Good morrow and glad tidings my fair fellow Chip-citizens! This month, I’m pleased as punch to bring you a review of Mr. Alex Wimmer’s upcoming release via The Waveform Generators, “An interesting Life”! Additionally, thanks to modern technology, I had the distinct pleasure of getting a few minutes of face time with MrWimmer to learn a little bit about the album.
Was it worth it? In my opinion, yes. Hands down, yes. The way MrWimmer’s meshed his voice with a jazz fueled fusion of chips, synths, and other instruments glows with that venerable lounge singer style. So much so that after I finished my first listen, I honestly wanted to queue up some Sinatra.
Now, vocals typically imply that these tunes have lyrics. If you chose to engage in that little bit of applied logic, you’d be correct. I inquired with MrWimmer as to whether there was a narrative to the album. He responded that there was, and that it was preconceived. When asked about it, he responded: “I creatively refuse to answer the question.”
Out of respect for that response, this review will focus solely on the musical aspects of the album. The lyrics are left to you, the discerning listener, as a personal experience to enjoy for yourself.
Golden opens slowly and almost eerily. Mysterious enough to really capture my attention before the drums ushered in a more rapidly progressing track with a layering of instrumentation that requires multiple listens to truly appreciate. Then, just a bit shockingly, the track dropped away to a simple chip solo, returning to the mystery before fading out.
Your Way is the track that is my ‘must listen’ of the entire album. Its tempestuousness highlights just what MrWimmer’s musical talent is capable of. The track breaks apart sections that are almost hopeful and dreamy with jarring bursts of electric guitar and distorted vocals, all tied together by a bright set of arps.
My Only presents the listener between a variety of musical themes, and somehow manages to pull all of them together into a skillfully crafted listening experience. Given the tumultuous emotional content of the track, it is difficult to separate it from its lyrics, so I encourage the reader to take the time to appreciate the work MrWimmer has done here.
How Long stands out for its percussion and bass. The kicks and snares at the outset? Great. The triangle wave hiding in the track, occasionally peeking out to say hello? Heart warming. But the wood block and maracas that become audible towards the end cinch it all together. Bloody brilliant work.
Study is an exercise in the extended exploration of blending a wide variety of sounds and styles. While a backbone of chippy arps stretches the length of the song, the haunting synth and guitar work are what’s really showcased here. The first couple of listens, it is really worth focusing on them and hearing what they can be made to do in that regard. Afterward, listen again, because there is a plethora of ornamentation that is worth learning to pick out and appreciate.
An Interesting Life is an interesting close to the album. With its slowed tempo and melancholy chord composition, it seemed to be a definitive end to the album. Underneath that though, in the punchy percussion, ethereal musical flow, and the closing high notes, one could justify believing the story of the narrative begins anew as much as it ends here.
In the aftermath of the listening experience, I had asked MrWimmer about where he wanted to take his exploration of the jazz style. He told me that he started dabbling with jazz in the final few tracks of his last album, and he’s wanted to explore the style for quite awhile.
Now that he’s explored “more complex, weird and exciting” takes on the subject in this album, he has every intention to keep following this path. Make more music, make it better, more complex, more nuanced, and follow it all the way down the rabbit hole.
He made all of this happen with two copies of LSDJ, a few other instruments, and a literal pile of synths.
MrWimmer’s preferred approach is to lay the framework for a track using a single LSDJ unit (or other tracker), and then build upon that, adding in new layers of instrumentation until it is complete. With the exception of “My Only”, the lyrics were the final layer to be added. “My Only” also had the distinction of being completed just 20 minutes before the album’s final send off.
Those few other instruments? Predominantly they were comprised of Alex on keyboards, and his buddy Shawn Savoie on guitars. Shawn is an incredibly talented friend, as he also served as the recording engineer for this album. Due to Mr. Savoie’s phenomenal stockpile of luck, he found himself with unfettered access to a home studio for a week. He was so kind as to invite Alex to join him, and they utilized the time to put the album together.
This is an album definitely worth checking out. Grab it from them Waveform Generators, and It’ll probably spice up your life, expand your appreciation for the vastness that is the ChipRealm, and maybe even leave a warm feeling in your heart. When you’re done?
Get out there, spread the love, and make some chip!