Another day, another Everything Is Noise premiere! Have you ever wondered what the sonic offspring of a downtempo Prodigy and the contemplative, cinematic climate of post-apocalyptic films would be? Good, because today you are invited to unplug, switch off, and journey down the electronically-charged rabbit hole that is WSTLND – the latest release from CNJR – and we have the entire album available to stream exclusively, right here!
Hailing from the Pacific Northwest (a wilderness perfectly encapsulated in the music), WSTLND is CNJR‘s debut LP, following up on 2018’s Hive Mind. Tackling a multitude of emotions, the experience is most certainly darkly cinematic. From start to finish, it strongly conjures imaginary scenes that played out in my mind reminiscent of Blade Runner, The Matrix, and Total Recall. It pulls together wonderfully into a synth-soaked, futuristic-yet-retro symphony that implies you could be listening to a score composed for a film: the kind where you, the audience, helplessly look on as the lone protagonist fights for survival against bitter odds. It’s an LP fraught with moments of calm, endless searching for something, while punctuated with outbursts of danger and suspense.
All of the above is fitting then, given the story behind the album. CNJR describes WSTLND as the product of a critical and complex search ‘in the midst of emotional turmoil‘. Among the ingredients that combined to form this ‘introspective dark cinematic electronic‘, as he puts it: mental health, depression, alienation, and struggles navigating events on a global scale along with those surrounding his sexuality. No issue is too big or too small to have been given consideration in CNJR‘s writing process. The result is a thought-provoking record that shifts and envelopes you, taking your mind to places both make-believe and very much rooted in reality. While introspective, CNJR is quick to dispel notions that the intention is to isolate and withdraw. He states, ‘the experience of this darkness is something that unites us…‘ It is this unity – this sharing of the struggles and darkness with one another – that can shed light on otherwise lonesome and arduous journeys, something communicated in the fluctuations between the minor and major shifts throughout the music.
In addition to the full album stream, you can also watch an exclusive video for the track “HRS” below. The video was directed by the equally-talented Joel Hayden, with vocals courtesy of Lucie Hamzová, and indulges the viewer in a dystopian world constructed to visually complement the audio tapestry woven on “HRS”. It offers a glimpse into the very kinds of troubled neon skylines and alleyways conjured in my mind while listening to the album beforehand, and it was refreshing to see similar results so beautifully realised. You must listen to the entire album though, as this song, while great in its own right, does not tease the best that a wander through WSTLND has to offer.