Select Level

by Wax Thematique

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1.
The Race 03:24
Tomorrow never happened Wrote it off the list. It's all that I can take There's always someone to take your place Why would I worry about it in a race There's a fire on the water. Fire (x3) Your space. Your place where things are fair Rise to forget at dawn, remember ourselves again Travel, travel to the land Prepare and relax what's coming in waves There's a fire on the water. Fire (x3) A chance to collect all of the silence that you left down A chance to correct it On these islands that you left On these islands
2.
Sham 03:56
Here he's walking in a silent way She's taking in the cellophane They're looking like fish across the room We're happy now Hope this never ends He's lacking any point of view She's watching all of her next moves They're stopping, watching the time roll through Wish I was so, wish I was so fit Shamrock. Shamrock so well..
3.
Valentine 04:51
Fade. It's what you want to do It's been so long. Should have gone a long time ago Always you're around We could start again, now what's the point? Would you run on the same path Only to get at the past now It's the sound. Sound of today Where the wild run away In a way it's a valentine oh yeah Over again, over again at the same pace Save beautiful land Loops of thought in action caught in the rhythm Outside there's a warning Just a faint echo. I'm out of bounds Still caught up tumbling inwards If infinity is all it takes I'm getting tired now It's the sound. Sound of today Where the wild run away In a way it's valentine, Oh yeah Over again, over again at the same pace You're always under You're always under. Undercover And they're watching, and they're waiting you go under Always under. Always under undercover. And they're waiting You go under The key is central to understanding over under They are watching. They are waiting you go under
4.
NVR 06:18
I will try you out. You out You won't drag me down. Not now When you know my way, my name I give it away I give it away You will never see it coming, it's coming You will never believe it, it's only a function You will never see it coming, It's coming Could you ever receive it decoded, uncovered I will tune it out. I can Still I have a choice. Turn down Will I go away, can't say I give it away You will never see it coming, it's coming You will never believe it, it's only a function You will never see it coming, it's coming Could you ever receive it decoded, uncovered
5.
Sign on the dotted line and throw away what you think you know it is Slide your life away and it's never so good that you can't escape the pain. Yeah yeah Ride, you can ride it out, take another turn down the same old road again Save, you can save and hold, close your eyes look down, keep your gaze set steady forward Why, when you know the chance of getting on is slim to none would you spend the time? I wanna cut the cord so I never have to say I know again She's knocking in my door, knocking in my door... Lines, let's say you can wait. Spend all the time in the world just looking backward Force, you can try to go but your feet stay put guess something else is holding.. you down Try.. you could try it again, you could try it again, you could try to clear the last mess Can there even be enough angles in play this time to keep you satisfied? She's knocking in my door, knocking in my door... (keyboard battle) We can stop. We can stop We can, we can, we can stop We can stop. We can stop We can, we can, we can stop
6.
Gov 05:21
We'll start a government. Co-owned Throw down in our own way It's ok, slow town is your town It's alright, you've seen it on your screen Holographic people. They all know what's inside of you It's ok, don't worry. You're alright They're doing it all the time Tension over, overload my senses, let's just stay at home Senses over, overload with tension, let's just stay at home It's a development. Progress. Creeping in Can you find the door? Innerspace available. Trademark Leave the seeds alone Tension over, overload my senses, let's just stay at home Senses over, overload with tension, let's just stay at home (instrumental) Promoter here because of us Developer here because of us Investor here because of us Banker here because of us Policeman here because of us Politician here because of us Position here because of us Shadow here because of us You will stay right here because of us USA right here because of us Us
7.
Connected 04:37
Where. Where did you go? Where it was so surrounded Light. Light it wasn't there I couldn't get around it If I would have known Slowly time unfolds getting older The light is here, we'll drop your fear, lift up the tempo The light is here, we'll drop your fear, lift up the tempo If. If I stay connected will it burn my circuits out? If. If I stay selected will it burn me out? No. I say no The light is here, we'll drop your fear lift up the tempo The light is here, we'll drop all fear lift up the tempo I wouldn't agree. Light never stopped Time wasn't around. I couldn't know
8.
Anakanafauna 05:11
Live. Stay awake Life. Stay awake Sly roaring face Tied. Won't be late Shine. Stay awake Try and make it take Fight through the gate I won't be late

about

SELECT LEVEL
Wax Themátique (WXTM-005)

