Intense, tranquil, warm, satisfactory.
These are just a handful of the adjectives one could use when describing the feelings that develop when listening to Hark, the EP (also available on cassette) from Tired Wires. The ambient music project from Joshua Cwintal is one of a few ambient released that we have reviewed on the blog this year, perhaps signifying a resurgence in the musical expression.
Like the others that we have heard this year, Cwintal’s Tired Wires is able to bring forth a depth and an emotional experience that needs no words.
From the onset, the seemingly vast array of instruments that Tired Wires employs are not entirely clear but maybe that is a choice. What results from the mysterious soundscape creation is an air of power that adds to the compelling nature of Hark. A challenging listen yes, but Tire Wires’ EP is ultimately a rewarding one.
“The Cartographer” begins slowly with swirling and airy noises only to rise and fall in a surge of emotions. Around the halfway point of the song, the mood darkens. Full of intensity, a light tinkling noise of what briefly sounds like a pot-turned-drum, is what breaks through the shroud.
“Murmur” is one of the few moments of Hark where the instrumentation is at its fullest and clearest. Rooted with a warm and almost eerie piano, the beginnings of “Murmur” feel like the rolling fog on the heels of an early morning sunset but a promisingly beautiful day is quickly smashed by 1:21’s thunderous note. Ushering in the rumbles of what will be an impressive storm.
There are very few places where listeners can come up for air out of Hark’s density and “The Archivist” is certainly not one of those points. A haunting background clattering is a seemingly small element of this song but after numerous listens, it’s still an element that you will be drawn to. What is that noise? Why is it there? What does it mean? (Apparently it also encourages existential questioning as well…)
Ending on a long, suitable for the ambient style, track, “The Luthier” continues the intensity of the EP but is able to fully draw out quick spells where those much needed gasps for air can happen. The emergence of a high sounding synth tone highlights the break from the shadows that fill Hark but it is in the sprawling final minute of the EP where a chaos envelops you. Sucking you back into an unknown abyss.
Get lost with Tired Wires.
Top Tracks: “The Cartographer,” “Murmur”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)