Weedy of 40 Winks “Retrospect Suite” | Project: Mooncircle
For the last decade, the instrumental hip hop duo 40 Winks has been concocting loops and beats from the Belgian metropolis of Antwerp. They take their self-declared mantra of “No hay banda”, or “There is no band!”, from a Mulholland Dr. scene in which a performing trumpet player pulls the brass away from his lips and still the music plays on without him. “No hay banda” is a telling statement of what 40 Winks achieves through the illusion of sampling, to see an orchestra where there is none – in the space between your headphones.
Last month, one half of the Sinjoren duo, Weedy, put out his first solo effort through Project: Mooncircle, titled Retrospect Suite. With esteem to his partnership project, Weedy has credited himself on the LP as Weedy of 40 Winks and in terms of the synapses sparked in the listener Retrospect Suite is a successful continuation of what 40 Winks has set out to conjure.
Retrospect Suite begins by dropping us into an ethereal melody. As an introduction it stands as a reminder to don our headphones and to tighten them. A clattering runs across our skull like an automaton clicking through an operation or a phonograph designed by H.G. Wells. The opening track “For Us” spends a moment waiting in sparse key and percussion before bursting into a high hat fondling, bass riding piece of funk-tinged melancholy. Nina Simone coos and breathes in masculine airy cuts all across the track until the music drops and it’s just her in the void.
From here the rest of the LP glides off of this high note, the playful jazz of “Warmulis”, the steamy “Nocturnal”, and world beat of “Afterjam” that Weedy scratches into the fluttering paean to recently passed folk-jazz pioneer Terry Callier. Retrospect Suite is a homage all around, Weedy of 40 Winks pays respect to his samples like they were mystical family heirlooms pulled dramatically from his sleeve. The retrospection present is deeply dream-like, as if collected in warm pools of consciousness.
As deep as the concepts of a dream are to their dreamer the same can be said about a loop to their looper. The contents of Retrospect Suite are fragile, assembled by hand in a process that takes no short cuts. In that regard, the album’s cover art mirrors Weedy’s own process; an outline of a phonograph seemingly photoshopped over an assortment of instruments has in truth been delicately hand cut from a collage of photographs. The easy option, the strictly digital one, was available to cover artist Burry and likewise in Retrospect Suite for Weedy. Instead they hunched in close and carved out their works in a process that requires skill and love for the medium as well as the pieces used to create the whole.
Retrospect Suite leaves nothing to be desired, except for, well, more. Maybe we’ll see another album from the duo 40 winks before this time next year and perhaps some time after, Weedy of 40 Winks will pull another private deck of samples out his sleeve. In the meantime we can all hit repeat and do as Weedy does – loop it.
by Nick Bernal
Weedy of 40 Winks’ Retrospect Suite is available through Project: Mooncircle, Click Here to order a copy.
You can watch Burry’s album art process in the video below.
In a repeatedly rephrased metaphor of vinyl archaeologists digging for samples and re-constructing music from tiny pieces and fractions of long lost sounds, Weedy of 40 Winks is actually a rare example of this image being executed to perfection. His puzzling way of piecing together intricate beats, rich in details, breaks and variations, is rather analogous to surrealist art than to most of his fellow contemporary beat-smiths. On top he adds his own instrumentation to perfect these compositions, being like a conservator creating mosaics of rhythms, grooves and harmonies, giving the listeners imagination ample space to wander about. – Project: Mooncircle