Or there’s the incandescent closer, “Street Lights Ten Thousand Feet,” a synesthetic tune suggestive of a splice of dozens of beams of sound refracted through sheer sheets of fabric, fluttering in seasons of sunlight. That’s how it feels, sure, but it’s actually All Tiny Creatures founder Thomas Wincek re-imagining his voice by capturing it with a contact microphone taped to his throat and shaping the output with granular synthesis.
But don’t get too overwhelmed with the first batch of principles, as they’ll simply get you through the doors of the academy. It’s the second idea—the one that says complex structures and rules must not prohibit the composer from bending a piece toward the ear of the listener—that takes it out those doors and to the people. That’s what makes this debut and the concomitant promise of All Tiny Creatures matter. These tunes sweep you up in their motion, drawing more attention to how they sound and the way they make you feel than the how and why of their construction. “Minor” might be a four-minute exploration of plopping a C-minor above interlocked C and E-flat chords, their respective thirds removed. But above an escalating drone and building drums, it feels more like Philip Glass in 1972, shooting steroids to score an action short. The idea is heavy, but the listening is just glorious.
So, of course, there’s the matter of how you should listen to Segni (because you should) and in which context you should tell people about it (because you should do that, too): Is this an exercise in theory made accessible for our collectively average ear, or is it an infinitely enterable portal for our collectively average ear that will help us consider how our favorite musical moments are built? Can’t it be both?
Wincek engineered these tracks at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, in his Madison home, and in the studio of Ben Derickson, the drummer on Segni and in the full-band version of All Tiny Creatures. That quartet features guitarist Andrew Fitzpatrick and bassist Matthew Skemp.