Ben von Wildenhaus, formerly of Federation X and Quaalude County Country Band, looks like used car salesman from 1973 in a rumpled suit, a beat down figure from a David Mamet play. From this appearance comes entrancing atmospheric music that is a cross between Ennio Morricone and Brian Eno mixed with a little Angelo Badalamenti. On his new vinyl release, II, Wildenhaus takes the listener into a reverberated landscape where broken fragments of melody creak and moan like junkyard wind chimes (Bad Lament I, II); where a surf style guitar mixes with Esquivel like sonic elements to reverberate like the theme song to a space-age western where astronauts on horseback lasso aliens; where guitar strings map the desolate territory around a thrumming industrial heartbeat (Al Azif, An Nur); where a sad / angry woman sings Spanish to the sound of mascara running down her face (Tu); and where an organ grinder's monkey plays percussion in a boardwalk fortune teller's booth as a blind man plays violin and an emaciated elephant blows a busted saxophone while the bearded lady smiles at you and all you can see are her three missing teeth (Easy Opium). Wildenhaus's music taps into deep neural frequencies that drop the listener into an autistic fugue state where discrete notes stand on the distant horizon like a herd of wildebeests always threatening to stampede but never doing it . It is music to make the cartoon moon cry tears and every alley cat fall into respectful silence. Beautifully strange. Strangely beautiful.
Ben von Wildenhaus has a record release show on Jan 30th at the Shakedown with Prom Queen.