Wume walks a line between human and machine, never stumbling into the uncanny valley
By Margaret Welsh
Pittsburgh Current Music Editor
Baltimore-based duo Wume is a band devoted to polyrhythms, a fact that, perhaps, sets the stage for a sound that feels inherently contradictory. On its surface, the latest record, Towards the Shadow, feels like something that you could play on repeat for hours: Background music for, say, website building or paper-grading. But the reality is that it sucks you in, opening the door to a kind of meditative state even as you think you’re tuning it out. Inspired heavily by ’70s electronic music and krautrock, drummer/ vocalist April Camlin and Al Schatz, who plays synthesizers, walk a line between human and machine, never stumbling into the uncanny valley.
WUME with MAJEURE, MRS. PAINTBRUSH, FORMOSA. 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28. Brillobox, 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $10. brilloboxpgh.com
Wume, who appears Wednesday, Nov. 28 at Brillobox, formed as a semi-casual project in Chicago in 2010, and relocated to Baltimore as a more serious band in 2013: Schatz is a sound engineer who has worked extensively with Dan Deacon, and Camlin is (among other things) a visual artist, which seems to account for the multi-dimensional feel that permeates much of Wume’s output. Though the name is a reference to Faust – Wümme is the name of the German town where that band recorded early on – it was intended less as a tribute to Faust’s sound, as much as to how it set the figurative stage for recording. “I think it was more just the idea of that situation that Faust was in when they made those recordings and it seems very idyllic to us, you know, having a cabin by a river and just waking up and recording all the time and writing music,” Schatz the Baltimore City Paper in 2015. “That’s something that we fantasize about being able to do someday.”
That fantasy speaks to a surprising serenity – both musical and philosophical — in Wume’s sound, which is most apparent in the duo’s live performances. The two operate in hypnotic lockstep, driven by Camlin’s precise, zen-like drumming. It’s minimal but vast, and fills the room, extending through space.
Locals Majeure (A.E. Paterra of Zombi), and Mrs. Paintbrush (Jackson O’Connell Barlow from Grand Buffet), plus DJ sets by Formosa of the Jellyfish dance night make this a not-to-be missed evening.