic Superimposition. This time around though Waldron limited himself to using only mechanized (toy?) objects and recorded sources with spiraling origins: springs, lamp shades, circulating air, ocean waves, etc... Seems fitting for an album with a title that translates as "Spiral Wave." It's impressive the types of textures that Waldron is able to conjure with what seems like quite a scarce sound palette at hand. It is true that the best musicians are the ones who can make incredible music out of nothing, or almost nothing. I've even come to find in my own musical dabbling that by restricting myself to certain instruments or techniques I've been better able to truly explore the full spectrum of a given sound or instrument, rather than being satisfied with whatever moan or groan I can coax from something on first try and then just as quickly move on. By way of this notion of less is more Kreiselwelle succeeds in it's explorations of richly spewed transforming soundscapes rife with sonic activity: fluttering phrases giving way to organic tones, subdued chimes and distant dronings, rusting saw blades clanging into each other underwater while a barrel of detritus awaits it's turn to get thrown in the mix. Everything sounding so alive, always churning, but never sticking around long enough to be unmasked. A fantastic end to this mysterious yet epic trilogy and one of the best albums I've heard this year.