An enigma this one, the debut release - a decade in the making - from an artist about which we know very little. It’s a mysterious, confessional beauty - a diaristic mix of half-cut songs and textured, bittersweet electronic collage that we urge you to check if you’re into anything from Klein to Burial, Tricky to Mica Levi, Young Echo to RZA’s Ghost Dog OST.
soaring wayne phoenix story the earth is a fascinatingly intimate yet elusive record that was made by a trained pianist creating a kind of all-encompassing audio diary that subsequently spent a decade filed away in a drawer. After marinading in the archive while trends passed by, the fleeting stop/start collage of honest humility and ephemeral thoughts resembles a time capsule of a former, or parallel, self; one the artist is only now at ease to come terms with. Vacillating moments of profound lucidity and penetrative pangs of anxiety, Wayne lays his soul bare in that most vulnerable way that can sometimes lead to the greatest art, and finally finds himself in solid, empathetic company among Halcyon Veil’s sensitively intuitive spirits such as Myslma, Mhysa and of course, Rabit.
One of those debuts that feels uncannily familiar on first encounter, the album dredges a remarkable and unshakeable depth of feeling and human insight via its mazy tile of vignettes, drifting from softly textured, deep blue witching hour logic to more grizzled, Tricky-esque realisations and glossolalic expressions that practically, poetically say as much as his legible lyrics. In between, pockets of fractured music box melody and sorely textured beats flower and weed in the gaps, sounding something like RZA’s ‘Ghost Dog’ OST adapted from dilapidated NYC rooftops to the same drizzly London streets inhabited by Burial, Klein and Mica Levi.
Maybe best of all though, there’s very little pretence to this record. It simply sounds like the artist is working out their feelings thru music in an exposed, genuine way - you get the sense that it really didn't matter to them if nobody else ever heard it. But here we are, and Wayne Phoenix’s frayed, dreamlike tapestry of self reflections are set to become part of our contemporary consciousness in 2020.