release date: may 11 2015
Limelight is the brand new single from Dutch synth wizard Hunter Complex. It arrives a year and a half after his critically acclaimed second album Heat. Two tracks from Heat have been remixed by Dutch bands Treasure of Grundo and Katadreuffe and are included here as digital b-sides to this brand new track.
The non-album track Limelight was recorded in the wake of the Heat album release. The track feels like a trip through a desolate and remote area. Starting off on the highway, taking exits to inaccessible dirt roads, before getting back on the highway, feeling confused and alienated. Hunter Complex is currently working on his third studio album, which will be – opposed to his first two albums – completely instrumental. It will dive deeper in the world of digital synths, soundtracks and ethereal atmospheres.
This is an album that I didn’t get a chance to listen to properly when it first came out from Holland, but it is very interesting, and did get some good coverage in the music press. It has a definite eighties vibes, as Lars Meijer is using digital synths like the DX7 — but it also has some great filmic moments, where you can picture characters breaking out into a chase sequence. The style of the music is probably on par with someone like John Maus, where they are both working with and reinterpreting these sounds for a new century. It also has some of that musical optimism that you would hear in English pop bands like Talk Talk.
Could anything possibly sound less Dutch than this effervescent synth rumination? Granted, my immediate, top-of-the-head reference points are DJ Tiesto and Dick Raaijmakers, but this is something/where else. The preceding, self-titled debut from Hunter Complex (aka Narrominded label founder Lars Meijer) was an altogether more obvious exercise in multifarious 80s synthphonics than this hazy, delay-drenched road trip to nowhere, for which Hunter has packed into trunk a sparse synth and drum machine set up and phased us into a Californian dreamtime, where we experience every arpeggio as a shimmering mirage: detached and tentative and hovering indifferently over merciless plains, though not without a distant whiff of romance. Corresponding to this imagining of a muzzy limbo, speed seldom exceeds third gear, while the mysterious navigator’s delivery exhales emotional ambiguity in low mumbles that suggest a thinking out loud; his final exhortation to ‘Let Go’ could as easily imply ill or amorous intentions for whomever accompanies him through those heat-struck, death valleys.
The prolific producer Steve Moore – recently seen keyboarding for Italian prog legends Goblin – here alights in the synth-usiastic Spectrum Spools fold for a minimal, matter-of-fact and at times reminiscent effort to Hunter Complex’s heat wave pop. It’s colder though, and even more pared-down, as the deconstructed rave arpeggios of Planetwalk bear adequate testament, and when it does resemble Moore’s sci-fi saga work in Zombi, it does so skeletally, as on Deep Time. Moore’s understated manner – which verges on the baffling in the meandering pulses of Logotone – adds genuine credibility to a ‘less is more’ credo, which to my mind has hitherto resulted in many uniform and unexciting pieces of work. I personally couldn’t count myself among the many admirers of Surface to Air or Spirit Animal, as it all seemed – like Prince’s much-loved 1999 – to go on for double a reasonable duration. Nor can I say that this properly takes its place amidst the recent surfeit of 80s-venerating soundtrack simulations, being in truth a properly individualised effort. Still, had we one Pangaea for every reissue and also-ran then we’d still have ourselves a handsome hit-count.
We were very excited to discover this amazing LP from Holland’s Hunter Complex, it’s a simultaneously glitzy and unsettling excursion into a sparkling early midi world of Tangerine Dream Soundtracks and Michael Mann movies. The man behind the music, Lars Meijer explores a fascinating soundworld and captures the pivotal point in cultural history where analogue handed over to digital. Driving sequencers, sparkling DX7s, power leads and smokey vocals stride into a bold over saturated VHS future world. Cool as flip.
Steeds meer bands grijpen terug naar de jaren 80, hetgeen voor mij misschien wel de meest belangrijke dan wel interessante muziekperiode is geweest. Daarom van mijn kant geen klachten en zeker niet als het zo goed gebracht wordt als de Nederlandse groep Hunter Complex. Het is het project van Lars Meijer, één van de oprichters van het Narrominded label, die tevens te vinden is in de groepen Larz, Living Ornament, Psychon en Psychon Troopers. Deze muzikale duizendpoot beweegt zich doorgaans in de meer abstracte elektronische vaarwateren, maar toont met zijn nieuwe kindje aan ook goed uit de voeten te kunnen met fraaie retro sounds, waarbij synthpop, wave, aantrekkelijke beats en donkere zang op verrukkelijke wijze samengaan. Hij laat eerder al het gelijknamige debuut (2010) en de lp Heat (2013) het licht zien. Van die laatste verschijnt eerder ook al een single.
Nu is er de tweede, digitale single van dat album, te weten Hours. Hier krijg je de albumtrack Hours plus twee remixen van de nummers Serious Glass en Highway Hypnosis, die bij elkaar goed zijn voor een kwartier aan overheerlijke, nostalgische muziek. Op de originelen hoor je al de muziek van Joy Division, Kraftwerk, Clan Of Xymox, Simple Minds, Suicide, He Said, Wire, OMD, New Order en Depeche Mode langs komen, maar in de remixen worden bepaalde elementen extra onderstreept. In Serious Glass (The No Remix) zijn het voluptueuze beats die het verschil maken en het nummer in het midden van VNV Nation, Joy Division en Clan Of Xymox weet te plaatsen. De mix van Highway Hypnosis door Vincent Koreman aka Drvg Cvltvre brengt een meer rudimentair en duister geheel ten gehore dat neigt naar de EBM van Frontline Assembly en Skinny Puppy, maar dan met een opgewekte beat. Het is hoe dan ook voer voor de melancholici en wave fans onder ons.
Jan Willem Broek
Obviously we don’t review digital releases, but this landed as a CDR on my desk, and I started writing, before realizing this. Now, perhaps, this has to do with the fact that I quite enjoy the music of Hunter Complex, of Narromind Mastermind Lars Meijer. This is the second single of his LP Heat – I didn’t realize people still release singles from LPs as that sounds like something from my childhood – but Hours is a great piece of 80s inspired pop music (check also my review of the LP in Vital Weekly 896). The No does a remix of Serious Glass and make it sound also very 80s, but in a more dark wave styled guise, with a voice that sounds like from beyond the grave. Nice. Drvg Cvltvre is Vincent Koremans (RA-X might be know still!) with a long ambient w/rhythm inspired piece called Highway Hypnosis and sounds like Tangerine Dream on ecstasy, especially when the rhythm kicks in after some time. Be careful driving cars while listening to this music. Now, in a just and right world, this would have been a great 12″. Where did the 80s go? I do miss them.