Forms of Knowing
Today we’re listening to ‘Forms of Knowing’ by Outer World
If you are of an, ahem, “certain age,” you likely remember Dahlia Seed and their aggressive sound. That sound was led by Tracy Wilson and her trademark blast furnace vocals. After three well-received LPs (and one ill-fated US tour), the band split up.
Wilson went on to perform under the name Ringfinger and in Positive No with partner Kenneth Close. She also runs Courtesy Desk, Turntable Report, and Record CollectHER— all essentially stops for any music omnivore.
Covid moved into Wilson’s lungs in February of 2020 and overstayed its welcome. It stole what she describes as her “big voice.” For those familiar with her previous bands Dahlia Seed or Positive No, her trademark, no-need-for-a-microphone belt, was gone for good. The couple grieved for the literal loss of a primary instrument used in their art, but were determined to find a way back to making music again. Together, they began exploring the world of songwriting using a computer, samples, synths, and plug-ins. The goal was to create a new musical landscape where Tracy could find a new voice that wasn’t as focused on power, but still potent nonetheless.
In 2020, COVID took some from all of us, but it took more from some. In Wilson’s case, it took her voice, forcing her to find a new sound and a new way to navigate this new music landscape. In the summer of 2022, she and Close decamped to Lawrence, Kansas, and the home studio of Sweeping Promises. Out of those sessions came six tracks, with a seventh soon following. Those would become Who Does The Music Love?, out early next year.
Where Dahlia Seed had an edge and shared sonic common ground with groups like Tad, Outer World exists in the same orbit as bands like Stereolab and even The Breeders. This new galaxy is one full of fantastic synths, samples, and post-punk sounds.
The band describes the lead single, ‘Forms of Knowing’, as a “throbbing psychedelic Bond theme hoping relief will come to a sleep deprived world, bogged down by the cycles of crisis upon crisis.” Okay, then.
Look, at this point it would be easy to frame this as a “pandemic project” (and man, will I be happy when we can stop saying that altogether), but that would be selling this project short. Yes, Wilson had to find her voice again—no small feat— but this is a danceable record, years in the making.
“Forms of Knowing” by Outer World | Who Does The Music Love? (2024)
Click the record to listen on the platform of your choice.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this track!
Thanks for being here,