Arche-Fossil, the fourth album by Wind Atlas, appeared in the worst moment of a world health crisis that completely frustrated the possibilities of presenting and promoting the album live, forcing the band, like so many others, to cancel all concerts until further notice. This forced hiatus left room to start working on a remixes album they had planned for later on.
In the last few years, Wind Atlas has evolved and mutated, going from a post punk and ethereal rock band, heir to the 4AD sound, to becoming a quartet with an increasingly electronic, unclassifiable and personal sound that mixes post-industrial landscapes with Mediterranean music, post punk, noise and an infinity of other sounds from their inexhaustible palette. In Arche-Fossil, they definitely embrace electronics and dedicate most of their efforts to producing the album themselves.
During the compositional process, the songs change constantly until they find an almost definitive version for the album. Almost because as they work on them, they create parallel realities in which the songs exist in other ways. It is at this point that they begin to reflect on the idea that songs are something alive, something that exists differently in the minds of those who create them, but also those who listen to them. The idea of reworking the songs and contemplating the potential reinterpretations of their listeners is something that has increasingly interested the band, as they have already started to explore this path with their previous album An Edible Body and the subsequent En La Cruz remixes 12”. Now the band takes a bigger step.
Arche-Fossil (Remixes) features remixes by some of Cønjuntø Vacíø’s label classics acts as well as some interesting Spanish and international names. The selection is heterogeneous: Kenji Komine (Japan), under his LSTNGT moniker, presents a sad trance version of Days of Sadness; Ketamine Vault (Barcelona) and Otro (Valencia) offer a more abstract versions of Hunger and Dos Ojos. Ricardo Remedio (Portugal), under his alias RR, works again with Wind Atlas presenting two epic and cinematographic remixes of Oceanic Sexuality and Nada. Seltar (Barcelona), new a.k.a. of producer Olaf Blanch, positions himself as an interesting figure in the new scene of drum’n’bass and breakcore with a more experimental cut with a magnificent remix. Plastic Ivy (US) adds a melancholic and ethereal guitar sound to Dos Ojos and MT Formula (Barcelona) puts the point of roughness and darkness that rounds out the album.
Arche-Fossil (Remixes) works as a perfect appendage to Arche-Fossil, an album that asks questions and opens up to multiple reinterpretations: an album that is a start rather than a conclusion and refuses to be encapsulated and pigeonholed.
Dragon Skin is a new conceptual compilation around the ideas of protection and safety released by Cønjuntø Vacíø that showcases new artists and some classic acts of the label.
Dragon Skin was a type of ballistic vest formerly made by the now defunct company Pinnacle Armor, currently produced in Missoula, Montana by North American Development Group LLC available for public, law-enforcement and military customers. Its characteristic two-inch-wide circular discs overlap like scale armor, creating a flexible vest that allows a good range of motion and is intended to absorb a high number of hits compared with other military body armor. The discs are composed of silicon carbide ceramic matrices and laminates, much like the larger ceramic plates in other types of bullet resistant vests.
On August 3, 2007, the Department of Justice announced that the NIJ had reviewed evidence provided by the body armor manufacturer and had determined that the evidence was insufficient to demonstrate that the body armor model would maintain its ballistic performance over its six-year declared warranty period. Because of this, Dragon Skin was found to not be in compliance with the NIJ’s testing program and has been removed from the NIJ’s list of bullet-resistant body armor models.
The gestation process of Arche-Fossil began even before the publication of An Edible Body (2018). With that record, the band changed members and ventured into more electronic territories by using drum machines and synths that still fit their ritual post-punk sound. After two years spent working on this new record, these electronic landscapes have taken over their music.
Arche-Fossil was almost entirely recorded by themselves at their home studio and finished at Maik Mayer’s recording studio with Sergio Pérez. It collects the songs that represent the band’s work over the last two years and that best reflect the issues that weave the whole record regarding the relationship between human beings and reality. Is it possible to know an uninterpretable reality? What is knowing? How does the relationship between human beings and reality work? These questions inform a series of songs that produce a voice that continuously muses on what it perceives and the ways in which it does.
Hunger opens the record amidst a thunder of abstract sounds and a viscous bass loop. By using samples from M. E. S. H.’s “Optimate”, which forms the noisy basis of the song, Hunger approaches more experimental electronic terrains. This song revolves not only around an insatiable and uninhibited hunger for finding new ways of saying and being in the world, but also around an enormous emptiness.
The monumental track Where Nothing Happens explores empty spaces and everything that happens within them when something–a step, a voice, an object–interrupts their eternal being, thus generating new meanings between these spaces and that which suddenly inhabits them.
In Dos Ojos, the band continues navigating electronic landscapes, this time through Spanish traditional and oral literature. They follow this path further in Esta Despedida, where the vocals use one single sentence to unsay: “Todos los nombres van a morir a ti.” (“You are where all names go to die”) From then onwards, the vocals employ a form of glossolalia as a tool to continue uttering after the death of meaning that they have previously announced. Likewise, Days of Sadness, a free adaptation of Galician poet José Ángel Valente’s poem “Latitud”, pays homage to the language of the unsaid, which has heavily influenced Wind Atlas’ discourse over the years.
That Mouth emerges as a dramatic effect when the record has managed to hypnotize us. Trance and an industrial sound meet amidst MS20 roars and a beat going over 140bpm. Metallic blows and the sound of chains burst in, creating rhythmic patterns over a bass drum that pushes forward.
The eeriest and most beautiful moments appear on the record’s B-side. Such moments come to life in tracks like Oceanic Sexuality or the closer Do You Have a House?, along with the experimental Nada, in which, by only utilizing noise, Wind Atlas create a sonic collage poem that draws from power-electronics. Here, some of the band’s recurring themes reemerge: emptiness, water, and the body.
In Arche-Fossil, Wind Atlas continue exploring some of the paths they began mapping with their previous record. This time, however, they manage to approach the heterogeneous in a much more certain and lucid manner, without ever stopping wondering about their own voice.