release date: september 6 2013 format: lp / digital label: narrominded
Heat is the new LP from Holland’s Hunter Complex, a record that looks to balance a functional (and very Dutch) ‘utility pop’ with a whole host of disturbing hints and suggestions. It’s a slightly unnerving listen, despite its attractive and powerful sweeps of melody. Recorded between 2010 and 2012, Heat manages – often very successfully – to persuade the listener that they’re tuning into a strange mix of Moroder’s film scores and ‘81-‘82 era Simple Minds. Digital synths, like the Roland D-50 and Yamaha DX7, give everything a suitably ‘period feel’. And the keys on Space are straight off Sons and Fascination, for example. Severed Heads covering China Crisis? Chris and Cosey making symphonic advert music in downtown LA? We can but dream.
But enough comparisons. Despite the LP wearing its sources of inspiration on its sleeve, and despite the fact that our descriptive narratives have (inevitably) to follow suit, it’s a seductive listen. Queasy, paranoid synth washes, rich, gloopy bass tones and weighty electronic stabs of rhythm drive the music on. The record’s got a feel of Stalker about it; cinematic, a taste of future-past served up on a plastic plate. Joep van Lieshout’s vision for communal living maybe, or a future that’s just out of reach, probably because it never escaped being imaginary.
release date: february 2 2010
format: cd / digital
Hunter Complex is the moniker of Lars Meijer. On his self titled debut album he moves from synthpop to electro and from italo to new wave. Just like the European electronic acts The Tough Alliance, Neon Neon, JJ, M83 and Delorean, there’s an imperative reference to the eighties in the music of Hunter Complex. Not only in the sound, but especially because of that intangible feeling. Meijer: ‘It’s a feeling that switches between whimsicality and melancholy. You can see that for example in Miami Vice – true television of the eighties: subtropical beaches, flamingos, but also nocturnal streets full of muggy evil.’
Around the turn of the century, under the name Larz, he created two lo-fi pop albums that reached a cult-status internationally. ‘Call Larz another bedroom genius – which he is, but he’s got that extra bit of special something about him’, Allmusic.com said at the time. In the years after his Larz albums Meijer broadened himself in experimental electronic music with the groups Psychon and Living Ornaments. With the last act his also released music on the legendary Skam label. Meijer: ‘After these experiments I thought it was time for pop music again. I’ve been walking around with the idea of this record full of synthpop songs for a long time, but in the last ten years I’ve finally learned how to actually produce it.’