Gerald Wenzel: La Feria/Pfeiria

Application Specific, ongoing

The latest project from Phthalo-alumnus Gerald Wenzel is an archive of tracks in MP3 and Ogg-Vorbis format. La Feria is available for free download on the Application Specific Web site, but can also be purchased on CD-R for a small fee. There are currently forty short tracks organized by creation date.

The second part of this project are the Pfeiria mixes, beat-matched meldings of La Feria snippets. There are currently seventeen of these on Wenzel’s site, but custom mixes are also available upon demand; anyone can design a sequence by choosing their favorite ten tracks. I listened to the Terminal 11-, Bobby Karate-, and Wobbly-designed mixes. The overlaps between tracklists tend to discourage playing these mixes consecutively, but taken as stand-alone pieces, they are good. Wenzel’s textured electronics and the occasional sample repeat over driving rhythms. Electronic instruments shift in and out gradually, and though there’s little in the way of melody, there are some clicks and cuts-style breakdowns.

Although the mixes make for pretty good listening, Wenzel’s interactive distribution model is the most interesting aspect of this project. I hope he eventually offers longer pieces in the form of custom CDs, perhaps without any mixing. The constant beat necessary for a mix can detract from the experimental side of Wenzel’s sounds. In other words, the textures of his electronics seem more important than the rigid rhythms to which they’re melded.

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