De Nederlander Lars Meijer moest nog een elektronisch eitje uitbroeden dat totnogtoe onaangeroerd was gebleven: eentje waarin synthpop en new wave-invloeden zijn diepgelaagde laptopmuziek mochten vervoegen. Het gevolg is het project Hunter Complex, waar de gratis te downloaden ep Here Is the Night alvast een eerste voorsmaakje weggeeft. Een kleine handvol onherkenbare remixen van labelvrienden als Garçon Taupe, Coen Oscar Polack en Spoelstra zorgen niet enkel voor een extra diepgang, maar ook een grote diversiteit die ook de kunde van de remixers aardig in de verf zet.
Over de audio
Single Here Is the Night zelf is een typisch speeltje van Meijer: eentje waarbij hij op de dunne touw balanceert tussen commerciële 80’s popingrediënten en hoog geavanceerde elektronica. Synthesizertunes die liever niet dan wel teruggehoord worden, een oppervlakkig disco-elektro ritme en tenenkrullend handgeklap vormen een totaalbeeld waarvoor de dertiger met donkere stem de luisteraar toefluistert. Gelukkig heeft Hunter Complex deze track ook boordevol details, minuscule inhoudswijzigingen en extra aansporende patronen gestoken. Wat op het eerste gehoor, mede dankzij enkele vreemde melodiesprongen, vrij akelig en lelijk overkomt, blijkt dus begenadigd met een zorgvuldig uitgedokterd totaalbeeld waarmee dit plaatje helemaal thuis hoort in de Narrominded-stal.
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.’
Releasing a CD-single with one outtake of a regular album with four remixes and one unreleased track, and all that as a pre-release to the coming album, is a tactic usually employed by major labels. But here it is Narrominded, one of the most renowned, one hundred percent independent labels still around, and there is no idea that the Dutch label would try to get into the major charts or try its luck on the stock exchange. It is just to eclectic in its musical tastes and to openminded and focused on the music in its releases.
Lars Meijer and Coen Oscar Polack, the two minds behind the label narrominded as well as various musical projects, amongst them Hunter Complex, which is Meijer and his solo visions of music, can be trusted to follow their tastes more than their briefcases. Moreover, the remixers are all from the scene that has built around the label, such as Garcon Taupe (who have just released on Narrominded), Spoelstra (who have an album coming up called The Almighty Internet) and Oscar Coen Polack himself. And finally, this EP is also available as a free mp3 download, so it is really more an introductory card to the label.
Albeit a rather restricted one. The music, starting from the song Here Is the Night, is restricted to basic keyboard and synthesizer beats and harmonies, very much like the electro beat experimented with in the early eighties and which Mute records took its first steps towards eternal fame in. Narrominded haven’t found their Depeche Mode yet, unfortunately. Only the original track has vocals, sung in perfect mimicry of the dark, almost gothic electro-pop that I remember from my early teenage-hood. Hunter Complex really states that he used a lot of synties from the eighties (bad luck for anybody who sold his old synthies ten years ago for cheap, because now they seem to be in big demand and you may get top dollar for it) but also perused the boundary-less recording possibilities available nowadays.
To the remixes: Garcon Taupe focuses on the percussive parts and dabbles with multi-layered beats and synthie-congas. Spoelstra reduces the song to a synthie-bedroom wizard version and what is possibly a one-take recording. It seems to me that at one point he hit the wrong note and – which is always a good tactic – remained hitting it until it starts to sound meant that way and becomes meaningful and fitting. Coen Oscar Polack finally takes out the rhythm totally and turns the song into a slowly flowing ambient track with the vocals reduced to a humming, transcending instrumental layer adding bass in the back. No, it is not like Psychic TV, only somewhat.
The final track, another Hunter Complex original, is another odd pop song somehow re-vived from the eighties. Fashion Street has high pitched comic vocals on the intro, glass chime synthies and even that sort of echoy saxophone and wailing guitar that makes late night, rainy street scenes in action movies from the eighties so cool. You know, the point in the plot where the main hero is all alone and has to get to grips with all he has done wrong and how come everything seems to be against him. That is usually the point where he drives his sports car through Los Angeles at night and from there onwards everything turns towards his way and he kills the main gangster / gets the girl finally / saves his friendship.
I am currently looking forward if that time machine effect will work out on the full length album that will be released this month. Otherwise I will have to go and see if I can find Live and Die in L.A. on DVD.
release date: december 17 2009
format: cd / digital
Here Is the Night EP is the first release by Hunter Complex. Under this name Lars Meijer creates music with a clear influence of synthpop and new wave from the eighties. In January 2010 his debut album Hunter Complex will be released. As a starter, Narrominded presents this cd (also available as a free download) containing reworks of the track Here Is the Night by Garçon Taupe, Spoelstra and Coen Oscar Polack. Lars Meijer was previously active in electronic music acts Living Ornaments and Psychon and is the co-owner of the Narrominded label. Around the turn of the century, under the moniker 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.