Giant Eyes & Infant Steps
(Girly Girl Musik)
The first tape of 2019 from prolific and versatile Joplin instrumentalist Whettman Chelmets, Giant Eyes and Infant Steps, is a gentle autobiographical concept EP soundtracking the early moments of parenthood, most notably the muddled mishmash of emotions and states one experiences, including exhaustion, confusion, fear, and joy. It’s a complex balance to capture, but it’s struck well between its soft ambient/drone synth swathes pulling you towards rest, and weary, echoing post-rock guitar melodies quietly piercing through the clouds to stir you from a half-sleep (particularly notable on “TFW It’s 4:00 A.M. and You’ve Already Been Up 3 Times”). In contrast to the yin/yang harshness of Whettman Chelmets’ previous two tapes (the crushing industrial nihilism of Annihilate Your Masters and the blindingly hopeful shoegaze radiance of Alas… The Sun Is Shining, and You Are Still Alive), Giant Eyes and Infant Steps is generally more tonally subdued and intimate, allowing its compositions plenty of room to breathe unobstructed by walls of sound. Much of the EP could be categorized as the sounds of insomnia-induced delirium, which helps to accentuate closing track “She Says Dada”, a bright, bubbling, euphoric electronic piece (complete with baby talk samples) representing the moment your child first verbally acknowledges you, the priceless reward for stumbling and pushing through those sleepless nights.
Trippy, yet comforting and personal, Giant Eyes and Infant Steps is a transportive tape brimming with bewilderment and wonder, absorbing you into its snapshot scores of dropped pacifiers and first steps. Depending on your own life experiences, the melding of moods evoked will either come across as all too familiar or completely alien, but regardless, they’ll be recognized as beautiful and a little scary: just like parenting.
Favorite tracks: “She Says Dada”, “TFW It’s 4:00 A.M. and You’ve Already Been Up 3 Times”
Rating: Strongly Recommended
You can purchase Whettman Chelmets’ Giant Eyes and Infant Steps here.