I is a brand new musical project for listeners to explore and embrace this week. It’s the debut collection from New York’s creative duo Witnesses. To call them a creative duo seems about the only fully appropriate label, as the music throughout this release is incredibly varied, deeply atmospheric, and incomparably creative.
It’s not right to prescribe how to listen, but if you’ll indulge us–dim the lights and silence distractions. – Witnesses.
Each of the twelve tracks on I plays a part in the art that is the project in full. Most of the individual tracks are less than two minutes long, and so to get the full effect of what’s being expressed, to feel exactly how the music should make you feel, you really do need to listen in full. You can rest assured that you won’t be disappointed when you do.
It’s impossible to summarise the listening experience in writing, the soundscapes that unfold as the project progresses are unexpected, largely experimental, but always notably hypnotic and powerful. As you move from Trapped to They’re Outside, the music evolves around you, the instrumentation gathers up and gains momentum. I can only speculate that the imagery that emerges is unique to each listener, but wherever the story takes you the feeling is intense and captivating. Not the sort you’d want to experience halfheartedly.
That Was Yesterday seems itself like a snippet of something bigger, though it leads you well into the following few moments. The shortness of these segments of the project does at times leave you craving something more, but there’s always another page quickly turning to replace the feeling. Plus, it’s far better to have this effect on your audience than the undesirable opposite.
The saxophone sound that appears intermittently is welcomed, always perfectly placed, yet again impossible to predict. These moments, actually, where the organic instrumentation appears alongside the ethereal, are some of the the most striking of all. The fact is, just as you think you can settle into the sound, settle into the song, as it were, the producers close the doors on that moment and swiftly drive your attention elsewhere. The switch to Wait is the perfect example of this. The sounds that unfold here seem to represent well those times in our lives when things just stop, are turned upside down, or are shaken to their very core. There’s an artistry to this project that is meaningful and provocative on a number of levels, and the more you listen, the more your mind will try to find those ideas and thoughts that inspired the creation of it all – and the closer you’ll get to succeeding.
The Fog Clears brings a thick and satisfying rhythm to the stage, the surrounding sounds still soaked in reverb, and later the incoming addition of a somewhat retro set of short-lived riffs. As you ponder the depth of it, soon enough you’re forced to find your way back from wherever your mind has taken you, as the greatly contrasted Escaped appears. These snippets of ambiance and emotion are enough to inspire the most profound of thoughts, but they are so brief that they pass by much like some of our favourite moments from life itself. As mentioned, the artistry of this release is deeply interesting, and it really only works the way that it should when you give it your full attention.
Delivered offers up the final two minutes or so of sound, and it’s not the first time at which you’re likely to question the relevance of each title within the collection. The only surviving, clearly audible thread throughout is possibly the soul-searching saxophone, the last gasp of which appears as an intensely passionate and perhaps heart breaking goodbye. There’s much more to the album though than the instrumental choices and notes. Consider the names of these tracks as you listen, and the mind has more of a suggested direction in which to wander.
It’s an impressive project, to say the very least. As creative as can be, as unusual and original as possible, without sacrificing relevance or beauty. There are a string of emotions within the tracks and these pass on superbly to you as a listener – this is instrumental music at its most effective. The production is pristine from start to finish, each instance is done justice by the final polish, nothing is left in the background or deprived its moment under the spotlight. I is more than worth the time it takes to experience it in full. Listen loud, appreciate, and enjoy.
Download the album via Bandcamp. Find and follow Witnesses on Facebook & Twitter.