Wingdisk – Time is Running Out EP

Time is Running Out EP

Every once in a while I like to be transported from this world of pain into a comforting womb of sound wherein the cruelty of modern life is held at bay. Actually I’d like to find a job there, buy a house, have my stuff shipped from this world, and send back a post card saying “Just arrived, weather fine, wish Wingdisk was here.” The sad serenity of Time is Running Out would be a welcome quarter-hour of dreamy pop alongside tantalizing interludes of indecipherable voices and found sounds with which to begin my new life.
Wingdisk is a duo comprised of former members of Pale Saints and the Montgolfier Brothers, and anyone familiar with those bands wouldn’t be too surprised at the sound and tone of this EP. Very pretty, haunted songs are sequenced with the shorter bits to make two whole pieces, one for each side of the vinyl (though my copy was actually in disc form, which made it much easier to cram in the CD drive). Like with ex-Montgolfier Brother Mark Tranmer’s previous duo, these songs have the quality of a soundtrack, subtle enough to work as mood music for some bittersweet scene of people doing stuff and saying things yet more than just aural wallpaper. There is something defiant in the unwillingness of the music to be too demonstrative, which would be noble but boring if it wasn’t so captivating.
The quiet bossa-nova inspired “Rio” is, if anything, too brief, introducing a lovely chord progression outlined by Spanish guitars, piano, and a cyclical phrase played on what sounds like a backwards marimba (or xylophone, I’m never sure which is which). It builds to the seven-word vocal – “Why don’t we go back to Rio?” – only to fade out again. Drifting like motes of dust in a sunbeam, it passes away before becoming anything more, but it is very beguiling. I like that I can’t quite describe what this music is. Is it pop? Yeah, but it’s too impressionistic to be just that. Is it soundtrack music? Well it would make a great example of it, but without an accompanying film, I guess not. Actually the disc itself is too short to really pin down what these guys are all about so let’s pose the question this way:
Q: Do you want to hear more Wingdisk? A: (in the form of a flippant Q) Does the Pope shit in the woods? In a word, yes.
In one of the nameless interludes the soothing, friendly voice of a Japanese stranger speaks mysterious words over the muffled sound of a train barreling over tracks on its way to somewhere – apropos I guess, considering much of this was recorded in Japan, where ex-Pale Saint Ian Masters now calls home. Maybe the voice is saying: “Dudes, I could really go for seven-and-a-half minutes of melancholic, lump-in-throat wistfulness that makes me want to stare longingly out of a misty train window while a gentle electro beat pulses underneath a wash of synthesized strings.” Or maybe he’s saying: “Try the mahi-mahi, it’s good for you.” If it’s the former then he’s in luck, because the ensuing “Departure Lounge” is just that. In fact it’s probably good for you as well.
This EP is low-key stuff, but it’s consistently engaging, too much so to remain in the background where you may be tempted to relegate it. I don’t know what else Wingdisk has planned for the future, but I hope Messrs. Masters and Tranmer find time among their various projects for more collaborations like this.