Gideon Wolf, A.K.A Tristan Shorr, is the breed of musician that seems to be keeping alive the age-old ideal that if you want to do something, all you have to do is set about making that one thing happen. At the age of twenty nine, and with no previous musical experience, Shorr decided to become a musician. Within six months, he had self-released his first EP and enrolled on a Composition MA at Goldsmiths, and has continued on to become involved with Vlk, as well as a founding member of Orchestra Elastique. Released on Fluid Audio as a limited edition run of two hundred wax-sealed CDs, ‘Paper’ is one release that, although depicting Shorr as one still finding himself sonically, shows the gradient of his learning curve to be very sharp indeed.
Paper is a release that indeed offers up a snapshot of the artist at the moment of its release in a way that very few other albums do. Each of the tracks began as a series of piano improvisations that were live processed by Tom Mudd, with the processed product being played back into the space for the pianist to then work alongside, resulting in an atmospheric yet raw set of compositions to which Steph Patten later added her Cello playing to great effect. Whilst the album as a whole shows the influence that composing for theatre has had upon Shorr, tracks such as ‘The Unknown’, which flits between Penderecki-esque string clusters and insistent, yet naked piano sequences highlight this section of Shorr’s musical direction perfectly yet still manages to work alone. Yet this seemingly deep-rooted theatrical atmosphere doesn’t necessarily come across in tracks such as ‘Cathedral’.
This is a fresh-sounding and seemingly well thought-out release, with tracks such as ‘All of Us’ metamorphosing from a delicate piano piece akin to ‘The Unknown’ to a glitched, electronic goliath of textures, and opening track Paper offering an immediate emotive mix of classical piano style and subtle electronics. ‘Paper’ is a debut that offers only a glimpse of what is to come from Gideon Wolf.
Review by Max Hampshire