27 May 2022

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WLF - EP Review: Kook

26 Apr 2022 // A review by Callum Wagstaff

WLF (Wolf) is the solo project of Otautahi Christchurch, NZ musician Aaron Hogg. With over 25 years as a vocalist, guitarist & bassist for bands such as Pumpkinhead, Slim & Thunderwülf, Aaron has amassed a wealth of experience both live & in the studio.

Although WLF began as a side project documenting Aarons discovery of “in the box” production & new found love for electronica, his self-described brand of “electro-sludge” soon became his major musical focus.

The four track EP Kook follows WLF's 2021 debut release called Edgelord

Establishing itself in a traffic jam on a radio drive-show is Juice. Kicking in at the mention of 30 minutes of non-stop music, it's built out of a fat synth bass against an electronic choir voice dancing around the soundscape like it was choreographed by Jim Henson.

It transitions into a less tense section that sounds like it would go well against pictures of urban sprawl and a refrain repeats over it: "future? My future is near. And I'll never stop."

The track feels like being teleported 4 bars at a time all around different corners of a city, punctuated by panned toms and old school hip-hop stabs.

Internet pong bugs and a backwards kids show opening give way to Vibing, which changes tone sharply into a dark thicket with bright lights dancing across the treetops. It feels like glowing mushroom music. Like finding frozen crystals on insect skeletons in a hidden cave.

From there it develops more funk and freakout, like night fell and the whole area is alive with bio luminescence.

The refrain for this song is "Off the grid - Is this vibing off the grid?"

Swan Song is not the last song on the EP so it's probably not the end of WLF's career, but given that likelihood, all the voices saying "I love you" gave me a foreboding feeling going into it. The music is dark like an early morning just before dawn and the featured refrain is "the secret is in every grain of sand, it's in every leaf of the tree and every blade of grass". It feels either cautiously optimistic or end-of-the-tether philosophical. There's an existential undercurrent. Maybe not a literal one though, since the last track is called Hell is Other People.

Hell explodes in your face after a "What the fuck is this?" and it has all the chaos of an unwelcome sensory overload in a crowded shipping container. The music glitches and bends like social seasickness in the guts of a sobering rave.

There's a reprieve section but the bass line there is still lurching like a head in its own hands.

Then it's out through the belly of the beast, pushing through the blood and guts of a whale's asshole until the song ends on "All good."

Kook starts out grimy and gets more out of its own head as it progresses down its own rabbit hole. I recommend it for small spaces with coloured lighting and terrifyingly large spaces with no lighting.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About WLF

WLF (Wolf) is the solo project of Otautahi Christchurch, NZ musician Aaron Hogg.

With over 25 years as a vocalist, guitarist and bassist for bands such as Pumpkinhead, Slim and Thunderwülf, Aaron has amassed a wealth of experience both live and in the studio. During that time he has toured and played with an array of NZ and international acts including Shihad, HLAH, The Mint Chicks, Primus, Korn, Faith No More, Tool, Fugazi and The Misfits.

Although WLF began as a side project, documenting Aaron's discovery of 'in the box' production and a new found love for electronica, his self-described brand of 'electro-sludge' soon became his major musical focus. It is characterized by intricate, cascading arps, slabs of glitchy synth, underpinned by a heavy foundation of live bass. Irreverent, tongue in cheek flips add an often dark, human element and make for songs that bridge the gap between traditional EDM and more narrative-driven structures. Reminiscent in places of pioneering electronic artists like The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers and Future Sounds of London, WLF also evokes the sounds of modern forms of EDM like Jon Hopkins, Blanck Mass and Four Tet.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for WLF


Year: 2022
Type: EP
Year: 2021
Type: EP

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