Swiss artist WILDLIFE!’s wide-ranging exploration of sound has long been centered around dancehall and soundsystem culture in its various iterations. Since acquiring an MA in sound art, the Brooklyn-based artist – also operating as Samuel Riot – has shifted his focus towards more experimental sonic territories. He’s released two records of ambient and noise exercises under his Young Palace alter-ego, as well as the sinister “Patterns” EP on Mixpak. WILDLIFE! has also shown sound-installation work in Europe, Asia and the U.S. The past few years have seen him refine a distinct musical voice and sonic repertoire, defined by texturally complex compositions that explore the evocative and physical qualities of music.
Where “Patterns” was an anxiety-fueled study of the constraints and limitations of club music, WILDLIFE! leaves the club behind completely on “Anima,” his second release with Mixpak. “Anima” broadens the emotional spectrum of his previous work. The machinic, dystopian themes present on “Patterns” still live on here, but “Anima” harbors a more wistful melancholy, exploring subtler gestures and scintillating textures. The darkness is shot through with flashes of radiance and the liminal glitter of a new emotionality. Mysterious human-like sounds land like the shrapnel of teenage goth nostalgia, detuned pianos provide delight and discomfort in their grandeur, and ominous sonic bombardments put the finishing touches on WILDLIFE!’s otherworldly soundscapes.
Oscillating between moments of ambient bliss and traces of left field dancehall and hip-hop DNA, “Anima” remains a decisively genre-defying venture, an emotive and compelling listening experience.
“Anima” was presented with an accompanying installation at Studio 301 on July 15th 2017 in Brooklyn, NY. See an excerpt below: