Kane Ikin + David Wenngren:
Strangers is pretty much the kind of thing one might expect from a collaboration between a Solo Andata member and Library Tapes—and I don't mean that in a bad way. Ambient soundscaping aficionados will already know the name David Wenngren, not only for the Eskilstuna, Sweden-based producer's Library Tapes recordings but for his involvement in a number of other projects, too, among them Murralin Lane (Our House Is on the Wall, 12k), Le Lendemain (with Danny Norbury) (Fires, Home Normal), and a 2011 collaboration with Christopher Bissonnette (The Meridians of Longitude and Parallels of Latitude, Home Normal). Melbourne, Australia-based Kane Ikin is also a known quantity for the Solo Andata recordings he's issued with Paul Fiocco on Hefty, Desire Path, and 12k.
They share a similar sensibility—Ikin, we're told, has a jones for old technologies (analog consoles, reel-to-reel tape, and the like), as does Wenngren—and thus are natural bedfellows for a recording venture, even when it's approached, as it was in this case, with no preconceptions or pre-set musical ideas. In fact, the pair never met during Strangers' production (hence the title), preferring to communicate purely through sound. Their individual contributions blend seamlessly, such that the resultant six pieces present themselves as patiently unfolding exercises in ambient-drone slow-burn (aptly, one of the pieces is even titled “Drifter”). On this forty-seven-minute outing, Ikin and Wenngren thread organs, guitars, strings, and percussive sounds into long-form, immersive settings of oft-blurry design. Representative of the album, “Chalk” drifts languidly for nine minutes, emerging on the distant horizon as a desolate guitar figure and growing progressively more vaporous and abstract when neon-lit tones and muffled percussive strikes move to the front of the exhaling mass. If the release, issued on Simon Scott's Kesh label in a limited edition of 350, isn't necessarily genre-advancing, it's still very much a sterling addition to the two producers' respective discographies.