Before you read any further, I would like to ask 12 minutes and 19 seconds of your time. Find a nice, relaxed spot and play the track “Transfer Station Blue” by Michael Shrieve. Don’t do anything, just let it run its course.
Annapurna Illusion, Black Zone Myth Chant, Enfer Boréal, Kunlun, and perched atop the multi-tiered totem pole of a mysterious French man, is High Wolf.
Armed with an electric guitar and a strong arsenal of pedals and other effect-generating devices, the wolf conceives auditory portals from where he leads and guides listeners to become disciplined psychonauts that embark on far-out journeys into the universe of their own minds. Spirits of ancient tribal rites rise from their respective burial grounds, materializing as the listeners’ vessel into the next realm. Known just by the name of Max when stripped of all his aliases, his legion of musical projects transcend spiritual music styles from all over the globe, be it elements taken from polyrhythmic African customs or the meditative energy found in Central Asian chants. Weaved into High Wolf’s compositions are also jazz influences, psychedelic rock and reggae dub.
Coming up, a 7-track menu from High Wolf’s hodgepodge of psychedelic world cuisine.
High Wolf – “Étoile Star” (2011)
You are laying in your bathtub. Music from this tape is playing from a radio right next to you. The bath water is filled with bubbly foam from the “Sun Araw” brand of bath soap. It is very relaxing. As you lay in this sanitary space, your perception of time and space begins to dissolve. You are unaware of the fact that your radio has fallen into the bath water. It doesn’t matter; the minute charges emitted by the radio are insufficient to cause any lethal harm. Instead, tiny electrical bursts are released into the foamy water blend, providing you with an unintended full body massage.
High Wolf – “Astro Black Ghost, Speak To Me!” (2009)
This early High Wolf recording is a shrine that consists of the usual assembly of effect devices, built as a gateway to summon the spirits of the grand Sonny Blount. Somewhere between those layers of wonderful percussions and fuzzy sound waves, you can hear fragments of a conversation between High Wolf and Astro Black Ghost: “The outer-space beings are my brothers. They sent me here. They already know my music.” A dubby, enchanting guitar jam delight. Cassette release only.
High Wolf – “Girls, Amen” (2015)
Released through LA-based spiritual label Leaving Records, this is perhaps the one that has reached the widest range of audience. One ought to admit that this is dancefloor-worthy material. The groovy Tuareg-inspired (or sampled) guitar play over an electronic drum beat changes into an even more bass-induced booty shaker as the track progresses, nearly catching everyone off guard; only to find themselves reverting back to a dancing frenzy.
High Wolf – “Theorem 86” (2016)
One of the more recent High Wolf outputs. Featuring hypnotizing Shangaan Electro pulses, this tribal musical phenomenon from South Africa can be considered the equivalent of the Western techno movement. A non-stop dancing alert that helps one forget all about life’s routines and troubles!
Black Zone Myth Chant – “If God Is Not Here” (2015)
If God is not here, whose nebulous voice is it bellowing through this down-tempo synth track? Is it a ghost of one of High Wolf’s many musical adorations? Or perhaps the reflection of our own selves; one that speaks to us and helps us realize that we are creators and keepers of our universe. I don’t know! What I do know is that this is an excellent trippy song and that it helps me to write pseudo-existential jib-jab.
Annapurna Illusion – “Ambrosio” (2011)
One of High Wolf ́s many alter egos. Less fused-out but still layered, this album project features meditative compositions that lead the listener into High Wolf ́s usual altered states. All the song elements and instruments are in their prominent positions. As a listener you are now less occupied with locating and processing all those murky straws in these haystacks of sounds. This could appeal to a slightly more modest audience looking to experience High Wolf ́s field trips into the depths of the soul.
High Wolf – “Stars Priest” (2012)
This is is a rather uplifting composition with its somewhat frolic guitar play, which is a very welcome addition to these other stretched-out songs of dark slumber. A track that lowers your feet back to the ground after an intense out-of-body experience.
High Wolf will be performing at Strange Sounds From Beyond Festival on Sunday, June 25th, 2017. Tickets are available here.