Brazilian DJ and producer Wehbba’s creative aspirations seem to grow day by day and following a series of globally impactful single and EP releases on the circuit’s leading label, Drumcode, he now unveils his long-awaited first album Straight Lines and Sharp Corners. This expertly configured montage of instrumental offerings not only showcase Wehbba’s refined skill set in the studio but also proposes an immersive conceptual study that echoes a tenacious dedication to his craft.
The introduction, “Prelude: Goya”, lays a deeply evocative foundation for the album that highlights the affinity between connection and conflict, in this case using harmonious contrasts of tension and bliss. Narrating his daily journey to the market, Wehbba injects a flutter of arpeggiated sequences that run parallel with the organic sensibilities of his field recordings, providing a raw and relatable quality often lacking within the techno landscape. Continuing this rigid dichotomy, Wehbba elicits grit and distortion with scintillating ambiences for “Hyper Real Decadence”, appointing Thomas Gandey’s stark vocals to ironically convey the ‘brutalism’ of today’s reality.
“Deluge” brings melodic synths to a slowly evolving Techno track, subverting the classic formula with arpeggiated acid synth and syncopated synth leads. The follow up, “Basic Pleasure”, evokes the barren landscapes of Blade Runner from whence the track gets its name (the ‘Basic Pleasure Model’, Pris), inspiring the fast pulsating bass lines, loud ‘laser’ leads and ‘rave hoover’ sounds. Venturing into “Dove Rush”, we’re reminded of Wehbba’s mastery for propulsive cuts as he fuses robust percussive elements with euphoric synth melodies to promote his intelligent yet driving strain of underground music. Inspired by the liberty and comfort of 90s experimentalism, “Brainflex: Interlude” serves as the LPs palette cleanser. Following a series of intoxicating highs from his opening cuts, Wehbba provides listeners with a much-needed period of reflection, with hypnotic riffs stimulating an introspective response.
“No Sleep” is another galvanic addition to the album’s streamlined concept, incentivised by the lack of sleep inherent to Wehbba’s relentless touring schedule. Harnessing native sounds from the idyllic vistas of Bali’s jungle and coastline, he permeates the synthetic components with these organically recorded textures. Motivated by David Caretta’s fiercely raw basslines, Wehbba enlists the French pioneer’s production talents for “Sharpshooter”, delivering an electroclash masterpiece that represents infused Techno in its most tailored form. The succeeding track “Second Nature”, as the title would suggest, echoes Wehbba’s authentic composition process; a free-flowing progression led by the music with little manipulation from Wehbba’s side. The effects are honest yet dramatic, with the cut proving to be a mesmeric peak-time anthem.
Perceiving his nostalgic raver days through current optics, “Residual Self” is a compelling offering reflecting Wehbba’s journey of self-discovery as an artist. Adopting analog drums and timeless club synths, he references Brazil’s golden era of dance music and its sentimental effect on his own musical growth. Inspired and composed over five years ago with Wehbba’s turbulent emotions at its core, “Coupf Of Doubt” is a resurrected addition to the long player. Tweaking the aesthetics of the track to align with the album’s deep-rooted concept, Wehbba alludes to the idea of self-doubt through futuristic tones and playful arrangement.
Fully demonstrating his scope across multiple genres, the album’s penultimate track “14th To Grand Central” adds a dimension of ambient fluidity to the diverse collection of productions. Documenting his journey from 14th Street to Grand Central Station in New York with field recordings, the ethereal cut is reflective of the depth and detail in life that we often fail to recognise. The album is rounded out with “Digital Sunset”; a sonic analogy of the peace and tranquillity felt when watching the sun rise in the early morning after an intense euphoric club experience. Using twisted harmonies and glitchy percussion to enact how the beautiful and the abstract can coexist, Wehbba enlists L_cio and his inimitable flute mastery to establish a ‘Café del Mar’ ambience.
Alongside this masterful anthology of productions, Wehbba explores the medium of film with a short movie titled “Form In Transition”. Narrating an original poem with fervid poignancy, Wehbba studies life’s paradoxes and their role in shaping the mosaic of humanity, whilst touching on an enlightened ambition to live with untainted intent. Capturing the architectural beauty of Barcelona’s cityscape, director Laiae Flynn serves a deeply tranquil visual accompaniment, sound-tracked by Wehbba’s ambient “14th To Grand Central”. Completing his panoramic Techno opus, Wehbba unveils a new hardware-only live performance format, Wehbba Live Station, alongside his album and visual affiliates. Following a 10-year live setup hiatus, Wehbba embraces visceral vulnerability as he prepares to welcome a new perspective on mixing.
Restless in his forward momentum and pursuit of new sounds, Wehbba has ensured his relevancy in a fast-changing music scene, with his debut album contribution to Drumcode showing distinct disparities and maturation from his previous two long-players. Shedding all self-conscious tendencies, Straight Lines and Sharp corners is reflective of Wehbba’s evolution as an artist and his desire to champion what resonates with him rather than faddish trends; to compose with purity of intention. This holistic approach to production runs parallel with the authentic essence of his field recordings, permeating all 13 cuts with virtuous flair. Alongside his seasoned talents across remix and collaborative projects, it is these observations and intellectual studies that have contributed to his artistic vibrancy and defined his production output over the course of his decade-long career.