Heads may know Select Level mastermind Andy Sells best as the limber drummer for soulful fusion explorers Afrocop or as the bassist for noisy prog-rockers Nosretep... or maybe even for his stint in electronic brainiacs FCS North, who existed from 1997 to 2007. This talented Seattle multi-instrumentalist has established that he can get weird and far out in various situations. Select Level finds Sells veering off on a tangent into the realm of sleek music geared for dancing and romancing.
The odd thing about Select Level's self-titled debut album, though, is that it was inspired by wild dreams about homelessness, authoritarian governments, social media's problematic algorithms, and other harbingers of a dystopian future. The eight songs here act as an antidote for said dark times—which are encroaching even as you read these words. Sells' love of disco, post-punk, funk (in its smooth and rugged forms), electro, and Afrobeat all surface on Select Level. “I like just about anything with a hooky bass line and some dirty drums,” he says, and you can tell.
The LP breezes in with “The Race,” a slice of tropical coolness that sounds like the Sea And Cake in languid-funk mode—while wearing Miami Vice pastels. Sells sings with a mellow breathiness that suggests that no matter what obstacles we encounter, everything's going to resolve gracefully. “Sham” is clipped, brisk disco-funk that takes Roxy Music's “Love Is The Drug” to the cabana. The track's become a live highlight—especially for that one couple I saw groping each other to it at the 2017 Capitol Hill Block Party. They're likely not the only listeners who'll liberate their libidos to this song. In a similar vein is “Her Night Door,” a chunky, sophisticated club heater that sashays like Chic while flexing flagrant Billy Preston-esque/Zapp-like keyboard embellishments.
“Valentine” launches with shakers that recall the beginning of Area Code 615's “Stone Fox Chase” before it shifts into lush, laggard disco-funk that splits the difference between Bohannon and early LCD Soundsystem. The elegant chaos that engulfs the track's last minute reminds us that debauchery sometimes has explosive consequences. Another surefire dance-floor burner, “Gov” glides into your pleasure center through an incredibly supple and buoyant bass line and Noel Brass' stardust-drone keyboards. Joel Cuplin's distorted guitar solo adds just enough dissonance to spark some freaky friction. The pulsating, polyrhythmic hedonism of “Anakanafauna” climaxes Select Level with a hint of Afrobeat undulation in its rhythm, conjuring that serpentine mojo familiar from Talking Heads' “I Zimbra.”
Sells cites the album's themes as “corporate creep, algorithmic enslavement, commodification of human life, energetic ties between humans, pre-cognitive dream states, multi-layered reality, paranoia, and hopeful love in a time of division.” That's heavy stuff, but it's counterbalanced by music gleaming with suavity and gusto. He's created a work of sweet body/mind satisfaction that refuses to surrender to whatever awfulness reality throws at us. It's a luxurious-sounding luxury that you shouldn't take lightly.

-Dave Segal, Seattle, March 2019

credits

released June 21, 2019

Written, Produced, Recorded and arranged by Andy Sells.
Vocal recording on NVR, Valentine, Sham, The Race, Gov, Her Night Door by Allison Tulloss at Nice Morph Studios.
Music performed by Andy Sells, Joel Cuplin, Noel Brass Jr., Jayson Powell.
Mixed by SCNTFC and Andy Sells.
Mastered for vinyl and digital by Mell Dettmer.
Art & Design by Travis Ritter.

2019 Wax Thematique

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