The Waveform Generator / Self-Released – September 26th, 2014
An Interesting Life doesn’t waste any time getting started – any kitsch you or I may have detected in MrWimmer’s last big release, Once More Unto the Breach, is immediately absent here. This release is a strange blend of bebop, crooning, and fusion mixed with the pulsing glitz of 8-bit sounds and set brazenly in a post-apocalyptic world, similar to that in Sufjan’s Age of Adz – and somehow it all works together effortlessly. The lead-off track “Golden” gets going with off-kilter drums and swirling bursts of electronic sounds, accompanied by the electric guitar chops of Shawn Savoie. It smoothly transitions right into “Your Way,” which is the heaviest, most sinister track of the bunch (and of any I’ve heard from MrWimmer.) Savoie’s guitar abilities are again on display in this track – the solos are nasty, but his real effect comes from the weight and force that he adds to the track in its latter half. These first three songs, for all their electronic stylings, remain firmly-rooted in jazz tradition. “My Only” starts with the ‘spang-a-lang’ of a synthesized ride cymbal, incorporates noodling that wouldn’t be unusual to hear on a saxophone, and even shifts into a ragtime feel before ending in half-time.
If you’re familiar with the previous work of MrWimmer, you’ll likely feel a little more familiar with the latter half of this release. Stylistically, “How Long” would not have been out of place, had it been included as a part of Once More, but it certainly brings a more mature harmonic structure to the game – not to mention a great chorus. “Study” is a nearly-five-minute instrumental track that alternates between synth lines and fluctuating textures, ending with a guitar solo and a chromatic quasi-psychedelic outro. The title track starts with a fairly sparse pairing of electronic loops and piano before Wimmer’s voice is added – this song feels more intimate than any of the others on the album, and certainly serves well as the final track of the release.
I hesitate to call this release an EP – though it only lasts six songs and thirty minutes, it has the continuity, substance, and personality to make it a real, substantial release. Perhaps you’re a little hesitant to give chiptune music a try, but I’d urge you to reconsider. Like his releases that came before it, An Interesting Life doesn’t use chiptuning as a gimmick, but simply as a way to make some incredible music. And while I certainly enjoyed the material that preceded it, the sounds here are unabashed, highly crafted, and easily the strongest I’ve heard from MrWimmer yet.
Tracks I Liked? Golden!!, Your Way!!!, My Only!, How Long!!, Study!, An Interesting Life!
Ben Southworth – February 20th, 2015 – Park Avenue
Last year when I had MrWimmer on WRFL-Live I had a lot of questions to ask him about what exactly went into making his music. To oversimplify things, he has a program that allows him to access the soundcard on his little yellow Gameboy Color, and with that program he can use the sounds it contains to put together entire songs. Pairing these plotted-out tracks from the Gameboy with his voice and guitar makes not only for a unique sound, but one that mixes really well. Once More Unto the Breach is MrWimmer’s most elaborate and lengthy release yet and tells the story of the dreams of a young girl in her trips away from the things that made her sad. Opening with a track densely packed with chiptuning, the album continues along in a way that really validates the claim that the album is set in some sort of dream land. Throughout the album, Wimmer moves through all sorts of sounds and genres, giving the feeling that the album spans several disparate dreams – the fourth track, “I’m Not That Kind of Boy,” juxtaposes the sort of writing you’d hear in an old country/western movie with the comparatively bloops and bips of the Gameboy. The thing about this album, though, is that even without its “gimmick” of using chiptuning as its foundation, it would stand strongly as a great album on the songwriting and musicality alone. What takes the album to an even higher level, I guess, is that it explores such an interesting and relatively unknown genre and medium – and cooler yet, we’ve got him right here in Lexington.
Tracks I Liked: She Closes Her Eyes!!, Dreamzzz!, I’m Not That Kind of Boy!!, October!!!, Blasted Field!, Once More Unto the Breach!!, This is Why We Can’t Have New Things!!!
– Ben Southworth