w u s o 命 – Lonely Streets
w u s o 命’s Lonely Streets is described as an album that seeks to elicit “solitude in a bustling city,”1 that feeling where you’re wandering aimlessly through darkened streets and alleyways at unknown hours of the night. Each of this album’s six tracks are mixed as single continuous song that’s pulsating, rhythmic, and distinctly rooted in underground music and club culture. It’s almost become a hackneyed attempt at relevancy to compare every album with this kind of atmosphere to that of 2814 – specifically 2015’s 新しい日の誕生 – but it kinda works here to describe Lonely Streets as a “dangerous” 2814. Whereas 新しい日の誕生 is a somber and introspective outlook on the city, Lonely Streets is an active force, almost sounding like an outrun soundtrack with its darting melodies and heavy use of cinema. It’s also way busier; there’s simply a whole lot going on, as w u s o 命 inserts many technical quirks that facilitate its unfolding. And if you’re curious about w u s o 命’s opinion of urban lifestyle, let “L’enfer Sur Terre” – translated as “Hell on Earth” – say it for you.
“Closure” and “City Streets” are the centerpiece tracks to Lonely Streets. “Closure” – despite the implication of a finishing track – is the strongest of Lonely Streets by far, with a fleeting dark series of beats rising from the murk of previous track “Dreaming in Public,” reminding our protagonist the the city never sleeps – and neither should you. “City Streets” is the most soundtrack-like track, starting with a ringing, crystal-clear ringing tone that evolves into Massive Attack circa-Mezzanine beats with glitchy flourishes. Either song is excellent, and each balances dreampunk ambiance with ghost tech murkiness.
Now although “Closure” and “City Streets” are fantastic, that isn’t a knock on the others. Trying to pick a favorite track on Lonely Streets is like trying to pick a favorite pizza: it’s pizza, it’s going to be good no matter what.2 “Hollow Feelings” features a few spoken word bits that are just barely made out from beneath the fog, adding to the album’s mysteriousness. The first minute of opener “Lonely Street Light” has flavors of Garbage and Amber before giving way to the most languid kick-snare percussion this side of The KLF. “L’enfer Sur Terre” is the shortest track at under four minutes, but it’s got a lot going on, from the watery beats to the skittery opening sounds. Finally, “Dreaming in Public” gets positively chipper, as w u s o 命 allows himself to explore some (gasp) major chord progressions; it’s a cool juxtaposition alongside “Hollow Feelings” and “Closure.”
But with all this talk of the individual tracks, make sure that your first listen of Lonely Streets is a single, complete listen. That’s where the album shines – as a complete, total work that guides you through the titular lonely streets that are w u s o 命’s creation. It is highly recommended for fans of Foundation by City Developer and BLCR Laboratories’ output in the latter half of 2016.
1. Lonely Street Light – (6:42)
2. L’enfer Sur Terre – (3:44)3
3. City Streets – (4:05)
4. Hollow Feelings – (4:59)
5. Dreaming in Public – (4:56)
6. Closure – (7:58)
1As read in this reddit post.
2Is this analogy too dumb? Cut me some slack, it’s election night in the US and I’m stressing.
3French translation: “Hell on Earth”