Album Reviews

Mike Weis: Ring the Bell for the 10,000 Forgotten Things

The Zelienople percussionist returns with his latest solo album.

It’s beginning to feel like a Monastral love-in throughout these pages, but you can’t deny vital sounds and, the Chicago label are producing them in spates; therefore in our position it would be negligent to ignore.

Last week, Mexican experimentalist, Rocio Zavala, featured, and this week it’s Mike Weis’ turn to adorn these pages.

Weis, the percussionist best known for his work with one of the most underrated bands on the planet, Zelienople, returns with his second release for the label, Ring the Bell for the 10,000 Forgotten Things. It follows his third solo album, 2020’s Granny Records release, 49 days (Music For A Transition).

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Also accompanied by his book of photography entitled Fragmented Wilderness of the Calumet Region, Ring the Bell for the 10,000 Forgotten Things was conceived with the help of Monastral label mate, P.M. Tummala, who recorded Weis’ solo improvisations in the studio. Later, Tummala superimposed these sonic snippets with Weis’ earthy field recordings and together there’s a natural unity.

While Weis’ previous album delved deep into the realms of the meditative state, Ring the Bell for the 10,000 Forgotten Things isn’t that far removed, however he gets to this particular summit via a different path.

Mike Weis - Ring the Bell for the 10,000 Forgotten Things

With these field records, Weis produces something heavily influenced by the environment. Weis himself a landscape ecologist, and it’s evident that he has taken this discipline and fed it into these compositions.

We often say that songwriting is all about harnessing reality, but with composition, this aspect of artistic expression is often not spoken about. Bypassed, even. That’s not the case here, though, as Weis is as candid as anyone in the experimental landscape.

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And while we could talk about each composition, it’s the kind of record that’s best listened to from front to back, letting it wash over you. Each piece bleeds into the next during this celebration to the open space, with a series of sounds that project a vivid imagery. It’s Weis transferring his own realities to the listener’s.

Cuts like the beautiful opener, The Beach; the lonely night hum of The Interdunal Pond; the minimalist improvisations of The Dune Ridge; the humid drones of The Wetlands – they all stir up past memories. In that way it’s nostalgic, and – by extension – quite emotional.

And that’s the thing with Ring the Bell for the 10,000 Forgotten Things. Not a lot of experimental artists have that ability to connect with the listener like this, but Weis has done so by sheer honesty. It’s quite beautiful.  

Ring the Bell for the 10,000 Forgotten Things is out now via Monastral. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

3 replies on “Mike Weis: Ring the Bell for the 10,000 Forgotten Things”

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