David Wenngren – Sleepless Nights

I was very fortunate to recently have the opportunity to play a show with David Wenngren better known under the moniker Library Tapes.  I cannot quite figure out how this is a solo piece, after all, Library Tapes is basically him on his own as well.  So I’m not sure whether to call this a solo piece or just David coming out from behind his Library Tapes persona and opening himself up to the world.  Whatever the reasoning behind the decision the music on this record is as simplistically stunning as anything I’ve heard before by him.

Lets face facts.  This kind of thing is not for everyone.  I could see the look of confusion on many peoples faces at his recent Edinburgh show.  It’s not really Scottish music, or at least it doesn’t seem to fit with what’s popular in this country.  Noise tracks complimented by fragmented piano playing.  It’s perhaps hard for people to get their heads around.  Where are the tunes?  It’s all just fragmented, discordant and at times a little grating.  To me though it’s nothing short of gorgeous.  Some of the little piano motifs are just wonderful.  The way that the strings drift in and the piano just flickers underneath is so affecting.   The way that the crackles and hiss and field recordings compliment the sparse piano lines is just great.  David Wenngren proves once again with this record that he is a master of his craft, whether he calls himself by his real name or his alias.

One thing I have really noticed of late is how this type of music, which was once considered to be a specialist sort of genre, is crossing over to the mainstream.  It’s something I discussed with Nils Frahm and with David himself after his show at the Bowery.  More people seem to be getting into this stuff, which is great news for me as it means I’ll be able to see people like David live more often.  In the meantime, check out David’s work here.  Enjoy.

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4 thoughts on “David Wenngren – Sleepless Nights

  1. Brilliant stuff. Admittedly I haven’t listened to any of Library Tape’s stuff yet, but clearly I should now.

    I love the piano/ambient crossover, however I often find myself complaining at the fact that most artists in these genres seem to be cloning each other rather than trying to achieve something new.

    Wenngren’s work though seems to stand out from the rest, while not ground-breaking, it’s definitely got its own sound.

    I love how with this kind of music you can just close your eyes and get absorbed by it, it always evokes some kind of picture or memory.

    But I do agree that it’s getting somehow more mainstream, after all I think this sort of music oftentimes has a very cinematic feel to it, and while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s not something they’re unfamiliar with. It’s not like, say, drone music.

  2. Yeah, I completely understand what you’re saying about people maybe thinking that there’s not always a real individual identity to some of this stuff. I think David definitely has his own style. It is very fragmented at times. I think that’s what makes it special. I am a massive fan of his work.

    I think if half the people I know listened to drone music their heads would explode after they started shouting “cannot compute”….. I feel that way sometimes too with certain things. However, there are so many wonderful artists out there creating really wonderful music in the ambient/drone/neo-classical market.

    It is very cinematic music. After my set with David somebody asked me if I’d ever thought about scoring films. The answer is yes. I’d love to!

  3. I think about drone music is that it needs to be taken at a particular time, when the mood asks for it. Personally I love the genre and I find there are some artist like Ben Frost, Yellow Swans or Olafur Arnalds in the neo-classical genre that are truly amazing artists, yet their music is not in my most played list, not because I don’t like it, but like with all good things, I need to be in the mood for it and I like to take it in small doses.

    I love listening to drone music at particular times of the day, when it’s night time, while I’m designing, when I need to think. If I’m not in the mood I won’t want to listen to it at all.

    Just like you said, most people wouldn’t be able to take in drone music, so I rarely recommend, yet the other day I did so to a designer friend of mine who is actually not at all into music. I made her listen to a few tracks and while of course it wasn’t any easy-listening pop, she said she would actually listen to that while designing.

    It’s a sort of music that with its lack of vocals and constant repetitiveness of drones makes it easier to think and to concentrate on what you’re doing, I believe.

    As for scoring films, that must be a great experience, and a very challenging one I bet. I’d definitely see you doing it, I really like the piano and instrumentals in the Kays, like in the more emotional tracks, for example The Life And Death of a Moment, I reckon something like that would work really well for a score.

  4. Drone music is a fascinating one. I agree with you. But then to a certain degree I feel the same way about instrumental music in general. I used to listen to a LOT of Mogwai when I was studying, simply because there were not lyrics to distract me. No words to steal my thoughts. I think drone music does require a specific state of mind and a time and place. Otherwise you’ll never understand it.

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