Andy Hunter – Colour (2008 album)

Album links

 

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/akim777oficial/sets/andy-hunter-collide-1

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0IZD93MVZfN2K9Regou0sT?si=i7Gptf_8QSWH65He5GGAsg

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9eZ1oUPc-CBmFJ6dvzxeSBhbFXq7tM0Q

 

 

 

Introduction: Andy Hunter! It’s been a good while since I’ve reviewed what I’d consider to be the most nostalgic artist of all time (for me, there’s an incredible bias here). Well, this one isn’t quite as nostalgic as the others as it had slipped under my radar when I’d first discovered Andy and all future albums hadn’t existed yet. But that doesn’t fully matter, because this album is still filled with nostalgic tracks that reach up to the highest heights of Andy Hunter’s production (sans Lifelight, nothing will beat Lifelight). There are definitely some beauties in here, that’s for certain. But enough talking vaguely about nostalgia. It’s time to get into the details of Colour (spelt in British because Andy Hunter is across the Atlantic from me, an American, but I like the British spelling anyway and shall be using it throughout the rest of this review).

 

Andy Hunter – Sound Pollution (9): Sound Pollution is, by far, the best introduction to any of the Andy Hunter albums. It does share a lot of similarities with Go, starting calmly and then slowly building up to a more intense energy ridden breakdown that hypes up the rest of the album. I will admit that Go, at first, does a better job with it’s beautiful strings and pounding heartbeat (this one starts with some nearly as beautiful ambience and perhaps some Morse code that someone who isn’t me can decipher).However,  Sound Pollution easily takes the lead as soon as the song kicks into high gear. It’s cleaner, smoother, more energetic and simply a better produced introduction in every way. This song is dense with dozens of amazing moments and a variety that few songs can measure up to.

 

Listen to that Bassline roll in. Oh, it sounds just like Go at first, but this one sneaks up on you more quickly with some auditory artifacts crowding around as it builds up the energy towards its first switch up. Changing chord progressions, beat dropouts, new instruments introduced every couple of measures or so for a solid minute including a distorted groovy synth and a variation on the bassline that gives the song a brief breakdown every once and a while (and it’s fresh every time). There’s also a piano melody, a return of the strings which occasionally stab the song with some extra energy and a few synths complimenting the bassline. All this and I’m sure I’m forgetting something because this song is so incredibly dense it’s impossible to go over it all. And this all builds up in barely a minute and a half, not even a quarter of the song. It’s then that the vocals kick in, as all of the instruments dance around dropping the title of the song. And despite the incredible variety of noises and sounds intruding and possibly polluting this song, it all fuses together so well that it turns out to be an intricate masterpiece. The vocals are able to remain in the spotlight with every single other element of this song playing just as strongly. And the instrumental break about three quarters into the song is especially incredible with the breakdown leading ack into the chorus. This is one of the best introductions to an album I’ve ever heard

 

And this isn’t even the best song on the album. There is so much more to come.

 

Andy Hunter & Mark Underdown – Stars (5): But unfortunately, I will admit that this album isn’t perfect, there are a few songs in here that are clearly lesser than the rest in my book. Oh, they’re not bad. It’s just that about half of the songs are so incredible (or at least great) that they leave songs like this in the dust. Unfortunately, this is one of the more popular songs in the album. Or at least, it’s the one that spawned a remix EP with seven remixes on it.

 

But I guess it’s just the type of song that lends itself best to being remixed (though I think a Smile remix would be quite possible as well, and definitely better, but that’s simply my opinion. Also, I’m getting ahead of myself). To give credit where credit is due, Stars is still a beautiful song with some good piano and guitar melodies that create a safe relaxing vibe throughout the song. But there isn’t much special here. There are some decent vocals from Mark Underdown (redundant last name is kind of redundant, but sometimes that’s just the way it is), as well as some lyricless female vocals that provide an extra layer of beauty to the song, but neither of them really strike me as interesting. My guess is that I’ve probably because I’ve heard these vocals way too many times while shuffling through Andy Hunter’s discography. The only other song that comes close is the four versions of Spiral, but that’s half as many versions of Stars.

 

The lyrics due provide a bit more depth than many of the songs on this album which just blurt out the title of the song Mark concentrates on admiring the beauty of the world we live in, and I’ll admit his lyrics do a good job of illustrating the wonders of this world. It’s something I should appreciate more instead of holing myself up on the World Wide Web. They don’t go extremely in depth but it is still a good message that saves this song from feeling too mediocre.

