Vonsild and his bandmates Jonas Kenton, Simon Muschinsky and Silas Moldenhawer met in 2007, bonding over music that Vonsild calls “a lot of strange stuff,” like Steve Reich and Alain Goraguer’s soundtrack for La Planete Sauvage. WSGM itself often sounds like the cyborg version of a soul band; synths twinkle and purr over sleek digital beats as Vonsild’s voice, swimming in liquidy effects, warbles in the foreground. “I’m not in love with how my voice sounds,” Vonsild says when asked about his penchant for an electronically tweaked delivery. “You can twist your words, change up your voice a bit, but it’s something that always sounds like you and that’s boring. I like treating every instrument—it always has to run through some chain of effects.” As heard on the band’s recent third full-length, Infinity Pool, the result suggests a robotic mini-orchestra, alternately serene and disturbed.
Tracks like “Mental Shopping Spree” sum up WSGM’s command of chilled-out, effortlessly hooky electrosoul, with Vonslid filtering his voice through heavy effects to make the choruses sound like little melodramas. Others, like “Deadboy” and “Degeneration,” sound eerily disembodied, an effect intensified by Vonsild’s elliptical turns of phrase: I’m a couple of stones off/ A couple of souls in/ Impossible not wronging anyone/ Impossible to stay fit. The record is both pop and unpop, and its cover, which looks like an ’80s travel brochure for a Middle Eastern vacation spot, amplifies the mixed signals. “I guess it’s really dark,” Vonsild says of the video for “Love and Respect,” in which two henchmen with AK-47s assault and drown an apparent rival, and the singer turns up as a stone-faced gangster having his hair braided. “But to us, it’s kind of comic as well.”