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This World
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Zak Riles (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, oud, saz, keyboards, sequencer); Tyler Trotter (lap steel guitar, melodica, keyboards, drum machine); Britt Walford (drums).
  • Audio Mixers: Jeremy DeVine; Zak Riles.
  • Recording information: Locust, Kentucky; Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Photographer: Jessica Fey.
  • This World is the first output from Louisville, Kentucky-based Watter, a trio made up of Grails member Zak Riles, multi-instrumentalist Tyler Trotter, and drummer Britt Walford, best known up until this point for his contributions to the legendary and ever-mysterious Slint. Released in 2014, This World is the first rustle of noise heard from Walford since Slint's abrupt evaporation nearly 20 years prior, and there are some echoes of his tenuous rhythms in the six instrumental landscapes that make up Watter's debut. Beginning with the clinical synths of "Rustic Fog," the band sets out on a journey of sonic shifts, marked by hints of Louisville's rich history of independent instrumental music. Standout track "Lord I Want More" begins with some of the same wandering pastoral folk guitar that Grails would get into during their more folky moments and is slowly joined by haunting piano from Rachel's player Rachel Grimes. The song is held up by strains of synths and naturally dissolves into a bath of muffled analog tape sounds and otherworldly ambience. Former Slint bassist Todd Cook shows up to add bass to the dark tabla-driven rhythms of "Seawater" and former King Crimson member Tony Levin even makes a guest appearance on the epic groove of "Small Business." By and large, This World is a slow-burning, rocking beast, augmented at times by softer sections of gentle pseudo-classical and traditional folk-blues. The album plays on the strengths of its players without trying to re-create the incalculable magic of any of their other projects. Instead, Watter set out on an exploratory path all their own, reflecting deeply in the form of both rowdy exclamations and hushed looks inward. ~ Fred Thomas
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