Wakan Tanka

ASIP012 Wakan Tanka - Pinnacle


There’s just something about this track. I’m not sure if it’s the simplicity, the hypnotic repetition, the subliminal field recordings, or just the clean, crisp guitar licks and rolling bass. Any which way, when I first heard Pinnacle, it immediately reminded me of the sampled guitars in KLF’s ‘Chillout’ and took me to a very similar place. I was left wondering exactly what these guys were watching, what they were doing, or what exactly was the inspiration feeding such a great piece of music. It turns out Jordan and Nathan’s inspiration was, like the KLF’s, rooted in travelling, but unlike the KLF, Wakan Tanka weren’t destined to be on the same road... 

Home brings a world of safety and comfort but escape is a word that colours the mind. Faced with an odd future of uncertainty, flux and sudden change, home truths can be as smothering as they are sensible. For Jordan de Graaf and Nathan Cooke, the spectre of the unknown turned out to be their galvanisation. 

“Our collaboration is inspired by a kind of isolation, uncertainty, and an alteration in the perception of our home, Melbourne” Jordan starts.

“Nathan has spent the last year living and travelling in Europe, and has returned home in a bit of an uncertain state, in search of a new career he can be passionate about. Meanwhile, I found myself at the opposite end of the spectrum in a similar type of limbo. I had not left Melbourne, but had found my Melbourne turned upside down by a series of unfortunately simultaneous endings in my life. So just as Nathan begins to call it home again, I am readying myself to leave it.” 

A snapshot of friendship, displacement and detachment, ‘Pinnacle’, is the enduring result of a year of transit, ever-changing perception and persistence. Named after a local pub that sits on a crossroads, it’s a track steered by a clean simplicity and endurance. Insistent guitar melodies glide between lingering licks and slide chords, driving the rhythmic movement and letting the field recordings colour the momentum. 

And it’s here you can imagine both Jordan and Nathan sat together; reminiscing over their recent past and their imminent futures, watching the world turn, ready and waiting to take theirs. 

“Pinnacle is a pub across the road from my house, and it’s where we first decided to do the collaboration of Wakan Tanka. It’s where we spent time recording the track itself, in joint limbo, forming our own strangely isolated place.” (Words by Reef Younis.)