Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Review: Hunz - Thoughts That Move

Hunz' latest record, Thoughts That Move, was created as part of the annual RPM Challenge, where artists are required to create an album within the month of February. Given that pretty heavy restriction and his chosen genre of music (vaguely atmospheric electro-pop), the resulting record is quite impressive. Thoughts That Move falls into a sonic space somewhere between Thom Yorke's Eraser and Bjork's Post; there are moments of intensity ala the former record (and Hunz seems to be quite fond of layered falsetto vocal arrangements much like Yorke), but with a poppier, more uplifting bent that brings it closer to 'Hyperballad' territory. The music is filled with skittering drums beats, thick synth bass and glitchy keyboards, all of which have been sonically polished and meticulously placed - the mix of density and clarity in the recording is pretty remarkable when you consider that the album was entirely conceived and created within four weeks.

The record somehow manages to be simultaneously upbeat, forceful and reflective, emotive. The tempos are uniformly high, the mix dense and the melodies up front, while little sounds darting around the edges and periods of stillness amongst the otherwise inertia-filled music give a much needed emotional ambiguity to proceedings. On initial listen the record might seem fairly uniform in mood and quality, however over subsequent listens some songs seem to stand out more - usually this occurs when the songs mix the two moods in fairly equal measure, such as in the opening combo of 'It's So Light' and 'Soon, Soon'. The former mixes its glossy sound with a bittersweet yet uplifting chord progression, while the latter juxtaposes a driving drumbeat against walls of vocals. Another highlight is closer 'The Commotion'.

The album does drag a fraction by the second half, and not every song hits upon a memorable melody or arrangement, but those complaints feel like nitpicks when considering the circumstances under which the record was made. I certainly can't point out any tracks as being poor as such, and there are definitely a couple that succeed in grabbing my attention. I'd really love to see Hunz get darker, grimier and more analog sounding on his next release, but I think that might just be my personal preferences talking. If he continues to mine this particular electronic pop vein then I imagine he'll still produce some music well worth people's time.

You can get a free digital version of Thoughts That Move from Hunz' website, where you can also buy CD copies for $10.


Darragh said...

Excellent review. I do like the cd myself.

p.s my word verification for this comment is 'barse'. That word amuses me for some reason.

Andrew McMillen said...

Great review Cam, very fair. Cheers!

Markus said...

Awesome review, and very accurate - he's an excellent performer and I really do like his latest album.

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Alex Telman said...

Great review; thank you. Do you think Hunz also goes by the name of doodis?