Wolf, Patrica: See-Through LP

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Following her debut album, I'll Look for You in Others (Past Inside the Present, 2022), Patricia Wolf joins Spain's Balmat label with See-Through, her second album. See-Through finds the Portland, Oregon musician and field recordist continuing to develop her signature style of ambient, balancing radiant soundscaping with a carefully expressive sensibility. But the new album is also marked by an important difference. Where I'll Look for You in Others was largely written in response to the death of a loved one, See-Through represents a kind of rebirth. She wrote and recorded many of the album's songs quickly, in preparation for an August 2021 broadcast on the online radio platform 9128 Live. Excited for the opportunity to play live after more than a year of the pandemic, Wolf decided to write all new material for the event, working with a lean setup of Octatrack, Roland Synth Plus 10, Make Noise 0-Coast, and Novation Summit. (In fact, Wolf was the first sound designer invited to create patches for the Summit.) She also picked up an acoustic guitar that her brother had loaned her. "Woodland Encounter", "Under a Glass Bell", "The Grotto", "The Mechanical Age", "The Flaneur", and "Psychic Sweeping" are all products of those sessions; the through line holding them together is their exploratory spirit and clarity of vision. Other songs, like "A Conversation With My Innocence", "Recalibration", and "Psychic Sweeping", wrestle with the traumas of the preceding year. Though they may linger on the heaviness of loss, Wolf says, "What I discovered is that a stronger archetype had grown inside me to steer my emotions and thoughts to a better place." Likewise, "Wistfulness" and "Upward Swimming Fish" -- her first experiments with VST synthesizers -- balance the bittersweet embrace of melancholy with the freedom to choose happiness. "Pacific Coast Highway", the album's lone song with drums, might at first seem like an outlier. But it also signals Wolf's interest in finding a fusion between the introspection of ambient and the togetherness of beat-oriented music. Listeners with keen ears might recognize the album's closing song, "Springtime in Croatia": A different mix of the song originally appeared on the 2021 digital compilation secondnature & friends Vol. II, from the Seattle label secondnature. This marks its first appearance on vinyl, however, and its spiritual home is undoubtedly here, at the close of See-Through.

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