 

I’ll give this song a slightly above average score to give it the benefit of the doubt due to my overconsumption of “the stars in the sky,” but in most cases (unless Phonat is involved), I’d probably skip this one.

 

Andy Hunter & Shaz Sparks – Shine (6.25): Shine begins with glorious beauty with a quick stab announcing the gorgeous ambience joined together with Shaz’s vocals… and that’s the best part of the song right there, great job.

 

Ok, the rest of the song is still good. Shaz’s vocals are pleasantly refreshing to listen to, even if they’re not extremely different from the vocals in Stars (for all I know she could be the same singer as Stars’ female vocals are uncredited). They encapsulate beauty quite well and fit quite well with the ambience and slight groove this song has. Plus, the bell melody that’s added in about a minute into the song. But what else is there to mention? What else is there to talk about?

 

Not exceptionally much. The few lyrics this song has don’t have much depth at all, focusing on only five words, one of which is, of course, the title of the song. There’s not really a problem with that as Sound Pollution didn’t have an exceptional amount of depth with its lyrics either and I absolutely love that one. But Shine just doesn’t have the musical moxy to measure up to Sound Pollution in the slightest, causing it to fade into the background in comparison to most of the other songs on this album.

 

Andy Hunter – Miracle (6.5): Miracle is… strange…

 

Andy Hunter isn’t one to delve into the strange trippy category as much as some of my other favorite artists like Infected Mushroom (who I’ve reviewed a bit in the past) or Bliss (who I haven’t reviewed at all but give me some time, I will eventually), but it looks like he’s taken the opportunity this time around to combine lay some meandering vocals (from an unknown source) over a throbbing bassline, a soft, sometimes tropical drumbeat and… a washing machine? It sure sounds like a washing machine to me. Overall, this makes for a stranger experience than any other Andy Hunter song I’ve reviewed except maybe Show… Nope, still weirder than Show, but this one is also a bit better due to consistent quality, even if that quality is weird. Also, there’s some strings in the second half that give the song some beauty after a half time portion with the bassline (which is a welcome break from the throbbing that takes place in most of the song).

 

The lyrics themselves are pretty surface level again. Think of it as a simpler rendition of Stars’ theme. Life is beautiful. It’s a miracle. That’s what this song is in a nutshell. Life is also weird sometimes, but that’s okay.

 

Andy Hunter – System Error (8.25): The past few songs haven’t quite lived up to the energy of Sound Pollution. Stars was pretty much a pop song. Shine was a relaxing tune going for beauty rather than energy. Miracle was… Miracle. But here we have System Error, and make no mistake, we’re back into the strongest energetic portion of the album. Well, it doesn’t quite measure up to the masterpiece that is Sound Pollution, but it does have to offer many similarities harkening back to the introductory song (and by harkening back, I mean barely even twenty minutes ago), but that certainly doesn’t stop it from standing on its own.

 

System Error, unsurprisingly, involves the most distortion and glitched out instruments in the entire album. There’s a robotic voice repeating the song’s title through much of the song, serving as the centerpiece alongside the equally prominent main melody, played by a slightly off synth, which I love. It gives me chills every time I hear it especially when it combos with the piano, the other prominent melody. Other than that, we’ve got a couple of simple basslines (one rolling up and down in pitch and the other just sending rapid-fire notes into the air), and the syncopated drumbeat that serves as the true heart of this song’s energy. Oh, and there’s also tons of record scratching, giving the song an extra glitchy effect for the road.

 

The highlight of the song is the middle portion, in which the song takes its calm and highlight some previously unheard piano and strings, before re-introducing the other harsher elements of the song, creating that blend I love between the two stand out melodies. Plus, the whole concept of this song being a system error is quite enjoyable. So, this song definitely has the privilege of temporarily stealing second place of the songs so far on this album.

 

Andy Hunter & Midge Ure – Smile (8.5): And then Smile came along, stealing second place just as quickly as System Error had originally received it. This one comes bit closer to overthrowing Sound Pollution, but it doesn’t quite come close enough to Sound Pollution to overthrow it. But that’s perfectly fine. Smile is an entirely different song.

 

First thing you might notice about this song is the strings. The strings are easily my favorite nonvocal element of the song (not that the vocals are better, it’s somewhat of a tie actually). Not only are they beautiful as always, but these ones have a quite interesting groove throughout much of the song. In the first half they only make their presence known in the verses and sparsely in the chorus. It’s just a few short notes of beauty here and there, some of them flowing a bit more once we get to the chorus. Just a nice bit of beauty to contrast with the groovier bassline.

