Reviews

LO.W. – 1st

Release Date: July 28th 2017
Rating: 6.8/10

LO.W. is the eclectic solo project of Munich-based artist Lorenz Weh. After forming the project in 2015, Weh began experimenting with ideas in a wide range of genres, including folk, electronica and rock. In 2017, Weh decided to take the plunge and cement his mark on the local unsigned scene by releasing his debut EP, which he recorded in his home studio. The resulting product, ‘1st’, effectively showcases an ambitious artist with a real taste for experimentation and a huge amount of potential.

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The EP confidently opens with the full band version of ‘I’d Like To Know’, which sees chorus-laden acoustic guitar lines sat amongst synth samples and sparse percussion. Genre-wise, the track interestingly fuses progressive rock with folk and pop, standing as testament to the project’s wide range of influences. My attention quickly turns to Weh’s vocal style, which is overall excellent. He delivers his lyrics in a soft, albeit confident manner and there’s a real sense of intimacy in his delivery. This works excellently against the acoustic guitar and ambient synth sounds, showing good attention to detail. The lead vocal is double-tracked and there’s a frequent use of backing vocals across the arrangement. This adds a wonderful sense of presence to the track and also highlights key points of the lyrical content. As a result, this is a ball I’d very much encourage Weh to continue to pick up and run with on future releases.

‘Endurance’ makes use of a grunge-influenced chord progression set against a four-on-the-floor drum pattern. Particular praise on this track goes to the synth bass part, which is very well-written and recorded. The tone is full-bodied and slightly distorted, effectively filling out the midrange and adding a larger-than-life dimension to the track. The part is also melodically-adventurous without becoming overbearing, sufficiently gluing together the rest of the arrangement by providing solid harmonic and rhythmic infrastructure. This again shows fantastic attention to detail and good arranging abilities. Weh’s vocal part on this track features heavy reverb, which I felt made the lyrical content somewhat difficult to decipher. However, this may have been intentional.

‘Let Me Go’ is a more laid-back track rooted in a minor tonality. Being primarily stripped back to just acoustic guitar and vocals, I felt this track served as an excellent display of Weh’s songwriting talents. The vocal melody is well-crafted and interesting, exploring the minor tonality well whilst retaining a catchy feel about it. There’s also a fantastic blues-influenced guitar solo towards the end of the track, which I felt was a pleasant surprise and added a significant amount of interest to the arrangement. At this point, my attention turns to how Weh’s material would best work in a live setting. As much of the material has a personal and intimate feel to it, I believe a small backing ensemble consisting of a drummer and keys player may work well. An ensemble such as this would effectively retain the intimate feel the material required, whilst also effectively representing the recorded versions.

‘Time’ is an electronic track featuring heavily-processed lead vocals, distorted synth lines and plainchant-style backing vocals. I found this track reminiscent of video game scores, which I felt was a very interesting and unique influence. With this in mind, it may be worth Weh considering composing for video game or film projects in the future as his skills would be very-well suited in this area. The track is excellently-arranged, featuring everything from short acoustic breaks to larger-than-life synth and vocal sections. The main hook of ‘time’ is also employed at every opportunity, making the track incredibly catchy.  My focus now turns to Weh’s sonic identity, which is certainly on track to becoming fully-formed and thoroughly-channeled. Whilst Weh does indeed hop drastically from genre to genre, the EP is effectively tied together by his signature traits. These include double-tracked vocals, acoustic-led sections, full-bodied synth tracks and sparse percussion. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how Weh chooses to further-develop his signature traits and refine his genre over his next few releases in order to craft a fully-formed sonic identity.

The EP rounds off with an acoustic version of the opening track, which I felt effectively brought things full circle and left me keen to hear more from the project. The track reprises all elements from the full-band version, albeit being solely arranged for acoustic guitar and vocals. This effectively showcases the strength of Weh’s songwriting abilities and showcases the song in an interesting new light. Finally, my attention turns to the EP’s production, which is overall very good. All instruments are well-recorded and it’s clear Weh has taken adequate time to obtain appropriate tones and takes at the source. All levels and frequencies are also well-balanced and the production has a consistent feel to it from track to track, resulting in a cohesive and coherent final product.

Overall, ‘1st’ effectively displays a talented and ambitious artist with a huge amount of potential and the beginnings of a very interesting sonic identity. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where Weh chooses to take the project in the coming years and am confident he’ll continue to make significant headway in his career. Highly recommended for any fans of acoustic or chill out.

https://www.facebook.com/LO.W.musics/
https://www.instagram.com/lorenzweh/
https://soundcloud.com/lorenz-weh

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