Wayne Longer is his given name, but you most likely know him as Adderall Canyonly (one can’t easily forget a moniker like that). His vacillating instrumental soundscapes have been driving listeners onward down nameless neon-lit roads since the genesis of the cassette revival (for those who don’t know, that was around 2010). With releases spanning a still-expanding roster of labels (Field Hymns, Null Zone, Tranquility Tapes, or Tandem Tapes — to name a few), it goes without saying that Longer will undoubtedly be remembered — even after the machines have taken over — as a staple of the movement.
Longer has numerous albums cued up for release this year — the first having been an EP released on January 1st, 2019 via Sleep Fuse (a sister label of Reverb Worship — dedicated solely to quality electronic music) on 8mm CD-R.
The album is called The Unburdened Present.
Like most of his previous work, Longer employs tangible instruments (hardware synths, guitars, bass guitars, drum machines) and analog recording techniques in an effort to deliver soundtrack music fit for the grittiest 1980s pulp sci-fi movies that were (unfortunately) never made.
The more synth-heavy tracks (such as the opening song “The Mother of All Fuckers”) consist of punchy stabs and ominous leads that simultaneously pay homage to the likes of John Carpenter and contemporary peers Yves Malone and Giant Claw (his early stuff, specifically) while also treading their own peculiar ground somewhere off in the near distance.
Other tracks rely more on Longer’s guitar work to further conjure hypothetical cinematic moments. In “Radio DNR”, numerous ghostly layers of feedback and untethered distortion float over subtle eighth-note cymbal hits and bleed seamlessly into “Skyscape Over A Major High” — a jam-driven yet subtle track built around a killer bass line and restrained noodling. These are undoubtedly some of the album’s finest moments.
That being said, I’m surprised to hear myself praising guitar work over synth work in an experimental soundtrack album. Such is the nature of experimentation though; the practice of achieving something unexpected sometimes requires a return to previously beaten paths.
Many artists have crises of identity throughout their tenures; often times it churns out excellent results (like Radiohead’s Kid A — the most mainstream example I can think of). However, there are also artists who stand their ground and offer a consistent sound for no reasons other than personal fulfillment and a shameless love for their chosen sub-genre.
Wayne Longer is of the latter party. And in these strange times accentuated by a collective technology-induced mania that leaves our attention spans, tastes and beliefs fickle beyond repair, we should be so lucky to stand in such an artist’s stalwart presence.