W-X (White Fence’s Tim Presley) – “Clean It Glen” (Stereogum Premiere)

W-X (White Fence’s Tim Presley) – “Clean It Glen” (Stereogum Premiere)

W-X is the new experimental solo project by White Fence’s prolific Tim Presley — so prolific that W-X is his second new project this year after Drinks, his duo with Cate Le Bon. There’s still a familiar vintage vibe with W-X, but it’s quite a bit different from White Fence. Here, Presley uses psychedelic distortion not to conjure free-spirited happiness but in service of a chill high. W-X’s self-titled debut album is a 20-track double-LP, and its first single is “Clean It Glen.” A gurgling voice utters that phrase in the background throughout the whole song; in the foreground, Presley uses sprechgesang on top of lo-fi synth and guitar noise. At one point the synth sounds like a radio dial searching for a signal. It’s an avant-garde approach and yet another outlet for Presley to stretch his well-known capabilities. Listen below.

W-X is introduced through an atmosphere-setting poem by John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees/Coachwhips/Pink and Brown), who’s releasing the album on his Castle Face label:

I look across the table at the man
cuban coffee in hand, cigarette stuck to lip
glasses nearly opaque grey blue
you can see his sleepy eyes but only just barely
and i think “this man has been up all night in the song-lab writing while the masses sleep”
Like Poe, eyes screwed up from working by candle light
Nicely high but not for pleasure…for the boundless job
Not that these songs are to be listened to strictly at night while lit up, but it seems they lean that way
Blown and bent like trees on a white noise swept plain
Surreal like a wet city street after hours
Winding like a nocturnal drive through the backstreets
End upon beginning like a borderless landmass
Each song or structure tail bleeding onto the fingertips of the next
Barely holding onto the fur of cohesion

I think of this record as kind of a “Tim Presley reads his book on tape”
The story of life in Los Angeles flowing like the low moisture river that it is
The start is uphill, long and slow, and you ponder when you will be spat out onto the straight away
By the time “Clean It Glen” kicks in, your hands are sweating
and then you are there and it is glassy and wonderfully repetitive, repetitive, repetitive
Lights are flashing
Cars are passing
There is synthesized wild life here
Blips that are winged
Crackles that are slithering through the digital grass
Echo ripples across a chrome topped body of water
You catch a glimpse of yourself in a store-that-sells-something window
Beats are the staccato lines on the road being eaten by the undercarriage of the vehicle that whips Through this world
Guitars are trash and debris
A headphone record at its primal best
Far out and geographically odd
Every time i play this someone asks, “what the hell is this?”
I say W-X
Dig in
Best to listen to it in its entirety
A vast 20 course experience served on twin platters
A carnival
A far cry from White Fence and yet still the scent lingers on the fingers
He told me I would hate this repeatedly and I replied that it is my favorite masterpiece of his (of which there are many)
This record looks through to the matrix of Tim’s songsmith genius, don’t forget to blink

For fans of early Soft Machine, The Fall, The Tronics , general clutter, disarray and Faust

Here’s a portrait of Presley by his Drinks bandmate, Le Bon:

And here’s the W-X tracklist:

01 “Intro”
02 “The Lurk”
03 “Steer Clear”
04 “Running From The Dogs”
05 “Copping In The Afternoon”
06 “If Someone Hears That”
07 “Restless Leg”
08 “Extortion”
09 “Dancing Lips”
10 “Brazilian Worm Band”
11 “Moment”
12 “Two Peaceful Death Birds”
13 “Clean It Glen”
14 “Desert Temple Players”
15 “Trap Deal Part 1″
16 “Trap Part 2″
17 “Trap Part 3″
18 “Sacri-Face”
19 “The Saddest Lyrics I Have Ever Written”
20 “Hermit Stomp (Simple Times)”

W-X is out 11/7 via Castle Face Records.

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