Atypical From The Standard, A Brief History Of Pushing Musical Boundaries
Brother and sister duo, Anne and Volker Wichmann's work goes back as far as the 90s in Germany with their RAWJAW metal project. From the get-go, it would seem that Anne was a born rock star as she would end up fronting the band. After RAWJAW disbanded, perhaps advanced by her leaving Germany, she would go solo with her music career with her She's Excited! project, before she would eventually collaborate with her brother again for SuperWAV. One of the points of focus has to do with the geographical distance put between her and her brother who vied to stay in Germany while she relocated to New York. In 2018, Anne reconnected with her brother for their SuperWAV debut EP, Elements.
With She's Excited!, she dabbles in electronica, with the pursuit in mind of creating her own style of intelligent dance music. She would bring some of that electronic sound with her for the SuperWAV debut, infused with rock. Aside from regular She's Excited! releases, Anne has also co-founded XRE (Extended Reality Ensemble) and ARora, two creative endeavors that curate artistic experiences and exhibitions. There's no doubt that with so much creative stimulation, a new chapter of her musical pursuits would demand a new approach. So happened that the time was right with a new SuperWAV EP.
Support our service and
Or, better yet, register for an account on our site!
Breaking Down SuperWAV's, aTYPICAL
After the experience that is Elements, I was a little reluctant to hear what stripped down sounded like with SuperWAV's latest aTYPICAL release. Elements had that electronic-rock hybrid that I loved. What the fuck was I thinking? I should have known that with enough decades of musical experience Anne and Volker Wichmann know how to drive this one.
The opening track, "The Lover," has that grungy power rock swagger that grabs me by the lapels and shouts "KYUSS!" and I'm in. The guitar riff doesn't establish much of a melody, because that's Anne's job and she comes in like a heater. Her vocalization is on point but also versatile enough to build the melody it needs. I think about a singer trying out different vocal patterns, trying to figure out what the melody is going to be. You wouldn't know if she didn't have a plan because everything she does fits.
"The Warrior" is atmospheric and moody. Volker and Anne disperse their energies through the song evenly, keeping a nice pace. The build-up to the end is subtle, nothing too dramatic and it still sounds like it ends big.
There are tricks to songwriting and they know them well. If there are stylistic tricks at play here, then it works. "The Everyman" switches to what reminds me of Rick Agnew's guitar style of the first Christian Death album. Anne is also on fire in this one, where the duo syncs up perfectly right before that driving riff that ascends and descends the scales. This track comes across as the toughest in the pack.
Then we get to "The Innocent" which is some of the best songwriting I've heard. The delivery of that hook, "What can save me from pleasing by design, what can save this hopeful child." YIKES! This track has the strongest hook on the EP and stays with me for a while after. As we get to the last track, "The Magician", her vocals take the lead with the guitar providing the accents.
The Concept Of The Archetypes
When it comes to songwriting this time around if they wondered if they needed a certain bridge or a certain transition, they weren't afraid to throw it out. Sometimes that's hard to do but these are real artists who take chances. The fact that the duo likes complicated arrangements and production still comes through in this EP. Even though they went for the stripped-down approach, they still couldn't help but approach this album with a complex concept.
According to their Soundcloud page for this release:
"We decided to go back to our roots with our new EP “aTYPICAL” – exploring a specific topic but in a straightforward way, combining a thoughtful approach with the gut feeling of Alternative Rock. The five songs on "aTYPICAL" are about five different archetypes, shedding light on them in an atypical way and exploring their weaknesses and vulnerabilities."
As a visual artist, Anne's approach to reaching her thematic goals is difficult for me to understand. It requires the awakening of different senses that I don't use very often. For instance, statistical observations and typical vs atypical are things that are just too off-brand for my little brain to handle. The idea that there are five main archetypes and that we have them here: lover, warrior, everyman, innocent, and magician, makes sense. In looking those up, I found three of the five with lover and everyman being replaced with orphan and pilgrim.
Going down the search engine rabbit hole, I was referred to an online assessment to see which one of these I was. Those listed were, instead, The Trailblazer, The Optimist, The Caregiver, The Architect and The Philosopher. I ended up ranking for Trailblazer but enough about me, the point is that the Wichmann's had a good time setting up this concept for this release. This in itself is an atypical approach to the creation of this EP which, I know, is just brushing the surface. I couldn't let this go so I consulted AI for this specific list:
"The archetypes you mentioned are not part of any of the models mentioned above. However, the archetypes you mentioned are similar to the ones described in Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette’s book “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine” 4. In this book, the authors describe four archetypes of the mature masculine: the King, the Warrior, the Magician, and the Lover. The Everyman does not have a direct correspondence in Moore and Gillette’s model. However, it can be seen as a combination of the King, Warrior, and Lover archetypes.
Good thing I did because it brings up the single for "The King" which was released in 2020, between SuperWAV's two EPs. Anne explained that the single release came at a perfect time. The Trump reference isn't said outright but then the pandemic would delay their new album efforts and she got busy with her XRE project. This would all lead to a thematic reset for the new album. You can tell that the electronic sound is carried over a bit in that single.
My Interview with Anne Wichmann
I had the privilege to talk with Anne about the new album, the possible regrouping of old bandmates, our favorite music experiences, and her artistic installation projects she's heavily involved in.