Daniel Menche
Vílke Review

Written by Anonymous

Daniel Menche is a sound artist based out my hometown of Portland, OR. Since his first release in 1993 he has created a vast body of work. His latest release is entitled “Vilké”, released on CD, Double LP (500 copies), and Cassette Tape (50 copies) by Sige records. The title is of Lithuanian origin and translates to “female wolf”. The music is said to be inspired by the sound of a pack of howling wolves Menche heard during a hiking excursion, which served as the essence of this recording.

The album comes packaged in beautiful ash/charcoal paintings by Faith Coloccia (Mamiffer, Ever Lovely Lightning Heart) that accompanies the music perfectly. I am always impressed with the quality of releases Sige Records puts out. You can tell Aaron and Faith put their hearts and souls into each and every release. The amount of attention and detail they put into their releases is unmatched and deserves recognition.

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Vilké is broken into 4 parts, each part taking up each side of this Double LP. The music found on Vilké is dark, dense, and textured. Vilké is meticulously crafted; every sound and nuance is masterfully composed and put in just the right place. The 4 parts flow seamlessly, taking the listener on a sonic journey through anxiety inducing loops, soothing ethereal soundscapes, and haunting melody that create a thick atmosphere. Parts 3 & 4 contain the most memorable moments on this LP for me. Part 3 opens with a frantic, tribal drum rhythm that conjured images of being stalked and hunted by a pack of rabid wolves through the night. Part 4 begins with some minimal, dissonant guitar work that slowly transitions into the chiming of a bell, somewhat reminiscent of Current 93’s “Faust”. Buried underneath it all, you can hear what I believe to be the faint choir of the wolves that ties the 4 parts into a coherent whole.

All in all, Vilké is a monumental album and I’m sure fans will herald this album as an essential Daniel Menche release in later years. Vilké merits repeated listens; there are so many layers and so many subtle nuances and textures that with each listen, there is something new to be heard.

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