Wharton Tiers: loops, field recordings
With a CV including alliances with the likes of Glenn Branca, Laurie Anderson and Whoopi Goldberg, Wharton Tiers’ sonic persona emerges as that of a man who can elect what to do without paying too much attention to what the arbiters of taste are going to say. Since Touching Extremes is not run by a “critic” but by a sound-producing stargazing savage who happens to get a kick out of loops, Mr. Tiers’ selection of systematic mini-soundtracks was quite cherished over here. Superduperlooper consists of six chapters basically revolving around the same criteria: repetition and/or heavy droning intersprinkled with repercussions of metropolitan ferment. Indeed the initial “Big Dog” – as amusing as it is – had me a little apprehensive before realizing that the orchestral gaudery exhibited by the piece is nothing but a sort of satirical preface to the substantial matters, made explicit by episodes such as “Cryptological Mathematician” and “Telescopic Echo Relay”, both founded on outstretched layers of hyper-distorted guitars (or perhaps their samples; in any case, the composer declares that he was born “in the year of the Stratocaster”, so you can see where his interests are mainly rooted). One figures Jeff Beck circa Who Else? dragged into a mechanism of temporal dilatation as the listener’s temples throb for the massive roar’s intrinsical patterns. “Primary Wave” and “Terminal Dumpster Juice” are more pulse-based, possessing equally flashy qualities that nevertheless don’t border on the “totally spiritless”, maintaining a sense of zippy vibration throughout. Let’s face it: I did not detect veritable elbow grease behind the small-scale compositional ambition of these tracks. However, if you need to disconnect the synapses for a while and just plunge inside a sea of harmonic racket and attractive overdrive this record will work fine enough, its mix of gung-ho exercising of studio gadgetry and absolute unpretentiousness pushing it far away from the sphere of sophisticated imbecility.