incendiary magazine review: heat

hunter complex - heat frontI wasn’t going to review this record as I did the promo copy for it on the Bandcamp page, the fee being free vinyl. So I feel a bit weird in reneging on my intention to let this release slip by the Incendiary searchlight. Add the fact that Hunter Complex is Lars Meijer who is the label boss of Narrominded, who – guess what – release Hunter Complex and you may start to wonder if this is some elaborate stitch up by the pair of us.

How we tie ourselves in knots, eh? It just goes to show how things roll in these straightened times.

And I’m not sure whether you can take my word for how good this LP is, as I suspect the review may sound a bit forced in trying to find yet more positive things to say, (albeit in a more personal manner), but I’ll try.

In essence this is a devotional record, a fan boy record. In looking to add soundtrack films like Capricorn One and Midnight Crossing you suspect that Lars Meijer just can’t get enough of that late 70s early 80s habitus, can’t squeeze enough emotional juice from an era where technology seemed mysterious, something to be allied with, to be used and recalibrated back, through a human filter. Certainly not the all crushing life-sapping behemoth it seems to be today.

This future / past dichotomy is very strongly felt in the music on Heat, and maybe mirrors the feeling of quaintness (and resultant stasis) that all these 70s and 80s flicks seem to show now, at any rate in their rendering of a dystopian future. Tracks like Hours and Room feel static, trapped, almost on emotional rewind, but luckily that adds a lot of menace to what could be quite straightforward regurgitating of an era’s sound; the sort of ironic period pieces we are often bombarded with nowadays. Room could – if handled wrongly – sound like the worst kind of Depeche Mode mash up. Meijer uses a plethora of vintage synths so the crime could easily be compounded.

Maybe Hunter Complex are serial sentimentalists. A lot of the tracks do have a marked sentimental edge, like Serious Glass or the brilliant Space, which nabs Seeing Out the Angel’s key pattern from the Minds’ Sons & Fascination. The melodies are set high in the gantry, using high register synth washes, punctuated by the odd stab of beat or staccato rhythm. It does sounds (superficially) like the stuff John Maus does, but without his breast beating. There’s an element of Dutch netjes about this LP, something that wouldn’t sit well with Mr. M. But there again there’s an expansiveness which, when allied to the clinical, soi distant elements, becomes much more than the sum of its parts; the opening segment of Highway Hipgnosis is a fab example.

Listen in.

Richard Foster

original article

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