In late June 2007, an expensive copy of Rock Sound made it to my grubby paws in the quiet city of Bentonville, Arkansas. It had a free CD and one of the bands there was 65daysofstatic. I thoroughly enjoyed what I heard and I wondered if I would hear more from them later. In 2010, I was at the Octagon, in Sheffield, interviewing Joe Shrewsbury. We were exploding anyway was just fresh out of the oven and some people dug it, some didn’t. It was a very urgent and violent album, akin to Shrewsbury‘s description of the band: “a very angry wolf.”
An EP, Heavy Sky, bookended that year, then a magnificent space-themed soundtrack for a film about “hippies in space” followed and then the band retreated to their coven. Teasers were thrown at the beginning of this Summer of our Discontent, 2013 and after an intense live installation during Tramlines 2013, Wild Light is out, fully formed and fiercer. Also slower. It’s funny how sometimes a person that speaks slower but with the right punctuation and choice of words can be more menacing than a babbling loon wielding a kebab knife.
The mood of Wild Light is slower, the pace is sometimes glacial, but, like the ever burning fire of Centralia, 65daysofstatic rumbles, no longer like a lonely angry wolf, but like a city exploding. How does a exploding city sound like? Any of the 9 tracks contained here sound like the everyday sounds of a big city. New York, London, Mexico, Los Angeles, Tokyo, think of any highly populated city and imagine the sounds of all their denizens put together in sine and cosine waves, manipulating their voices with sawtooth signals and DSPs, glitching here and there to introduce the sound of chaos, the natural element when more than 4 humans are in the vicinity.
You will notice that I haven’t mentioned any track names so far and, well, that’s because the names are irrelevant. What matters are the moods on display. “No one knows what is happening” repeats a female voice before warning us that “there’s a lot of danger out there, ok?” and then we are hit in the gut with a swelling sound that feels as powerful as an old church organ clamoring for the brethren to come and share a wafer. The chosen ones approach and become one with what ‘Heat Death Infinity Splitter’ displays, the cursed ones look confused and wonder what follows.
A vertiginous trip through electronic soundscapes (‘Prisms’), a reflective moment of catharsis that drives you through tears (‘The Undertow’) and an intense workout (‘Blackspots’) keep the mood tearing through and through. And then the lines begin to blur. This is when names are no longer what you will worry about in the songs, but the kaleidoscopic emotions that seamlessly emanate from whatever listening device you are using. ‘Sleepwalk city’? ‘Taipei’? ‘Unmake the wild light’? All feel like a sort of musical Gestalt, at first lumbering after formation, but fully running with big strides by the moment ‘Safe Passage’ triumphantly beams rays of positivity into you.
People come and go. Families are torn asunder after bereavement. Torrential rains make the pavement glisten. Police forces clash with protestors. Humans come and go, but the cities remain with the echoes of the past emotions still reverberating. Wild Light is made from such echoes, captured meticulously by 65daysofstatic. No one knows what is happening and that’s what makes it beautiful and terrifying.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López