WWWings drop brutal nightmarish post-internet music on the masses from the Russian motherland
WWWings drop some new, often revelatory track on their Soundcloud site at a dizzying rate of once or twice a week. They’ve had a couple of EP-ish releases as well, but Phoenix represents their first attempt to bottle all that momentum into an album format.
Their style of music is tricky to formalize into larger statements. Their logo and cover art presumes the sanguinary façade of metal band, but the music inside is something apart from gruff vocals and doom-laden riffage. The title provides some hints, as this is post-internet music, one which would allow three disparate younglings scattered across Russia and its feuded neighbor Ukraine to unite to make something bold, experimental, and brutal. That this somewhat oppressive territory is quickly becoming a home to some of the world’s best new music, from the neon bliss of 813 to the dark, austere techno of Opal Tapes’s exquisite recent U S S R (Ur Social Status Resistance) compilation is tertiary. WWWings feels right at home in nowhere virtual space of web 0.0, plucking and tearing its way through the digital noise, tearing off pieces as it goes.
WWWings’s music on the surface seems to tag itself to the nu-grime/experimental dancefloor scene associated with labels like Purple Tape Pedigree, HER, Crazylegs, and Gobstopper. Akin to those peers, WWWings ensnares the violence of power electronic into short staccato bursts and maneuvers the menacing dread of trap music into a neverending transition of varied contortions. To call it dehumanized is to exactly get to the point of it, but to call it inorganic would miss the raw, animalistic ways in which it grazes and attacks. Just as likeminded composers too artsy for the clubs like Arca, Amnesia Scanner, Chino Amobi, and Oneohtrix Point Never piecemeal a distantiated sense of culture from spectacle film trailers, video game segues, and obscure CD-ROM demos, WWWings at their best sounds like a sentient CPU struggling to be, ripping out orifices and snapping on limbs wherever it can.
When the German producer M.E.S.H. attempted to expand his impressive singles in this milieu into a long player with last year’s intriguing but disappointing Piteous Gate, he did so by pretty much abandoning any aspirations to massive hulking stabs of sound. WWWings does not take that approach, but there is a distinct lack of negative space on the opening tracks of Phoenix. By the time, WWWings really begins to deliver the headbanger/brainrattler goods on “Pyro”, the listener has become naturalized within the dystopian environment they’ve created. The result of this creeping easement is that the intensity of some of the album’s better tracks does not grip as strongly as if the songs had remained individual concoctions unassumingly unleashed into your SoundCloud feed.
That said,Phoenix has a backloaded feel to it. Its best moments, found on cuts like “Infinity” and “Ignite”, absolutely rip the listener’s cochlea to shreds. And for every sanguinary visceral thrill, there’s a moment of touching delicacy or operatic grace to stage it as prepared chaos. Like their Euro-American peers too, it should not be mistaken that WWWings’s debut is a principally rhythmic affair, even if that doesn’t translate to exact 1:1 club gyrations. Phoenix can transform from a chilly cool vibe to a rollercoaster jolt in ways that don’t seem forced, but instead play off of the tension that was building while that chill trickled up the listener’s spine. “Ashes” gradually gradients from a wobbly brostep-style fix to a blistering feedback assault, never sounding like a rewind to 2008 in the process, and its cathartic wail is earned in the brooding dread it creates in the song’s first half.
Phoenix has a definite trajectory and a calculated flow, but it might be best experienced as much music likely is these days- shuffled into the din of a larger playlist of its forebears and its contemporaneous cultural collagists. It’s not that it’s best consumed in small doses, but that one can begin to develop a tolerance, losing touch with just how gorgeous these distilled fragments can appear as they’re lurking or stabbing at you menacingly.