SPOTLIGHT: wim (ウィム)
It’s rare that I stumble upon an artist while digging through bandcamp and find their whole body of work to be perfectly consistent. It’s even rarer that when I do find an artist like this they don’t have a (relatively) large fan base. That’s what this series of posts is going to (at least attempt to) address and maybe even change. This series of focus pieces gets in depth with an artist and tries to give you an introduction to their discography, explaining the sound they create and who they would appeal to. Along the way I’ll allow these artists to say a few words about themselves and contribute a mixtape highlighting their tastes and influences.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’d like to kick off this series with a post on an artist I have been absolutely in love with, Nicholas Krapf, who records under the name wim (ウィム).
I was introduced to wim (ウィム) with his 10 minute ambient piece, lillie’s blanket, a stunning synth guided track that, when played at the right hour and in the right mood, served as more than just a listen. Listening to lillie’s blanket had become an experience, something that struck me as more than just beautiful. It offered an emotionally moving experience that I hadn’t felt in a long time. There was something about the subtle shifting elements in his synth work and the stereo effects he chose. They all added up to make something I don’t hear in a lot of the ambient music I discover. It felt raw and revealing. lillie’s blanket felt like one of the most personal tracks I’d heard in a long time and it was one that I felt like I could relate to. There was some sort of unspoken story in this track and it resonated with me and motivated me to explore his other work. It’s then, when you start digging through this collection of tracks and releases, that you see the true genius of wim (ウィム).
As I started to explore some of these other releases it soon became apparent that Nicholas is extremely versatile, being able to craft soft and beautiful melodies with gentle guitar strums as well as employing flawless use of synthesizers to form huge, lush atmospheres. His discography touches on all the bases you’d look for in atmospheric music and he seems to have mastered all of them.
humming collection shows off Krapf’s ability to effortlessly blend traditional song writing and structures with more downtempo and atmosphere focused elements. It’s the perfect mix of accessible tunes that lead the listener to more explorative music. Tracks like hum (c) offer a repeating vocal line with layered, high movement acoustic guitars that sort of chant and dance around in your head. Other tracks on this release take the more experimental route but the beauty in humming collection is that it all works together. These weirder more experimental tracks don’t feel odd when placed in the same albums as the more traditional tracks and the more you listen the more you see they actually complement each other perfectly. It’s an intelligent album, one that eases you in to a wide variety of textures and musical styles and never makes it feel forced.
On saint / espirit wim (ウィム) manages to take those organic, atmospheric elements that we find in humming collection, and pairs them with lofi synthesizers to create an absolutely blissful sound. Gently tapped guitar strings play off of airy, ambient, synths to create this perfect union. Clearly this isn’t a new idea, but Krapf’s execution is flawless. Songs last as long as they should, never feeling cut off short or running too long. Obivously, like all music, this is a matter of taste, but with an artist as strong as a Krapf, it doesn’t even feel like a matter of taste anymore. It feels like everyone should be enjoying this.
I could go on about every single one of his works as they’re all very special to me at this point, but there’s something that’s much more important that I’d like to announce.
In conjunction with this focus piece Krapf has released his new album, thanks & early feelings. This record is perhaps Krapf’s strongest work to date. On thanks & early feelings the same sort of charm found on humming collection is present, but every element seems to be pushed forward another step. The intelligence and simplicity is still there, as well as the restraint but everything seems richer. It’s a gorgeous record that sounds unlike anything else I’ve heard this year and, obviously, is now one of my favorites to come out in 2013.
Again, I could ramble on about wim (ウィム) but now I’d rather let Nicholas offer some background and thoughts on the project himself.
the music under wim pretty much formed as a result of recording humming collection. i indirectly started that album before the summer of 2011, just kinda recording some things that turned out to sound alike. at the end of that summer i had what i felt was a finished album and decided to put it on the internet to see if other people liked it. that group of songs was pretty much my first successful attempt at making a bunch of songs sound similar along with me being content with it. it’s kinda funny to think about because before humming collection i hadn’t really done that much acoustic music other than this little project my friend jesse whose in lea, jinx, and may did. and i was at a point where i liked the quietness of acoustic compared to electric guitar, so i thought it was something i could continue to work on. as a continuing project though i want my music under wim to embrace a music for music’s sake mentality; i want the songs i put out to be enjoyable in that vein. a small band from peru called callahan i think does this really well. i just want to make music because i like hearing it and i like the process. i’m going to try and not think too much more of it.
While we’re at it, check out the fantastic mix wim (ウィム) contributed for this feature: