A Thursday night, and a breathless, harried-looking Tim Wright dropped off a small, plain white box at my house. He was in a hurry, so more or less thrust the object into my hand, and was gone.
Inside said plain white box was, wrapped in polythene, a sleek, shiny, silver memory stick, etched with the artist’s name on one side, and the legend ‘AFEWAS(3)’ on the other. Hot on the heels of his acclaimed EP on The Nothing Special, Wright offers up another piece of uncompromising electronica.
Plugging the stick into my computer reveals that ‘AFEWAS’ is the acronym for ‘Algorithms For Electronic Fake Woodwind and Strings’, and this is Wright’s third collection of such pieces.
Five pieces of audiovisual work segued into a single track with a 22-minute running time, it’s classic Wright, a multimedia extravaganza with truly eye-popping visuals. The concept and methodology is technical to the point of being highly scientific, but thankfully a priori knowledge of the Cauchy probability distribution is not an essential prerequisite for appreciation and enjoyment of AFEFWAS3 as a work of multimedia art.
The music: dark, shifting drones, rumbles and chilling top-end contrails crawl and scrape through galactic domains, stretching out in all directions, expanding time and space. It doesn’t sound like any woodwind or strings, fake or otherwise, you’re likely to have ever heard. The sounds have been heavily manipulated, resculpted, twisted and stretched to form something entirely different, something that’s sinister, unsettling, uncomfortable.
The visuals: not as synapse-annihilating as those on some of Wright’s releases, such s as his ‘8 Switches’ EP, for example, but nevertheless, the clinically incisive lines through overlapping circles which build ever-evolving vectors of Venn diagrams and seeming optical illusions are striking. They also serve to emphasise that this work exists at the point at which art and science intersect.
In combination: the effect is hypnotic. Chances are, you’ll find yourself staring, eyes unblinking at stark monochrome the rings and lines on the screens, almost unaware of the sounds penetrating your aural receptors. The effects are simultaneously conscious and subliminal, physical and psychological.
Tim Wright Online