 

However, things change a bit in the second half of the song as we enter the bridge. No longer content to play only simple notes, the violin sees an area of silence between the vocals and grasps that chance to let its true beauty shine (no pun intended). Sure, it lets a short melody take the spotlight for a brief bit, but following that, it’s all long flowing notes from the violin leading into the chorus and then closing the song out. All in all, it’s a creative blend of beauty and funk: Beaunk… Nope don’t like that portmanteau. Moving on.

 

As I’ve already mentioned a couple of times, Smile has vocals. Not a minimal couple lines like most of the songs you’ve heard so far. You’ll need more than your two hands to count all the lines this song has to offer in comparison to the one hand needed for most of the songs so far. I mean, Stars has some variety in the lyrics department as well, but I’d rather not think of that song any more than I have to. The vocal performance in this one is much stronger anyway (though not the strongest in the album). The chorus is especially impressive as it contains a duality between two different singers, Andy (unless I’m wrong and that’s just Midge again) in the foreground and Midge in the back. It creates a nice echoed feeling to the main line of the song (which is “smiling” not smile as you’d expect). And both still have a unique feel to their performance, with Midge, being the better singer, reaching for much higher notes (high enough that I can’t properly handle so I’m just sitting back admiring the range) and Andy (unless I’m wrong and that’s just another recording of Midge as I’ve questioned before) aiming for a more mellow sound to carry the song.

 

This is a feel-good song, as you’d expect from such a positive title, so I’ll admit it’s not exactly my forte. The song definitely presents a Christian message that Andy Hunter uses throughout much of his discography (though sometimes in vaguer ways than others). It’s a rather simple one this time, focusing on the positive emotional influence God has on his life. Other songs in the future may get a little deeper in their lyrics, which may prove to be better. Is Smile about to lose its second place?

 

Andy Hunter & D’Morgan – Technicolour (9.5): Yup. Just as soon as Smile stole second place from System Error. Technicolour bumps it down to third. But this time is different. Technicolour isn’t stealing second place. Technicolour is the absolute best song on this album, my second favorite in the entire Andy Hunter discography. Lifelight still holds first place there and there is another song later in this album that comes very close (same rating, but not quite the same quality), but now is the time for Technicolour to shine (not the song) in the spotlight.

 

Everything that was fun about Smile has been multiplied tenfold. The groovy bassline now has a new energy, keeping up with an energetic drumbeat (which is somehow roughly the same tempo but feels significantly faster), with several subtle synths, including arps and your usual rolling bass synth. Oh, and if you want some true groove, you just gotta look at that guitar, which makes up much of the funk this song has to offer. The only thing Smile has over Technicolour is superior strings. But Technicolour has something else that more than makes up for it.

 

For the real star of the show is undeniably D’morgan’s vocals, this time not on par with the strings at all, but exceeding them. I have never in my life heard anyone have so much fun singing a song. The first signs of D’Morgan appear int the intro of the song, echoing slightly along with the rest of the instruments as they develop (mostly the basslines), but when he truly begins to receive a spotlight, he starts so calmly that doesn’t show any hint of what’s to come. The comparatively soft spoken verse are immediately taken over by a much more energetic and passionate chorus that follows the same groove as the rest of the song, making the quality of every single element to be quite equal.

 

But then we get to the bridge. The bridge changes everything. There is so much passion in these increasingly dynamic vocals. Reaching heights that I can’t help but get caught up in his zest for the music. I mean, there’s absolutely no way, my voice can do anything that D’Morgan is doing here. But I sure try (and fail). And that bridge isn’t even the limit of D’morgan’s power. After another Chorus, he immerses himself into the best vocal portion on the entire album.

 

As for lyrics, we’ve finally reached a song having to do with Colour. Took us long enough. Most of the lines in here do depict the more negative aspects of life, with blue likely referring to depression and black and white referring to the apathy that follows. But the song isn’t fully bleak as the ideal technicolour life remains in reach, allowing for a truly meaningful and fulfilling existence. And as he stops his search for answers in the dark and steps into the light, that technicolour world becomes a reality, changing his life for the insanely better.

 

Good meaningful lyrics, but the sound design and vocal performance outshine everything else.

