When I first listened to Reminisce, I was lifted out of my desk chair and brought into the warm recollection of summers passed, days from years ago that feel closer and closer every time you reflect on them. WMD has a knack for presenting a welcoming universe of sounds and moods that take you out of the present moment, a transformative quality that not all musicians can achieve. The words above are a perfect explanation of the album at its core, but the expansive intimacy of this release encapsulates the heart of remembrance.
Rem-i-nisce (ˌreməˈnis): indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events.
RELEASE DATE: 05 September 2017 LABEL: Self-released
Michael Erickson, the artist behind WMD, has always been honest and immediate with his music, crafting a blend of ambient electronic soundscapes with a spark of melancholy. His albums Limerence and Wilt indicate his emotional states at the time of each album, and Reminisce is no different. While it definitely has the down-hearted aesthetic fans of WMD have come to love, this album displays a positive looking glass into memories and feelings had, showing the growth of Erickson as a person and musician respectively. Songs like “On the Water, We Talk” and “It Was 9:30 and You Were Beautiful” are poetic and straightforward, giving us a true understanding of where WMD takes us on Reminisce.
Listening to this album reminded me of summer nights when the sun stays out past curfew, laughing with friends on a deck playing card games. We should be going home, but it won’t be dark for a few more hours. It reminded me of crawling into hoodies for comfort when the heavy air chilled my skin. It reminded me of places I’ll likely never go again, and people I’ll likely never see. The music presents a soothing, introspective universe to view the times we’ve spent in an optimistic light to beautifully contradict the longing we have for the past. The atmospheric, bubbling melodies are at the height of WMD’s work, and this album stands as one of his most open and intimate yet.
The music of Reminisce shows a definite transformation in WMD’s sound, leaning more towards an electric guitar for lead melodies and letting the synthesizers and keyboards fill out the atmosphere. You can’t help but draw a distinction between him and Tycho, who utilizes organic instruments along with their electronic sound. While WMD presents the same idea, he does so with his own core sound, which incorporates samples and a heavier tendency for ambient and chiptune textures. I wouldn’t normally compare the two, but the track “Dawn Chorus” is a true homage to the lively synths Tycho is known for mixed with WMD’s hip-hop oriented percussion.
Each song by WMD is as immersive as the next, but “On the Water, We Talk” immediately surrounds you with a sincere guitar line and enveloping sonic backdrop. The birds chirping peacefully in the background give the song its summer morning environment for it to unfold, and it is one of the most heartfelt songs I’ve heard from Erickson thus far. The song has an obvious personal relation to him, but the music is open for anyone to draw meaning from. To me, I’m impressed at the fact that there’s this much depth to his releases, a pursuit I never thought I’d find in electronic music. I was first drawn to this genre so I can chill out and rest my head, but finding an artist who can provide that and more is what makes WMD’s music stand above so many others.
While this album has fundamental distinctions from previous WMD efforts, he still provides key concepts that mark his sound. Perhaps my favorite part of his releases are hearing the final track. Erickson always makes it a special song whether it be a roaring, cinematic finale or a heart-wrenching drone track. This time I was surprised to hear him behind a drum set structuring the perfect backbone to a welcoming final track. “Reminisce” is the accumulative summary of every mood and memory drawn on throughout the album, embellished by empathic drums symbolizing the pleasure it is to remember.
Reminisce shifted the focus of my past memories, exploring the idea that it’s better to remember than to forget. I am happy to recall both good and bad times from my life, because the memories are my own, and what am I if not a collection of them? WMD has yet again won over my interest with a release so profound and relatable it will teleport you somewhere else entirely. Whenever you find yourself thinking about the past, use this album to remember to do so with joy and with bliss.