The mark of multi-instrumentalist Luke Wyland’s music, whether as a member of post-rock ensemble AU or the experimental duo Sporting, has long been a sense of forward momentum, inspired both by his adoration of propulsive minimalist composers like Steve Reich and Philip Glass and his choice of collaborators (such as drummers Dana Valatka and John Niekrasz). It’s a mode that’s still present within the work he’s now composing as a solo artist under the moniker LWW, but on this album, Wyland pumps the brakes a little.
The six tracks on 3PE are improvisations recorded after the release of AU’s 2012 album Both Lights, and this new release does often feel like a continuation of the dream-pop beauty the band brought to songs like “Crazy Idol” and “Old Friend.” 3PE also suggests that Wyland might have been ready to introduce even more abstract qualities to the project—“DTE” is built from clashing synthesizer fragments that sound like trying to find some order in the chaos of shortwave radio signals or the sounds of two computer networks connecting up. On the long closing track “PRC,” Wyland plays with percussion loops, pushing and pulling them in and out of phase to create ungraspable but heady polyrhythms.
Wyland only falters when he isn’t forcing himself out of his comfort zone. For as dazzling as “PNO” can be, through its jumpy piano lines and fleet-fingered melodies, it’s a track that he could likely knock out with minimal effort, if past Sporting performances are any indication. “LSP” is of that same ilk, lightened by a more measured pace and some slippery guitar figures. Even with those safe returns to his strengths, Wyland still contains moments of awe-inducing playing and sudden shivers of dissonance that burn and soothe like a slug of brandy.