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  • New Artist Spotlight: Wes McClintock’s Synthy Update to Indie and Prog Rock [Video]


    Okay, so maybe the subtitle is just a very niche fantasy held by only the author of this article and some other vintage tech geeks, but a form of progressive electronica has been making its way through the ranks recently, and even more indie electronica acts like Gorillaz and Bonobo do take a couple of pages here and there from the prog rock book. That said, it’s likely not many EDM fans or even more experimental electro lovers would think to put the likes of Yes, Frank Zappa and King Crimson together with synthy electronica melodies and backing.

    Luckily, Canadian singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Wes McClintock has endeavored to merge these two seemingly opposing worlds, and the result is equal parts soulful and interesting with just a little bit of musical wackiness thrown in. His newest album, Open Dream, layers various types of vintage keys, heavy analog bass and an indie rock core to create this fusion. It incorporates loads of different styles to achieve this, playing on the edge of early 2000s hipster rock while bringing in earlier influences like funk, folk, prog rock and, of course, vintage synths like the legendary Moog to pick up almost everything awesome from he late 60s through to today.

    Open Dream opens with an 80s synth-heavy instrumental track called β€œSky.” A true intro to the next intro, β€œSky” sets the tone of the album, adding a loungey groove from McClintock’s funky bass and at least two more types of vintage synths into the mix. Just as it seems like the tune is about to drop into the rest of the song, it fades out before the next song, β€œImaginary Sounds.” Much more in the indie camp than its predecessor, β€œImaginary Sounds” has the warmth and depth many indie rock tracks lack nowadays, and that’s supplied by the expertly played bass and backing electronic sound design. This is a theme that repeats throughout the album, no matter what style or genre McClintock decides to stuff into each track, and likely is and will be part of his signature sound.

    β€œFalling,” Open Dreamβ€˜s third track, is where listeners will really hear McClintock’s love for prog rock, with a bassline and composition clearly influenced by the legendary Canadian band Yes’s most famous track, β€œRoundabout.” β€œFalling” is much spicier, however, as towards the end its impeccable structure purposely devolves into more chaotic synths and a dissonant, almost Zappa-esque guitar solo beings the track to an abrupt stop. What awaits it after that high-energy, beautiful mess? Nothing other than the sweet, soothing tones of a celestial folk song, called β€œWaiting In Line.” It’s clear by this arrangement that McClintock doesn’t intend for the listener to get used to any one style before he switches it up completely, which is smart. Fans can pick their faves for playlists but it also makes for an exciting journey along the trajectory of this album and possibly introduces people to styles, genres and modes of listening to which they’d never otherwise be exposed.

    Open Dream continues to toggle between styles as it continues on, sucking up more and more styles and subgenres in its path. Shrewd listeners will be able to pick up some industrial programming in β€œBreaking Into Noting,” a faint soupΓ§on of trap in β€œLast Time” and some Daft Punk-like funky house in β€œA Different Kind of Sane” but it’s really about the composition that makes the album work on a whole. Then the album closes with another instrumental track called β€œSand,” a fitting way to bring the dreamer back to earth.

    Picking up on the name, Open Dream is truly an open forum of ideas and styles with an emotive, relatable heart that allows it and McClintock to transcend genre. Tldr: it’s just really good music.

    Open Dream is out now and can be streamed on Spotify or purchased on Bandcamp.

    This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: New Artist Spotlight: Wes McClintock’s Synthy Update to Indie and Prog Rock [Video]

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