January 11, 2018
WILDERMAN SHARES “COG” TRACK & VIDEO VIA BROOKLYN VEGAN NEW LP ARTIFICE OUT APRIL 20TH
“With Gungor’s emotive voice and the widescreen, rhythmic sonics, there’s an early-’80s Peter Gabriel vibe going on here.”
– Brooklyn Vegan
“Gungor’s vocals yield a Peter Gabriel-like considered soul. Altogether, there’s a lush, transportive vibe both digital and tactile.”
– Cool Hunting
“Rob Gungor’s new Wilderman record deals with the increasing rift between lived experience and its digital approximation.”
Brooklyn Vegan has premiered Wilderman’s new track “Cog,” and its accompanying video. “Cog” is the first single off Wilderman’s forthcoming LP, Artifice, due out April 20th, which features Andy Stack of Wye Oak and McKenzie Smith of Midlake. The video for the new single, “Cog”, features morphing images of “Fake Celebrities” – an Nvidia experiment of algorithmic visualizations via generated adversarial networks (GANs), highlighting our global homogenization and blurring of self and cultural identities.
In some ways it might seem counterintuitive that Rob Gungor’s new Wilderman record deals with the increasing rift between lived experience and its digital approximation, given Gungor’s current base of operations in Marfa, Texas. Marfa is about as far as one can get — both metaphorically and literally — from coastal tech capitals, a place where a strong wind can knock the whole town offline for hours. Gungor and his partner Simone Rubi moved here in 2013 to start a decidedly low-fi cafe, Do Your Thing, where the patient customer will be rewarded with some of the finest coffee the Southwest has to offer.
But it’s more complicated than that, as a conversation with Gungor about the album’s recording revealed one sunny July afternoon. A deeper listen to Artifice, this new collection of yearning, polyrhythmic pop music, reveals the influence of other unexpected intersections: the digital African psychedelia explored by David Byrne, Talking Heads, and Brian Eno, the cut-and-pasted township anthems of Paul Simon’s Graceland, and the quiet resonance of Donald Judd’s permanently installed works.
Gungor decamped from Marfa to the legendary Sonic Ranch — a residential studio embedded in Chihuahuan desert, just outside of the border town of Tornillo, to start the jam sessions that would eventually become Artifice. Sonic Ranch has a reputation for producing such fascinating albums as this one, it has served as the incubator for tremendous records from Animal Collective, Beach House, The Mountain Goats, and Swans, among many others.
The list of players on the record includes members of the burgeoning Marfa community (Andy Stack of Wye Oak) old friend John Arndt (The Brilliance), Gungor’s Grammy-nominated brother Michael, McKenzie Smith (Midlake), Jeremy Harris, and Andrew McGuire. Hugo Nicholson (Radiohead, Father John Misty, Primal Scream) sat in as engineer.
Gungor and his band spent a week at Sonic Ranch taking a hybrid of processes used for Remain in Light and Graceland as a blueprint. They recorded live improvisations with the idea in mind that Gungor would later recombine and rearrange these sounds into tangible songs. Sessions happened in a call-and-response mode, with Gungor looping a phrase on synth, and then being passed as a musical chalice through the circle of electric guitar, the percussion and drum players and finally back to Gungor to meditate on in his home studio. The end result is a complex work of digital existentialism that brings to mind Peter Gabriel’s Passion work, Joel Ford and Daniel Lopatin’s Games project and any number of pop groups that are undergirded with deep sociopolitical concerns.