Review: Witxes - Sorcery/Geography (2012)


artist: Witxes
release: Sorcery/Geography
format: LP, Digital
year of release: 2012
label: Human­ist
dur­a­tion: 43:13

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

It’s often fruit­ful ter­rit­ory: ambi­ent where elec­tron­ics are mixed with clearly aud­ible acous­tic instru­ments, as opposed to music where the lat­ter only serve as base mater­ial for far-reaching effects and manip­u­la­tion - a fruit­ful approach in its own right, don’t get me wrong. What’s nice about a clear-sounding electro-acoustic admix­ture is the rich­ness of tex­ture this can gen­er­ate.

Sorcery/Geography, the second Witxes album (a pro­ject of Maxime Vavas­seur), makes excel­lent use of this style already in the first track, “Unloca­tion”, by infus­ing bright synths with double bass, drums, sax­o­phone, and acous­tic gui­tar. Lovely jazzbi­ent, in other words. It would have been tempt­ing and per­haps inter­est­ing to spread out this style across an entire album, but this isn’t what hap­pens: it’s not a full-on jazz effort with ambi­ent influ­ences thrown in, but more the other way around. Most tracks in the middle of the record are heavy on the elec­tron­ica, and at times much darker in mood than the sum­mery open­ing track.

Not that these tracks are bor­ing in any way; the musical themes are eco­nom­ic­ally worked out, and there is cer­tainly noth­ing min­im­al­istic about most of Vavasseur’s com­pos­i­tions. Touches of voice, piano, etc. ensure that there is ample vari­ation in sounds as well. In “Some­where”, the sax­o­phone returns to give the track a flow­ing jazz feel, form­ing a sort of clos­ure to the album before the final track, “No Sor­cerer of Mine”, which is more of a coda to the rest: a sparse track for vocals and acous­tic gui­tar, and also the only track with lyr­ics.

Witxes man­aged to impress me greatly with this thor­oughly bal­anced and fas­cin­at­ing album. The mix of styles is flaw­less and draws on the relax­ing and darker qual­it­ies of both jazz and ambi­ent. As such, this is an album that comes highly recom­men­ded. Check out the digital ver­sion if your interest is piqued, and if you like what you hear, there’s the LP edi­tion on Human­ist records to con­sider.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Unloca­tion (5:34)
2. After the Horse­fight (5:13)
3. Thir­teen Emer­alds (3:11)
4. Canyon Improb­able (4:02)
5. The Reason (4:58)

6. Dead Reck­on­ing (3:25)
7. Mis­s­cience (2:50)
8. Dunes of Steel (6:00)
9. Some­where (5:37)
10. No Sor­cerer of Mine (2:29)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *