Mis+ress is, i believe, pronounced like “mistress”. Just imagine that the plus sign is the letter t. I suppose that we will have to deal with more of this sort of thing in band names as we move forward. Like passwords, band names desire uniqueness.
Mis+ress is the solo ambient guitar project of Brian Wenckebach. You might remember Mr. Wenckebach from such bands as: Elika.
I generally liked Elika. They were a New Yorker band who made light dream pop, with Wenckebach on guitar and Evagelia Maravelias adding some lovely vocals. The music was light and ebbing with a slight hint of Cocteau Twins-ish-ness to the sound, just enough to keep me interested.
Well, on his own Wenckebach runs with the Robin Guthrie comparison. The music on Mis+ress is very similar to the solo work of lead Cocteau Guthrie. Other comparisons include Yellow6 and Portal. Or, well, i tend to review a lot of this sort of stuff here on EvilSponge.
During the day, i work with computers in a large, crowded office. For some godawful reason, other human beings insist on running their mouths constantly, and i cannot concentrate on making often recalcitrant SharePoint sites behave with all of this human noise going on around me. So i listen to instrumental music that is powerful enough to drown out the conversation, but not so rhythm heavy that it distracts me itself. And ambient guitar rock is the perfect type of music for this application.
Your mileage may vary of course. I find that Mis+ress and similar acts make music that is also good for relaxing at home. The music is a nice haze in which the listener finds themselves pleasantly suspended.
Wenckebach kicks of his record with The History of Fishes in which multiple guitar loops slide against one another in picked layers. This is a very typical tune for this genre, and it is pleasant enough.
On Nested Infinities Wenckebach adds in some odd whooshing / whirring sounds under the guitar layers, as well as a hint of a vocal sample that burbles up. This is a nice effect.
OBAFGKM is a short interlude of wavering guitar, and it fades into the real standout here: Derealization. This tune consists of a nice, slowly strummed guitar, echoed to hell and back, playing over some faint pulsing sounds far in the distance as well as a walking bass riff, slow and repeated. It is very lovely.
He follows this with a tense little tune called The Great Dying. One guitar layer thunks along, while another wavers under intense tremolo while a third layer tinks along. The tenseness continues but becomes more open, less inward looking, on Eligible Receiver. this song is a faint loop, echoed and gaspy, almost like an interlude.
No More Parties has that thunking / clicking beat from The Great Dying with a lovely sparkling guitar riff in two layers over it. This is very nice, and Wenckebach's guitarwork is excellent here.
Mr. Bikinis features some intense tremolo on one of the guitar layers and the other chugging like something on an indie rock song. I like the effect of these two styles together. That song fades in the just over a minute wavering drone of The Absolute Territory, which is pleasant enough. It ends, and then Wenckebach ends the record with a very sci-fi sounding Main Sequence Phase. He adds a bit of IDMish burble as a percussion layer, along with a trilling keyboard riff, all of which is buried under guitar that washes in waves. Again, very nice.
This is a highly entertaining entry into the genre. Wenckebach has earned a place in the arsenal of sounds that keep me from strangling talkative co-workers, and that is something that i am rather grateful for.