Release Date: Nov 11, 2014
Record label: Mexican Summer
Genre(s): Electronic, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Chillwave
At face value, Luke Wyatt's music and visual art have a kind of wink-and-a-grin quality—something you get from his new album's title, Let's Cry And Do Pushups At The Same Time. But underneath this wry humor, his Torn Hawk project has given us some of his most emotionally direct music. Combining live guitar with foggy, burnt-out synths and drum machine clatter, Torn Hawk's music straddles a kind of neon-fuzzed industrial kosmiche zone.
Torn Hawk's Luke Wyatt releases so much music at such a rapid rate that his progress is bound to be swift as well. Let's Cry and Do Pushups at the Same Time is Torn Hawk's second full-length in 2014 alone, following the brilliantly surreal debut album Through Force of Will and two EPs that encompassed his music's extremes, the ultra-fragmented Quadrifolia and the flowing Songs from Bad Kid School. On all these releases, the roots of his sound are the same -- elastic, glossy guitars entwined with genre-hopping beats and electronics -- but on Let's Cry these elements sound more organically blended than ever.
Having released a steady stream of material under different monikers (Lossmaker, Infiniti, now Torn Hawk), through various means (cassette, vinyl, CD, VHS) and on diverse labels (L. I. E.
What are we actually talking about when we talk about nostalgia? Taylor Swift’s Polaroid album cover for 1989? Ghostbusters? The Beatles? Nirvana? Limp Bizkit? Illmatic? Nostalgia is fascinating and infuriating because of how specific it is: my nostalgia is not your nostalgia. But when it’s used correctly and on the right person, it’s an emotional weapon, able to warp hazy memories into strong feelings. Let's Cry and Do Pushups at the Same Time is Luke Wyatt's second album as Torn Hawk this year, and stylistically, it builds directly on the previous release, Through Force of Will.
Might as well be 1992, right? Not necessarily. The music of Torn Hawk, a.k.a. Luke Wyatt, summons to the musical surface a vast array of objects — cars, muscles, crummy VHS graphics; cigarettes, motorcycles, movie theaters. But let’s think about that big, abstract word again that comes looming outwards: nostalgia, and moreover, the big question: Is this music nostalgic? Yes, and no, but mostly no, and I’ll explain why.
Torn Hawk’s Luke Wyatt builds shimmering, not-quite-legible dreamscapes out of synth tones, drum beats, samples and heavily effected guitar. A video artist, as well as musician, his cuts have a cinematic, wide-angle focus, evoking both restless motion and serenity. This third full-length, after a slew of singles, fills out his sound, soothing abrasive beats with a floating fog of sustained notes.
Luke Wyatt, aka Torn Hawk, has released such an intimidating amount of music over the past few years that it can be difficult to get a handle on what he's about. Is he the archly ironic synth pop auteur of Through Force Of Will, or the stargazing aesthete of 'Born To Win', for example? However, on the cumbersomely titled Let's Cry And Do Pushups At The Same Time Wyatt provides his clearest artistic statement yet, trading the punky exuberance of his early efforts for a far more measured approach. Guitar driven and melody led, Wyatt's tracks unfurl with discursive unpredictability.