Wise Blood: "Solo (4 Claire)"

Single (2010)

By Maura McAndrew | 14 October 2010

Wise Blood is sample-pop artist Chris Laufman, a 22 year old who recently moved to his current city Pittsburgh from Houston, TX. Pittsburgh is an unusual place to jump-start a music career, but it just so happens that Girl Talk, our most famous recent musical export, knows quite a bit about creating pop-collages himself. While Wise Blood is more Panda Bear than Girl Talk, they share the goal of making complex yet eminently listenable music from fragments of forgotten soul, R&B, hip-hop, and basically anything and everything else. “Solo (4 Claire),” Wise Blood’s first 7”, is the sound of this format at its freshest and most exuberant.

In the past few months, music blogs have caught on to Wise Blood’s homemade recordings: lovingly crafted hip-hop and R&B-based dreamscapes (“STRT SRNS”) with the occasional wild card mashup (the Beatles-based madness of “Here Comes the Sun”). “Solo (4 Claire),” however, is the sound of an artist with newfound confidence, venturing out of his grandfather’s house and coming into his own. Laufman contributes vocals and maybe guitar, though it’s pretty impossible to tell which elements are samples and which come from real instruments. Bedroom fuzz-pop combines with soulful piano and vocal samples to create a driving, dark rock ’n’ roll sound, and the lyrics, though masked in swagger, are decidedly ominous: “Claire I want to meet ya / tie you up and teach ya tonight.”

Part of the fun of Wise Blood is the mystery of his sound’s origins. “Sample-pop” is kind of a dumb term that I must use for the sake of explanation; however what Laufman’s doing here is creating pop music, pure and simple. We can’t pick it apart because it’s seamless. “Solo (4 Claire)” sounds more like a full band than a bedroom project, and the samples themselves are like instruments. I hate to say it, fellow Pittsburghers out there, but any more singles like this and Wise Blood’s in danger of getting too big for this town.