27 Sep 2021
Neo-Classical, Experimental, | Icarus Records & Consouling Sounds | Release date: 01 Oct 2021
When was the last time you were mesmerized by music from the first moment those simple audio waves touched your ears and nestled in your brain till nothing else mattered? If it’s too long ago, maybe the debut album by new-formed experimental Neo-Classical meets improvisational Avantgarde artist Theodore Wild Ride can help you become re-acquainted with that feeling.
No, one is not up for a “wild ride” with Theo, but the sound-waves want to ride each little part of your ear and deep down into your conscience. The songs created by the wonderful Christine Ott (you can also read our review on her last record Time To Die) in collaboration with her long-time partner in chords Mathieu Gabry (both form the chamber music duo Snowdrops) and with oud player Ophir Levy. Pardon me, oud what? An oud is a classical form of a lute mostly played in the Maghreb or the Middle East and it provides this wonderful clear form of guitar sound that one often associates with exactly this region and the Moor culture which spread as far as Al-Andalus, the former name of Andalusia.
Ott and Gabry handle a lot of instruments each, with Ott’s Ondes Martenot being another unusual instrument to come across, both contributing a lot to the very spherical part of the soundscape of Theodore Wild Ride. When listening to the opening tracks ”Little House” and ”Squirrel Creek” one has the feeling of being right in the writing and recording process undertaken by Lisa Gerrard and Hans Zimmer back in the late 90s for the Gladiator soundtrack. It feels as if every single note dropped on Theodore Wild Ride is part of a very large picture that one cannot see completely – yet. One knows that every single vibration of the Ondes Martenot, every single electronic sound effect woven into the record and every single reverb of the oud-strings is exactly where it was always meant to be. The oud creates this warm, nearly overly warm emotion in the listener that carries seemingly automatically into the scorching heat of those southern Mediterranean regions where life has to stop for a few hours every summer day for one can hardly bear it. When listening to the Tango ”Paoha” (with the wonderful highly rhythmic piano parts during the second half of it) one can witness the same effect – automatically stopping dead in one’s tracks and doing nothing but focusing on the song before oneself. Nothing else is important at that moment but that song, the slight reverb of the strings with every movement of the Levy’s hand. There are no overdubs on this record, everything is just as im-perfect as it was done when recording, because this is a live recording, having been done in the Musee Wurth in Erstein in Alsace, a region in eastern France close to the German border, back in 2019. Imagining witnessing the concert and not witnessing those sight imperfections due to the mesmerizing nature of the songs is already a treat in itself, as this performance is really magical, for its seeming imperfections are nothing but perfect examples and proofs of real life.
As with nearly all tracks by Ott and Gabry the instrumental character of the music makes it easier to envision oneself “there” and also being a bit disrupted by the electronic, nearly danceable intro of the fourth track ”Appalaches” that seems so indescribably out of place at first but when listening to those soft touches to deconstruct the electricity of the song and then reigning it back into the larger context one sees that the intro was a very well-placed call to breathe.
This record is really wonderful, it engages you into a one-on-one conversation with the sounds and with yourself. Music somehow timeless and without a distinct space but everlasting and everywhere – that is Theodore Wild Ride. Be mesmerized!