Release Date: Feb 23, 2018
Record label: Kranky
Tahoe, the second full-length album from Dedekind Cut, starts as it means to go on: by plunging headfirst into the clouds. Opener 'Equity' is definitive proof, if any more were needed after earlier Dedekind Cut releases, that Fred Welton Warmsley III has moved on from the unhinged, genre-mashing, beat-destroying experimentalism that he previously offered under the Lee Bannon moniker. Records like Fantastic Plastic (2012) and Alternate/Endings (2014) seemed to delight in taking unexpected tangents, resulting in some of the most intriguing electronic music released in the last decade.
Dedekind Cut's second full-length arrives on Kranky, fulfilling a lifelong dream for the artist. It continues much in the same direction as 2016's $uccessor, balancing new age meditation with fear and anguish, expressing inner conflict and searching for serenity. It begins calmly, with soft yet slightly brooding waves and William Basinski-like drone loops, along with chirping crickets nestled underneath the washes of static.
After starting his career working with hip-hop collective Pro Era, Fred Warmsley has remained musically and stylistically restless, moving into breakbeat, electro and noise music with his two celebrated LPs released as Lee Bannon. Under his latest moniker, Dedekind Cut, Warmsley seems destined to challenge his audience even deeper, fully exploring lo-fi and ambient sounds. On first listen may seem that the Sacramento musician has remained static on his second LP as Dedekind Cut, as much of it resembles the ambient sounds found on his prior release, but after repeated spins it's clear that Tahoe shows Warmsley pushing his craft into even more exploratory areas.
But what is a home? It is a building as much as it is a dwelling. The sounds of Tahoe sing the emergence of the voice, which, in the yearning for a more blissful existence, creates space in which to inhabit at the very instant it yearns for it. Or: in the beginning was the voice. A thesis: the first home, the cave, was also the first musical instrument.
I vividly remember putting on my headphones and pressing play on Dedekind Cut's 2016 studio album $uccessor (ded004). I was sitting in my dorm room, lights off, my roommate asleep, just existing with the music. Everything about it was breathtaking-- the way that the textures delicately evolve, floating over the surface only to result in sporadically sectioned moments of harsh, destructive noise patterns sent me into a state of curiosity clouded by an eager uneasiness.