Perhaps because of their dependence on the internet and their sustained exposure to its aesthetics, WWWINGS gravitate towards uncanny soundscapes, hyperreal textures and stream of consciousness in their music. Releases like META and 3000 may have been inspired by the physicality of clubs and their powerful soundsystems, but what came out on the other side had more to do with abstract sound design and the shock of visceral frequencies. Sounds and structures outlined by Jam City's Classical Curves and Logos' Cold Mission have always been a part of WWWINGS' music, even as they push the ideas into maximal extremes or strip them to the bare essentials. PHOENIXXX realizes the brutal concepts of industrial music with digital ephemera, pop culture runoff and the riotous energy of an illegal party.
PHOENIXXX was first released as a free download in March. It was 11 tracks long and featured a number of disparate guests, including NON's Chino Amobi, Hyperdub's Endgame, Imaabs and Lao of NAAFI and others. After being snatched up by Planet Mu, PHOENIXXX was revamped and rearranged, released now with sharper, wider mixes, beefed-up mastering and an extra track. The newfound clarity and tweaked sequencing had a profound effect on the music—think the difference between a bedroom mixtape and a fully realized HD sound world.
Unlike albums working with similar sounds and references, such as Elysia Crampton's Demon City and Antwood's remarkable Virtuous.scr, PHOENIXXX has no conceptual narrative, or even much of an arc to speak of. Where those records were in turns vicious and viscous, PHOENIXXX is pure violence, with seemingly incidental moments of calm. Celestial choirs appear in "INFINITY" and "MELT," giving the album brief but needed open spaces. Otherwise it cultivates an impenetrable chaos. WWWINGS make the most of having too many cooks in the kitchen. Tracks like the quaking "AETHEREAL" and "ASHES," the most satisfying solo WWWINGS production, come closest to actual club cuts, and when they bang, they bang mercilessly. "RESURGE," one of the nastiest tunes, drops in with a bass tone like a tunneling drill and a chrome-plated trap beat, before it unravels into airborne industrial abstraction. Taking its title to heart, PHOENIXXX constantly disintegrates, rebuilds and sets itself afire.
WWWINGS started the first iteration of their debut album with "IGNITE," a beatless piece of textural sound that now closes the record. It worked fine as an intro (arguably better than the aimless "LIL ANGELS"), but as an ending it makes even more sense. Sounding like a deconstruction of all the music that came before it, "IGNITE" follows its burst of fiery noise down to the last soft-glowing ember. For LIT INTERNET, LIT DAW and LIT EYNE, PHOENIXXX serves as a beacon, calling our attention to their faraway corners of the world and, perhaps more importantly, their online presence. It's only fitting that WWWINGS would close their blazing transmission with one last flash of light.
Tue / 23 Aug 2016
01. LIL ANGELS
02. ERA feat. Kastle, Born In Flamez & GRONOS1
03. AETHEREAL feat. Chino Amobi
04. PYRO feat. Imaabs & Lao
06. LAVA feat. Endgame
09. INFINITY feat. Ebbo Kraan
10. MELT feat. Barla, Graves & Pope
11. FLY feat. DJ Heroin