13 Mar 11 | Re: Congenial category-stretching
It’s important to recognise that a wig-out isn’t just a really long song. To my knowledge a formal definition has never been attempted, but usually you know when you hear it. A typical wig-out will usually contain some or all of: directionless soloing, peculiar effects, repetition, noise, abandonment of proper song structure, and general disregard for all but fully committed listeners. But I’m sure examples exist that have few or none of these. Context is important, but it’s not everything. You will have to decide for yourself as I write about this week’s possible wig-out, which is:
Acolyte by Delphic Listen and discern.
This euphoric wig-out (or is it?) is taken from the album of the same name by the newish band Delphic. Immediately we run into further categorisation problems: in a world where the term Indie has lost all meaning, Delphic are pretty clearly an indie band: from Manchester, three blokes, press like them, public don’t seem to, use guitars but have dance influence, and so on. However, they stretch that definition further than the Doves or New Order or the Stone Roses ever did and, at times, dive so far into dance that they are in danger of growing gills and permanently setting up home under the briney, ravey blue sea.
This is one of those times.
The track starts with ebbing and flowing soft synthy sounds and wobbly bits - a long intro that’s a bit like a 2010 version of Marvellous by the Lightning Seeds. It suddenly springs into action bang on one minute, with drums and all manner of electro excitement and a throbbing bass, then a trance drumroll and... back to the lazy wibbling. For a bit. The real beats start back up around two minutes, cueing up nearly six minutes of blissful, pulsing electronic sounds in several phases.
It is instrumental, apart from oooohs and aaaahs just below the main keyboard stabs and scales, and a recurring, hard-to-hear line that sounds like “is such a thrill”. It fades up and down, but the drums keep driving, different elements and sequences drop in and out, and my head nods and my hands go up in the air and I reminisce about big beat until nearly eight minutes in it all stops again and gives way to a bit of tinkling over a bass throb, which eventually flows away. A nice touch is that this comes in the very middle of the album, making a nice theoretical end-of-side-one - something to treasure in the digital era.
So the track’s great and long and driving and danceable. The elephant in the room here, as you’ll have noticed if you’re listening, is that it sounds rather a lot like Star Guitar by the Chemical Brothers. It has that same train-window feel to it, that sense of a journey to a special kind of place. More than a wig-out, I suppose it sounds like a Chemical Brothers remix of an indie track, except that the band has made it themselves. But it will be intriguing to see how it looks through the prism of wig-out criteria, so let’s peer in.
What’s happening after three minutes, when Beyonce is soon to take her wig off (but not out)? That vocal line has just surfaced, about a twelfth of the way through the main ravey bit.
Time to rate this quasi-wig-out:
Total wig-out points: 13. Just about saved, I think, by its position on the record. Let’s hope they get their wig on a bit more when they play it live.
Posted by ASH VALE at 22:56