Sunday, September 27, 2020
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Artist: Hunter Complex (@)
Title: Dead Calm and Zero Degrees
Format: 12" + Download
Label: Burning Witches Records (@)
Rated: *****
'Dead Calm and Zero Degrees' is the most recent album from synthesist/composer Lars Meijer, and I see that Hunter Complex has a new label - Burning Witches Records based in the U.K. If you're at all familiar with Hunter Complex, you might know to some degree what to expect- instrumental synths and drum machine, often in a sort of retro '80s synthpop vein with a fair amount of cinematic potential and a familiar romantic bent to it. The stand-alone stringish synth chords of opening track "Dead Calm" are enough to evoke some Tangerine Dream movie soundtrack (and God knows they did enough of them back then) but there are nods to so many others along the way - Giorgio Moroder, Vangelis, Kraftwerk (sans the man-machine sterility), and other similar artists. This is a perfect example of "Synthwave," a music genre that seems to have had a resurgent revival of late. While Hunter Complex's previous effort, 'Open Sea' was good, 'Dead Calm and Zero Degrees' is much better exhibiting a confidence and complexity I think was a bit lacking on the last album. The recording quality also seems to have been kicked up a notch which adds to the album's potency. There is also an unabashed charm that digs into the emotional core of the listening experience that will actually make you feel something. The majority of the compositions (ten in all, and nothing over 5 minutes) are uplifting, bright and hopeful, something sorely needed for these troubling times. I could easily hear some of these tracks used as part of a soundtrack (hey Netflix, are you reading me?) A worthy purchase especially on vinyl, but at the time of this writing, there aren’t many of the limited edition left.


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