Guavid – Wathorn Wieib

2 out of 5

Label: Analogical Force

Produced by: Nicolas Lepage

It wrong to be so reductive as to call Guavid’s Wathorn Wieib a Windowlicker-era Aphex Twin riff, but the influence is undeniable – down to many of the exact effects / sounds employed – and given one’s familiarity with the looming discography of Richard D. James, it’s very difficult to shake that feeling through the majority of the EP’s tracks. And based on my rating: to the extent that the music feels derivative; more showy and “cool, this is IDM music”-esque than something that has its own motivating passions. …Beyond that passion for mimicry, anyway.

This is reductive because it’s denying Guavid’s (Nicolas Lepage) skill with their machines, and that the artist does bring an element of BPM intensity to this that is impressive. I also appreciate the way Lepage blends the cut-and-paste of Aphex with the artist’s earlier ambient gentleness via the range of synths applied atop the beat; I’d also say there’s a smattering of modern day Squarepusher in there, with a focus on a sort of poppy consistency, even despite that cut-and-paste vibe. None of this sounds bad, and indeed, the EP is wholly pleasant. However, it doesn’t register on a deeper level; I don’t get anything out of it. And I have to step back to appreciate it at the levels mentioned, too distracted up front by how directly some of this stuff lifts from all those references.

The end of the A- and B-side both step away from this approach for the EP’s best efforts: the appropriately named ‘Groovy’ is a more grimey jam, employing a head-bobbing, steady beat for its 3-minutes. But stripped of all the glitchy fireworks, it doesn’t feel like Guavid knows what to do with the track, and it gets repetitive. Closer Zuber67 gets close as well, able to, again, ditch some of the showiness for something that feels like a truly original composition, even while maintaining that quick BPM standard, but a tonal shift midway through is problematic and disruptive, evidence of a developing – perhaps not quite confident – talent who’s still honing their craft.