Review: Nicolas Wiese – Living Theory Without Anecdotes

It opens with a chime that resists a smooth and swift decay, slurping up in volume again to resonate for as long as it can, as though cherishing every nanosecond of existence in the doorway to silence and death. Much of Living Theory Without Anecdotes plays with sound in this way. It is generously perpetuated, ignoring natural and expected volume curves to linger and even resurge back to its most intense of vibration; sustaining momentum like a creaking wheel, stalling over cobbled remnants of jittery found sound and hauling itself over a crooked path of dissonant string chords. Its elements overlap – silence yawns in the background, looming over those moments at which Living Theory Without Anecdotes is reduced to a solitary sonic curiosity, and scampering off when those small pockets of contemplation suddenly attract hoardes of rowdy, colliding percussion and frictional noises.

It’s an uncomfortable and inorganic record in these respects, and yet Wiese’s hand and mouth are not entirely inaudible. Gasps of human breath (or something similar – an asthma attack through a straw) scatter all over “Subfertile” like rodents, while humming strings allude to human error in their scraping, quivering imperfection. Even when “Elefant” takes the music to a state of unnatural panic – with the sounds of flying saucers and chopped up piano pieces – there are little passing thoughts of hip hop rhythms, tugging the piece out of its erratic abstraction and placing it within a spectrum of musical reference. It’s a record that hides its maker somewhere within its fragmentation and source-mashing collage, yet he’s still there somewhere – birthing sound and sustaining it, a mere shadow of a reflection initiating divine sonic intervention.