Earlier this month, local multi-instrumentalist Wanz Dover released Another Five Hours, the second offering under his Silver Saint moniker. Aesthetically, the project's sound is in the vein of the early '80s New York art-rock and no-wave scenes, specifically the work of avant garde guitarist/composer Glenn Branca. Having directly worked with Branca during his 'hundred guitar symphony' performances, Dover had ample opportunity to absorb influence from one of our era's greatest musicians -- and it shows.
This new release is really something special. Once you get past initial impressions, the new Silver Saint EP reveals itself to be a subtle, but complex work of varied compositional techniques. Equally informed by techno, minimalism, and shoegaze, Another Five Hours is a muscle-bound wall-of-sound expanse - an incendiary mix at once linear and serpentine - complete with a depth of lyricism that's like poetry writ from wailing guitars. It's achingly beautiful, but in a very jaded, fatalistic way-- "a melancholy optimism, totally damaged" as Dover himself put it. As an artist famed for his versatility, having projects ranging from dub techno to proto-punk, Dover is a man that exploits his artistic inclinations to the utmost. Each guise he works under is a release valve for a unique, and often very specific, creative temperament. Here is where The Silver Saint is different: "It's more of a concept than it is a band...Silver Saint is a summation of everything I've done over the past twenty years filtered into one project," Dover explains. Whereas with his other projects, Dover knowingly limits himself to a narrowed palette, The Silver Saint affords Wanz the opportunity to pool his collective musical interests into one comparatively open, grid-less outlet. Even Dover's formal education in electro-acoustic composition - a leftfield, largely academic form of electronic music - makes an appearance on his new EP. The song in question, "Entering the Abyss of the Broken Mind," is an atmospheric cut of otherworldly groans and white noise that sounds like a field recording of a dying planet. It's oddly moving. In an unexpected reveal, Wanz assured me that in keeping with the rest of the release, the track was composed entirely from guitar sounds, and nothing more. If this was not simply a means to send me off trail, then wow, has this man found some wonderfully strange music in his guitar.
With a sound this majestic, this big, I assumed that Dover must have worked with several individuals, at the very least an engineer and a handful of guitarists: "Who recorded and mixed the record? Who all played on Another Five Hours?" I asked. "Me" answered Dover, "On the records it's all me, I play everything."
Apart from being a discriminating exploration of the sonic properties and limits of a guitar, Dover's Another Five Hours is a collection of songs plump with emotional radiance. "More so than anything I've ever done, Silver Saint is an honest expression," Dover stated. Though I've only just met Wanz Dover, and although I have but a cursory understanding of the artist's sprawling discography, I can't help but see what he means. This is music from a very true, very imaginative, and very honest place.
You can pick up a copy of Dover's fantastic Another Five Hours EP here.