Mr. Wi$e – Narrative Mixing
American DJ Bret Wise is known for pumping loud bass-heavy tracks into the back rooms of dive-bars across the Tennessee valley, performing with a finely tuned bombast that exists far above the party-etiquette of his surroundings. That’s why it’s surprising —or maybe not surprising —that his most recent mix First Movement, Land capitalizes on the quieter arts of subtlety and under-statement. It’s an affecting collection of sounds and recordings, evoking the lost melancholy of childhood in a way that’s as intimate as it is distant.
Wise avoids making something obvious by mixing ambient scuffs in between the larger movements of “Land.” There are conversations that work in tandem with a radio tuning, wind chimes that overlay long sustaining piano notes, the sounds of a hospital that bleeds into the sound of heavy traffic. It feels like poetry.
The first sample that’s given any prominence is a conversation between a scientist and a housewife that was originally recorded during the 1950s, where the housewife has just taken a hit of LSD. It’s a brilliant opening, because her attempts to explain what she is feeling perfectly match what Wise’s mix is attempting to to make you feel. It’s childlike and it’s playful.
An example of binaural recording, “Land” is a mix that was made specifically for headphones, with the intended purpose of creating an environment that is identical to experiencing a sound in person. This technique is most noticeable somewhere around the 25 minute mark, where Wise interjects a live recording of “When a Man Loves a Woman,” performed by Sidney “Guitar Crusher” Selby. The levels are spot on, and with the right headphones, the sound is uncanny.
There’s an artistry at play here, something unique. The result is a beautiful 47 minute noise collage that liquefies the transitions between ambiance and song. It’s reminiscent of Godspeed! You Black Emperor, a DJ’s talents used for indie sensibility.
Released under the moniker “Mr.Wi$e,” First Movement, Land is an exciting experiment in narrative listening. It’s the kind of mix that’s perfectly suited to act as an introduction to ambient music, which is fitting, because it mimics practically what it performs sonically. Wise has made a mix that unites music with storytelling and ambiance with narration. It’s something that’s hard to describe, something that you’ll have to experience for yourself.
Wordkrapht Rating: 4 Stars
Album Name: Narrative Mixing
Date Released: January, 2013
Genre: Ambient/Mix Tape/ Sound Collage
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Band Members: Bret Wise