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LANGUAGE GAMES - Vignettes For A Sad Life - EP REVIEW


Vignettes For A Sad Life

Prague, Czech Republic

'Language Games' is the solo indie rock project of genre-breaking, multi-instrumental, Asian

American, Kurt Gottwald. His new EP entitled 'Vignettes for a Sad Life' will be the main focus of this article but first I want to start at the moment this artist captured my attention and why.

'Language Games' - What does that mean to you? It immediately excited me as a bell rang in my brain - Ludwig Wittgenstein. Most of you won't have a clue who that is so I will expand my ultra-philosophical geeky mind in order to inform yours. 'Language Games' is a concept that was formed by the Austrian Philosopher, 'Ludwig Wittengenstein' during his writings of Philosophical Investigations (1953). The concept is to assess both philosophies of the mind and the philosophy or language in order to make sense of why we communicate how we do and what it means to do so (in short). This leads me to assume that the artist that is 'Language Games' was somehow involved in epistemological and existential questioning. Leading on from this, the title of the project 'Vignettes for a Sad life' added further credibility to my assumption, especially when combined with the artwork above - Reflections, the self and other - our image?

Now, let me go through the project with you (that's what we are really here for). Five songs, twenty-three minutes and fifty-three seconds of genre-bending genius or madness? You decide.

'MR EGO' gives listeners a post-punk vibe with some funky bass and stringy distortion that lingers in the background of the track. The vocals are shakey and uneasy yet completely captivating. The song seems to address the psychology behind not being chosen, being thought of as lesser than another and what that means for your behaviour. Two questions lay at the basis of this song. What on earth is it that these two people want? and do they even know themselves?

'Bandit' is hauntingly beautiful. The reverb of the vocals emphasises every single word that is sung leaving listeners completely consumed by the story that is being told throughout the song. There is a mix of experimental electronic sounds, melodic guitar and almost an industrial rock influence at the heart of it all. Have you ever felt as though you can't find your "home"? I'm not necessarily talking about a physical place, it could be on a spiritual or soulful level? When nowhere seems to feel right, there's something lacking. This piece conjured up those feelings of despair through its uneasy and painful execution.

'Killing Fields' has a vibe about it that reminds me of a mix of electronic rock legends 'Muse' and the early work of 'Green Day' with a sprinkle of the Dreamy nature of 'Coldplay'. I mean, that is one hell of a combination for one person to pull off! Through this song, 'Language Games' absolutely showcases his versatility through his pain.

'Symbolic Love' has a tribal yet electronic harmony for an opening, I mean, this is incredible. As the instrumentation begins to fill the canvas, listeners are offered a mix of shoegaze, and indie rock to take them into a land of wonder where the vocal performance fails to do so. The purpose of the vocals here seems to be that they want to portray the pain of the artist - to tell a story, one has to be honest with their feelings through the way that one expresses them. The lyrics address the differentiation between attachment and love.

'Xanax Holiday' marks the end of this chapter and I hope the end of the pain. The song addresses a variety of mental health struggles from panic attacks to depression with the reliance on Xanax to mask the pain. The song begins with bell synths that highlight the nature of "Christmas Time" and "Happy Holidays" before transitioning into a full confession of the mind. The addition of a group chant towards the end of the song unites the unhappiness of a group of people in a cheerful way before ending in distortion.

To conclude this review, I have one analysis which is very biased. When pain occurs, there are two things that can happen. You can use the pain as a superpower or you can completely drown. 'Language Games' is an artist who is a superhero, an inspiration and true to his name, a master of wordplay.

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