Wahn - Drifted Vol. 1

Released: June 5

Drawing on the deepest parts of IDM and glitch, French producer Wahn's latest album is a sprawling twelve tracks of darkly-tinted electronic compositions that range from steady trance-inducing beats to layered ambiances to difficult to classify noise laden soundscapes. The variety here is impressive as it touches on all different kinds of moods and settings, but it also manages to keep a unifying thread of a dark fogginess that can be felt on each track. "Polynomial" opens up the album with a bit of a blend between all of these themes and an overall cinematic feel. Quick melodies on piano race around with a certain tension that is bolstered by a minimalist set of percussion that heavily centers on a steadily repeating strike that makes it feel like the opening theme to a thriller that just hit theaters. The second track "Ghosts Home" follows in this theme, keeping the level of tension up. 

We get a slight break with "Gloomhaven" which takes the same idea but makes things a bit more erratic in its approach. The steady tension-building strike only stays for part of the song, disappearing and giving air to the delicate keys. It still has that dark hue about it, but it relaxes this motif in favor of lighter synths and less heavy hits but also utilizing uncanny sounds that swirl around the listener. "Broken Watch" is one of my favorite tracks on here because it is the first instance of Wahn's foregoing much of the rhythmic structures present in the previous tracks and uses percussive textures to create a kind of glitch-y ambient soundscape with drifting drones with these slightly harsh noises that puncture the otherwise static and calmed drones of the track. 

Near the end, we get another track that plays on this theme with "Dry Earth Ground." But this one gives much more focus on the drones with deep and dark rumblings that are only offset by the smallest bits of twinkling keys that trail off into a synthesized distance. It's not quite horror movie kind of stuff, but it certainly pushes towards that boundary as it gives a slight sense of unease. The final track feels like something of a return to the beginning ans the tense strikes return and and almost Twilight Zone-esque melody plays out, leaving us hanging on a note that feels ill at ease. The level of unease that permeates this album is excellent and tightly executed. There is never a sense that it is trying, rather it feels as though the cinematic nervousness develops naturally. It's rather wonderful. 


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