Indigo Poirier (aka Wangled Teb) takes a major step forward with the release of their latest EP, ‘Earth’.
When I think of electronic based music, I often imagine a single musician alone in their creative space staring intently at an array of software windows skillfully arranged on a laptop screen. There’s usually a cup of coffee and an expensive set of headphones and maybe a couple of synths scattered about for good measure.
I’ve always pictured the writing and arranging of electronic music as a solitary practice even though in this neck of the woods there are more than a couple of electronic based projects that stand in complete contrast to this narrow interpretation (The Trick and Shrimp Ring immediately come to mind).
In the case of Fredericton-based musician Indigo Poirier (aka Wangled Teb), my mental picture was probably somewhat accurate on their earlier releases, but that’s all changed now. This week, Wangled Teb released their latest EP Earth (Robot Hunter Records), the second in a series of EP releases inspired by the four classical elements and their first to feature contributions by an impressive cast of guest musicians.
Simply put, Earth marks a big step forward for Poirier. The arrangements are their strongest to date, mixing the frantic percussive drive of breakcore with a series of powerful melodies that lead each of the EP’s six tracks in new and daring directions.
There’s a lot happening here and upon first listen I found some of the EP’s many melodic phrases to occasionally find themselves buried beneath one too many snare/bass combinations. But maybe that’s deliberate. Poirier’s use of rhythm to build tension is a big part of this release. Just when things are starting to get too dense through an overactive use of percussion, there is a pause, a moment to rest and a chance to catch our collective breath. At first I thought this was an unintended effect caused by a young musician’s inability to appreciate the importance of space in a composition. But after a few solid listens to Earth, I think it’s definitely deliberate and it’s definitely effective.
Contributions by Fredericton musicians Emily Kennedy (cello), Alexandra Peters (bass), Chris Giles (guitar), Ryan Hanson (drums), Kelly Waterhouse (sax) and Glenn Bernard (voice and hand drum) help to humanize Wangled Teb’s precise delivery of rapid fire snare and bass combinations.
The EP opens with Poirier and Kennedy creating a beautiful atmospheric landscape on Whispering Willows, a track that introduces the EP and the freedom that follows throughout the next five tracks. Kelly Waterhouse and Alexandra Peters introduce elements of jazz and R&B to the Wangled Teb sound while the combination of Poirier and guitarist Chris Giles deliver the EP’s most adventurous compositions with the track Stalactites/\Stalagmites.
One of the most interesting pairings on Earth (the EP, not the planet) is that of Poirier and drummer Ry Hanson on the track Mountain Cabin. For this piece, Poirier steps back almost entirely from the frenzied drum patterns that define much of the Wangled Teb catalogue, allowing Hanson to establish the track’s initial rhythmic structure. This percussive simplicity allows for Poirier’s melodies to shine in a new way.
The EP closes out with the track Home, with guest Glenn Bernard contributing the first vocal performance to appear on a Wangled Teb track.
Earth introduces so many new elements to Poirier’s writing, arranging and overall musicality that it’s difficult to pinpoint one particular aspect upon which to summarize this EP. It’s an adventurous collection and demonstrates Poirier’s willingness to challenge themselves musically as well as their willingness to push things in new directions.