Based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota Ross Auger has been involved in multiple projects spanning from collaborative rock efforts, to upcoming Hip-Hop sonics, and a strong focus on his own infusion of genres through a solo pseudonym called Wet Eyes. Previously, 2020k held a double sided interview with Auger upon the release of his latest effort Freezing Thoughts Create Stability. The entirety of the interview can be read by clicking here and in it, discussions about differing endeavors and passionate elaborations of work outside of music were detailed and a sense of versatility and talent were published.
Venturing further down the creative slope offered by Wet Eyes, we have an October released Electronic record that dips into post rock and ambient terrain. Freezing Thoughts Create Stability is a record largely indulged in atmospherics and guitar layers that construct melodies which lay over top of delayed and reverberated notes. Background drones are and guitar pads are created in portions that lay underneath the main tracks as a whole, allowing songs to have a great deal of depth and perception inside their playing fields.
“7 To None” takes a more traditional approach to melody and almost sounds like it’s going to drift off into a standard rock area, but continues progressing through added guitars and bass layers. Reverberated claps are brought in midway through the track to create a sense of vibe, but are quickly dropped at the songs end, creating a rhythmic absence and an ease in come down from the unexpected experimentation.
Demonstrating versatility comes with the following song, “Bug In Amber” which is largely a drone piece, complete with delayed guitars that ebb and flow through the songs left and right channels while small synthesized bits drift in and out of them as well. There’s a lot of different ideas and noodles that progress within Wet Eyes records and constant change comes easy and welcome because it’s done through evolvement, not with sharp changes.
Cohesion continues as the minimal percussion samples and lyrical use used on the album’s opening song “Coyote’s Mining” is continued through “Geoglyph”. They’re both in a way, an interpolation of Alternative Electronic music foundations and Post-Rock structure.
Almost nothing on Wet Eyes records seem perfect, in fact, the majority of the sounds arranged and recorded on the albums remain experimental just based in the fact that they aren’t quantized in the slightest. Off beat percussion, rhythm, and melodies obscurely build and base themselves purely on the human effort put forth into them during the time of consumption and recording. Even the mixing techniques on the albums aren’t of spectacular depth, but rather of stripped and minimal approaches. Stereo imaging through rhythmic panning is key on “Volatile Machines,” but for the most part it’s lightly compressed and left to be turned up or listened to quietly. Equalization is used as a means to create sonic niches for the tracks within a track, ensuring no sonic fighting is taken place, and because of this causes an interesting grit and purposeful muddiness to the overall mixes that are reminiscent of a nostalgic aspect of music that’s geared more toward song composition and structure as an alternative toward pristine production that outshines songs that are already artistically flawless.
The most polished aspect of the latest release from the Minneapolis musician would be the two closing tracks. “The Owls Are Not What They Seem” create repetitive ambience in build up for a beautifully layered “Honey Go Downstairs,” that combines rhythmic and melodic structure that lends itself more in a land of Trip-Hop music or something you’d hear as a more beefed up Tosca or Morcheeba track.
A more Boards of Canada vibe finds itself on a more ambient based album called Air Is Movement, particularly on “8 Fold Flower” in which a heavy noise floor follows a repetitive rhythm that subtly builds and beautifully displays a song that plays upon backwards aspects, and little beeps and squeaks that find themselves hiding in the background. “Slow Sift” also gives its way to something of a shoegaze inspired version of the Sandison brothers.
“Settle Down” demonstrates the willingness to compose and play in a more hypothetical world where music theory lends itself to complicated sheet music because of the instrumentation in each instrument being skewed from itself. Eventually, the track comes together in a song that’s reminiscent of something of a more progressive version of Royksopp’s Senior album, while “The Let Go” throws itself into a frenzy of delayed guitar that could make its way onto an The XX project.
Outside of recording, Auger has released projects with Electric Gauge and Electric Aquarium as well as several other bands and artists that you can explore through the Wet Eyes Production Bandcamp (click here). Currently, the Production based record label of sorts is a way for Ross to round up his collectives and distribute them through one outlet, and in our interview it seems bound to stay this way. It’s almost a standard way for artists to place their work out is to start up a record label themselves, so this move is one to follow and continue watching its sequence of events and releases through the years.
The creative bounds and limits are only surface scratched through the article we’ve published and are best admired and looked more deeply into through the media and release outlets Wet Eyes has set up for distribution. The Wet Eyes Bandcamp holds major releases and special, limited edition prints and physical copies, while Ross Auger’s Soundcloud currently contains ten tracks that have been put together and distributed sparsely from the account. You can also catch up with the Wet Eyes project through the official Facebook page and Twitter.
We’d also like to announce that Wet Eyes has taken a stab of the 2020k song “Contagion” and will be featured as an artist who has remixed the track on an upcoming single EP for the song. The single should be released in the beginning of 2013. (For now, you can download the EP version of the song through the official 2020k Bandcamp page by clicking here).
Below, you’ll find “Travel Through” which is a video put together and uploaded to the official Vimeo page. It’s one of the more intense pieces out of the four that are currently featured and our favorite. Wet Eyes certainly leaves an emotional mark in genres of music that seem to be thrown toward a cesspool of mediocrity. This is different. This is emotional lo-fi brilliance at it’s absolute best and we cannot wait to hear more from Auger in all senses of the artistic and creative worlds he’s involved in.