- In December 2014, The Occult Orientated Crime Album was the first release on Nightwind Records, a label established by Danny Wolfers for his many synth-centric projects. The albums, like Saab Knutson's Electronic Music From The Faroe Islands 1993 and El Saber Del Arpavor by Calimex Mental Implant Corp., weren't strictly ambient, but they never skewed towards the dance floor like his music as Legowelt, serving more as immersive displays of the Dutch artist's remarkable hardware collection. A note included on NW001's Bandcamp page revealed the impetus for Nightwind and Occult Orientated Crime: "Extremely trippy PRO ambient not just some jumbled up random chiliwave overcompressed 80s retro soggy biscuit jerkoff --- this is PROFESSIONAL AMBIENT - 100% psychedelic drug music with perfectly finetuned selected frequencies to alter your state of mind and take you to complete loss of subjective self-identity: the result of years of experimentation and research." Even if the note wasn't serious, it seemed obvious that Wolfers took his new projects very seriously.
Wolfers has made a habit of presenting his synth records as faux soundtracks or loose narratives, though none—save for maybe his actual film music—sound so cinematic as Occult Orientated Crime's dark sci-fi sprawl. Last year's Faroe Islands, for instance, was more concerned with its arrays of digital tones, drifting in aimless patterns like esoteric demo loops. By comparison, the second OOC album, Just A Clown On Crack, deals in orchestrated movement, dynamic sequencing and a pronounced understanding of '80s-era electronic scores. The indelible fingerprints of John Carpenter, Vangelis, Wendy Carlos and Tangerine Dream cover Wolfers' FM synthesis and melodic tension, but they don't define Just A Clown On Crack. A chilly, restless track like "Telephatic Consultation" also recalls Autechre's early forays into beatless IDM; the otherworldly dread of "Central Coast Drift" would be at home in the discographies of contemporaries like Stellar OM Source and Oneohtrix Point Never.
Despite the available comparisons, these six tracks only tell their own story on their own terms. Wolfers has said of his new album, "It can bring the listener into a completely different state of mind, you can almost call it ritualistic neuroscience music." It's another playful exaggeration, and yet there's something to it. Like some of the best synth music, Just A Clown On Crack is a world unto itself, complete with enchanted peaks and shadowy valleys. Eight-minute centerpiece "Blue Austral" is the brightest moment of levity, and Wolfers seems to cherish an opportunity to let some air in. Pan pipe synths bubble and glide as crystalline pads float on warm chords next to a spritely harmonic lead—think SAW II's kind of angelic mysticism. The title track, however, closes Clown with chintzy beats, default synth patches and a goofy bassline. Strange and unflattering as it is, it's the kind of thing any Wolfers diehard has come to expect: a reminder that you're listening to one of the most seriously unserious producers in electronic music.
01. Bridge Over A Golden Duckpond
02. Japanese Trains
03. Telephatic Consultation
04. Blue Austral
05. Central Coast Drifter
06. Just A Clown On Crack