Reviews

Wesqk Coast
Clava

(OOH-sounds)

7/10

A follow-up to his former release, S.T.A.S.H., on OOH-sounds, enigmatic sound designer Wesqk Coast returns to the label with Clava, a delicately drawn-out escapade of ambisonics, anxious cadence and unforeseen composition. The album’s opening depicts a sense of tranquility and urgency tampering with latent drones, skittish polyphonic melodies and alluring arpeggiation. Maintaining a similar compositional aesthetic to S.T.A.S.H., what Clava does is leave behind the slightly overbearing grainy modulation and tinge of hyper-pop to produce an aural exhibit that is somewhat incomparable to anything else I have heard in recent times. Its beauty is positively enhanced by its off-kilter counterparts which are often a little jarring and dissonant, where this melodic incongruity encourages you to become more deeply acquainted with each sound and feeling. These techniques animate Wesqk Coast’s sound design and exemplify the damp, biotic field recordings moulded between piercing, metallic synthesis. 

Clava’s composition deviates from formulaic structures, rebellious and free from prejudice. For this reason the album opens itself up to a diverse listenership and transcends the confines of genre. It plays with the tension between the angelic and the chaotic – see the lush piano riff of ‘group’ which descends into brittle live drum samples to disrupt the tone of the track, or the sultry warped vocals of ‘advice’, broken up by gleaming polyrhythmic percussion (not to mention a meddlesome David Bowie sample). Although tough to choose a favourite, for each track carries a unique sustenance, ‘coring’ probes the crunchiest, most deafening corners of Wesqk Coast’s work whilst still carefully soundstaging an exquisite, prog-style guitar melody. It would be nice to sink back into the sharp experimental breakcore samples of S.T.A.S.H. that fuel a more club-ready charm, but I am firmly comfortable with the album’s lean towards meditative experimental electronics. The most important lesson we can take away from Clava is the beauty of balance.

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