Wilder’s reputation as a talented multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter emerged in the Brooklyn indie rock scene of the late 2000s, where he joined his bandmates in painting on the eclectic palette of synths, strings, and harmonies that defined Yeasayer’s acclaimed psychedelic worldbeat and swerving electro-pop experiments. He was at home writing and fronting big hits like Yeasayer’s “O.N.E.,” and “Wait for the Summer,” but the spirit of community always pervaded his surprising collaborations, from the guest-star-studded recordings of the peculiar rock musical album Break Line (2014) that Wilder composed with college friend Maxwell Kardon, to his occasional production credits for fellow travelers like Suckers and Das Racist.
With I Don’t Know My Words, Wilder torques his multi-instrumentality away from electronica and global genre-hopping and makes it a lonely lockdown challenge. Aside from ambient documentary noise of family life and New York’s mysteriously pervasive rash of fireworks, he played every sound on the album, from a plucked cello on “Get More Than My Share” to the bowed acoustic guitars heard in “Sick Hotel,” which simulate a string section.
In oscillating textures of dulcimers, twelve-strings, and tumbling, song-serving drums, he arpeggiates, beats, and blasts out moments of elevated feeling from tedium and routine.“After some initial attempts at collaborating with outside musicians, I realized that I needed to have my hands on every aspect of recording my first solo effort. So much of the pleasure of making this album was reigniting my childhood passion for challenging myself to pick up any instrument
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