Rad Wolf ~ Content

ContentOne can’t help but like this release, a batch of “knick knacks and cat sounds” sewn into a handmade package.  This personal touch is also what made last year’s short album Blanket Arms so endearing.  Content isn’t glossy, smooth or over produced.  When looking and listening, one is aware of the person behind the product.  In the DIY era, humility is the new neon, and artists such as Rad Wolf remind listeners that even the most popular performers began quietly, whether making music as therapy or playing songs to entertain their friends.

In order to understand Content, one needs to approach it from the outside in.  As the artist writes, the album was conceived at a time when he was “in his own head and trying to find a way out”.  The opening and closing tracks, soft and ambient in nature, certainly sound like contentment: the framework nestling a tumultuous center.  After seeing the edges of the puzzle, one begins to understand the contents.  On this album, Rad Wolf presents three faces to the world: the ambient, the acoustic and the drone; together, the components form a harmonious whole.

The acoustic tracks (which also feature light electronica) are gentle in nature.  Even when the guitar is stuttered on “xo”, it continues to keep the pace.  The most affecting acoustic piece is the simple but soothing “Caterpillars Matter to Caterpillars”, which is also a wonderful title, implying that all things are important.  But Rad Wolf’s strength, at least on this album, seems to be in the field of drone.  By applying layers of static distortion to other components, the artist not only thickens the timbre, but deepens the impact.  The rising volume of “I Still Have Your Keys” implies a dangerous morass of tangled thoughts; the album’s best track, “Glosolalia”, blends drone with water sounds, sharing the sonic pedigree of early Mountains, while “Legt 16 Feet” creates an atmosphere of reflective yearning in only two minutes.  By the end of the album, all tumult has ended.  Like the cats on the cover, the listener lies content.  (Richard Allen)

Available here

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