Wobbly is the recording and performing moniker of Jon Leidecker, a San Francisco sound-collage artist who has lurked within the Bay Area experimental scene since the '80s. He's performed solo and in myriad collaborations, most notably with Negativland's Don Joyce on the KPFA radio show Over the Edge. In recent years Wobbly's work has garnered increased attention both locally and internationally, due in part to his ongoing Wild Why project.
Almost four years in the making, the Wild Why CD is Wobbly's sixth solo effort and a concept album of sorts. Taking inspiration from “plunderphonics” deconstructo-sampler John Oswald, Wobbly has fashioned intricate songs from home recordings he made of Bay Area hip hop radio broadcasts, which he subsequently microedited into a daunting blizzard of sonic shards. Kicking off with a hilarious assemblage of rappers saying “Yo!,” the album ebbs between jagged beats and blustery roar, with plenty of odd interludes and very recognizable samples. Whimsical, strangely musical, and frequently jarring, this release — on electronic Wunderkind Kid606's Tigerbeat6 label — pays homage to hip hop's innovative production while simultaneously poking fun at its many archetypes and clichés. Wild Why serves as both dadaist social commentary and a mad-scientist remix of Frankenstein-like proportions.
From dense swarms of skittery glitch to hoochie harmonies, Jay-Z grunts, and Eminem non sequiturs, Wild Why is booty music turned on its head. You could probably even dance to it, if you were given to spasms. And while the 27 discrete tracks on this disc could be considered a textbook example of difficult listening and an endurance test at 45 minutes, closer examination does unveil a smartly assembled, tongue-in-cheek collage with a mother lode of hidden gems. After all, who wouldn't want to sing along to such lines as “They brain trans-move young boys who sport” and “There's no bedroom in the shower”?
While much of the experimental community has shunned contemporary hip hop, Wobbly has embraced it in his own peculiar fashion, and for that alone Wild Why should be given props. Certainly, this CD isn't for everybody, but adventurous noise mavens and extremely open-minded fans of urban radio should find its fractured take on pop music highly amusing.