Kaiwei – ‘Reprocessor’

Reprocessor presents the creatively enthralling sound of Brooklyn-based artist Kaiwei, the project of Taiwanese native Calvin “Kai-Wei” Chang. His debut album embraces darkly invigorating, glitchy soundscapes, touting a dynamic range from unsettling spaciousness to dexterous rhythmic haunts, at times resembling a cross of Burial and Oneohtrix Point Never. The artist’s stylish sound has been featured in fashion shows, art installations, and recently on stage, with Ichen Wang’s Dress in Code.

The album was composed between 2020 and 2022, with its songs capturing “a sonic documentation and ‘musicalization’ of Covid19 era found sounds.” Two hours of raw recordings are reinforced with tactful repetition, weaving in and out with intrigue. The album’s unique creative process is elaborated more:

“No additional sounds are added subsequently. The goal remained making point of solely utilizing and synthesizing prerecorded samples. They are therefore reprocessed rather than reworked, as performative and improvisational mediums and lush layers of ever-morphing textures. More than 120 unique samples were captured over the span of 3 years, and over 50 musicians and artists contributed their voices.”

Plenty of diverse successes stand out. “Identity” is exemplary of the artist’s dynamic range. Soaring vocal effects send chills past the one-minute mark, excelling into buzzing synth ferocity before descending into a lush, spacious allure. Elsewhere, “Bamjam” casts an ominous spell with enveloping brass alongside gentle piano, proving riveting in its ambient glow. The three-part “Tors” sequence also enamors, also captivating in its range from industrial clanking to elegant beauty. At times unsettling and at others gorgeously inviting, Reprocessor is an inventive success from Kaiwei.

“Bamjam” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of October 2023’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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