Thursday 23 April 2015

Review: Wik▲n – 'Nightfall'


Sheffield's Wik▲n may be flying the flag for the witch house scene, but there is so much more to their sound than that. Their newest offering (their eighth EP since 2010) 'Nightfall' includes ambient, drone, noise, dark electro, and even neofolk as well as drag and witch house to create haunting soundscapes and experimental grooves. But no matter which direction they choose to go, the songs remain epic in their scope and rarely drop below seven minutes in length.

The title track kicks the EP off with a sublime blend of ambience and minimal techno blending to create a dark and surreal soundscape that is permeated by an ever present vinyl crackle to add a subtle noise element. 'Damaged Core' is a more club/dance orientated track with its prominent techno-house beats driving the track while sinister synthesizers swell and swirl throughout the mix. 'When It's Just Us' follows on with a more stripped back witchy sound that is centred around a central drone and typically drag style beat but also makes great use of counterpoint melodies to inject a little light into the gradually building cacophony.

'Gathering Moss' breaks out the folk guitar to drive this hauntingly beautiful blend of neofolk and light ambient synths. 'Deadbeat' brings things back into more traditional witchy territory with its stuttering synth bass and trip hop beat building to create a simple but effective track. The EP is finished with 'Always There' which once again begins with a nice droning synth that gradually builds into a cinematic slice of ambience before a subtle melody and beat kick in to create an infectious closer.

The production is excellent with a light and spacious feel flowing through every song. It avoids the fuzz and din of a lot of witch house releases in favour of a more minimal and light atmosphere that compliments every twist and style they care to invoke.

Wik▲n may not be a common name in the UK underground scene but they should be. 'Nightfall' is a mature, engrossing and deeply fulfilling listening experience. The band prove they can turn their hand to anything and everything here and still make it sound like a cohesive whole. This is definitely an act to keep your eye on. 

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