Entry Requirements: over 14s (under 16s must be accompanied by an adult)
“Our technology, our machines, is part of our humanity. We created them to extend ourselves, and that is what is unique about human beings.”–Ray Kurzweil Although civilization’s transition into a cyborg world seems inevitable, there are still those who recognize the beauty and power of a human touch to complement the circumvention. Jack Tatum understands this balance, and through a decade making music as Wild Nothing he has learned to embrace both sides of that dynamic—but perhaps never as distinctly as on Indigo, the fourth Wild Nothing album. On one hand, it is a return to the fresh, transcendent sweep of his debut, 2010’s Gemini, and on the other, a culmination of heights reached, paths traveled, and lessons learned while creating the follow-ups, Nocturne and Life of Pause. Indigo finds Tatum at his most efficient, calculated, and confident—resulting in an artful blend of hi-fi humanity and technology that fires on all circuits and synapses. Whereas Gemini was the sound of Tatum making the album he imagined in his bedroom and 2012’s Nocturne was the result of his first turn in a proper studio, followed by 2016’s Life of Pause, a multi-studio tinkering odyssey spanning time and spaces, this 2018 maturation finds Tatum arriving at total creative openness. “My entire 20’s have been spent on this project, and in that sense you inherently find the limitations in what you make,” Tatum says. “With the last record I was trying to stretch out as far as I could, but with Indigo I’ve created something that has homed in on its own identity. My life has become less about chasing these creative bursts and more about learning to channel my creativity.”Every note, every sound, every breath on a Wild Nothing release is intentional, and Tatum admits to exhausting every possibility in his quest for perfection—an arc familiar to all artists. Like the novelist who admits to gratuitousness in their early works, Tatum speaks to learning concision. “I’ve been a musician since age 10,” he says. “It’s always been fun for me, and there is always going to be a part of making music that feels like a puzzle: how do I put these pieces together to create something?”To make Indigo, Tatum confronted the Man vs. Machine dichotomy by seizing on the surrounding synergy. In his studio, he would write pieces of songs on guitars, with keyboards, “in the box” with plug-ins and programs—whatever held his interest on any given day. Sticking to his routine, he built a series of highly detailed demos, intending to record the final package swiftly with a live band in a studio and—bucking against the trend of the rougher sound of Wild Nothing’s peers—in a clear, bright, 1980’s-inspired fidelity. “I’ve finally accomplished a hi-fi sounding record,” Tatum reflects.