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Wolff: 18 April 2007

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Live Act(s): Wolff
Event Date: 18 April 2007
Type of Event: Small Club Concert
Venue: Pianos (upstairs)
Rated: *****
I went to Piano's to see the promising Seattle pop/rock singer Nina Kari but I ended up staying for the entire set of the following act, Wolff, when I saw his set up and heard the first song. Original and unique are definitely keywords here. Wolff is a tuba player who mic'ed his instrument to run it through a bunch of pedals, looping devices, filters and other effects. Basically any sound you hear comes from/through the tuba. He huffs and puffs the kick and hi hat of a typical techno/dance beat into the brass mouthpiece, loops that and then goes on to the next mouth-originated and tuba-ized sound effect. Occasionally he'll tap the tuba with his hands or some metal sticks to create more complex rhythmical figures, but mostly everything is mouth-made. The resulting is an enticing electronic music orchestration of lo-fi beats and other sounds that will very quickly make you forget where the sound just came from, while leaving you focusing on the real time manipulations that Wolff is performing between one layer and the next. Interestingly Wolff also sings (again, through the tuba, which takes some pressure off having to sing on pitch), loops himself singing and keeps repeating anthems of some sort that I couldn't make out but that he had jotted down on a notepad (hence I assume he actually has lyrics). Think of it as a foghorn-sounding ancient tribe chief chant, or maybe you can try imagining early Cop Shoot Cop and Laibach influences.
This kind of looping technique is not ground-breaking, we've seen it a million times, maybe mostly utilized by guitar players, but I personally had never seen it used with/through a tuba, so that really caught my attention. Plus the singing in that way makes it even more personal and less redux. I think this guy deserves some attention and should be playing venues and shows where most people actually care about electronic music (I can see him playing at NYC"s Warper nights).

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