 

Andy Hunter – Together (5.5): Unfortunately, the streak of fantastic music must come to a close. The last three songs were all amazing, especially the unforgettable Technicolour, but this one is the exact opposite. Together is forgettable. I’m not saying it’s bad or the worst on the album (though probably the reason I hold it above Stars is that Stars is unforgettable in how average it is and how many times I’ve heard it). Together is truly inoffensive though. The music is simple, focusing almost exclusively on ambience and one melody. There are admittedly some strings in the second half that provide a little bit of variety, but it’s not enough to save the song.

 

There are vocals though!… I don’t care for them. The vocal performance is rather flat (or maybe that’s because I just listened to the dynamic Technicolour) and the lyrics are practically empty of meaning. It’s a very simple love song not unlike the simplicity of Wonderful from the last album. But at least Wonderful had something interesting about it.

 

This has nothing.

 

Andy Hunter & Cathy Burton – Fade (8): Now, if you want you calm relaxing track to have meaning and display some true beauty, then this is the song for you. Fade is gorgeous. The strings at the beginning take on the other end of the emotional spectrum compared to how they were used in Smile and Technicolour. Here, it’s not used for energy or groove, but for its sheer beauty and soothing tone of relaxation. Paired with subtle echoing drums and some Gorgeous vocals from Cathy Burton (who you may or may not remember from Translucent off of the Exodus album I’d reviewed.

 

Speaking of comparisons to songs off of Exodus, I am noticing there is an amount of bass in this song that stands out a slight bit among the other relaxing beautiful elements that this song has. And if you’re a hardcore Red Hat Reviews fan, you may remember that back in that Exodus review, I’d referred to Show as the worst song in Andy Hunter’s discography due to it’s clashing basslines ruining it’s attempts at creating an otherwise relaxing track. But that was because the sound design refused to mesh well (and there was that annoying little beep that irked me so much every time it appeared).

 

But this bassline works. It meshes quite well with the sound design only coming to the forefront in short rising spurts that fit well with the rest of the soundscape. They don’t feel like they’re interrupting or overwhelming the rest of the song. They don’t feel like a distraction or an unnecessary detour from the song’s mood. It’s just an extra bit of flavor in the verses that also appears subtly in the chorus.

 

But most importantly is the emotional meaning behind these lyrics. This one is probably one of the more undeniably religious songs on the album along with Smile and You. There is definitely a correlation between the darkness that occurs when the colour fades and the darkness that overtakes one’s life when one wanders from God and the peace one finds when they return. Seeing as peace is what I’d consider to be one of my main goals in life, I do quite enjoy this song. True peace is hard to come by, especially these days…

 

Overall, Fade is definitely a solid song and proves to be one of the most soothing and relaxing.

 

Andy Hunter – Sapphire (9.75): But then there’s Sapphire. Sapphire is absolutely gorgeous and probably one of the most soothing tracks I’ve ever heard in my life. It is also very difficult to review. Sapphire is a pure feeling. There are some vocals in there, though not lyrical. There’s a beautiful collection of piano melodies that make up the majority of the emotional impact that this song has as it climbs towards the end (though the vocals definitely help). And there’s a slow solemnly soft drumbeat and some deep ambience to back it all up.

 

But how do I truly describe Sapphire. How can I capture the immense beauty and peace of this track and put it into words? How do I truly explain how this song always can bring me to a stable state of mind whenever I listen to it? To be perfectly honest, I have no idea. This song isn’t just a piece of music. It is an emotion. It is the closest thing to peace that I’ve ever heard.

 

Listening to this more and more, I’ve come to the conclusion that I was wrong about saying Technicolour was my second favorite song of Andy Hunter’s. I was wrong to say that this song didn’t quite measure up to Technicolour. Because this song is absolutely beautiful and the only thing that can hold a candle to Lifelight.

 

Andy Hunter – Out of Control (7.5): And now for, something completely different. It’s funny how the most relaxing song on the album is immediately followed by what is possibly the most energetic song on the album. Just as the title would suggest, Out of Control is quite out of control in comparison to many of the other songs in this album. It starts off immediately with an oscillating synth that sounds like a soft siren of sorts, politely warning of the quick paced action up ahead. What quick paced action? Why the main bassline of course! The bassline is thrown into the song almost immediately after the sirens start to blare (softly). is fast, with an almost arpeggiated feel to it. Sure, it starts off soft, but it ends up building up to the become the backbone to the most energetic track on the album (sans Sound Pollution, that one’s hard to beat), especially when it starts rolling out the chord progression.

 

But the bassline isn’t my favorite part. You know what I love? Those vocals. I mean the name drop isn’t too special other than the fact that I like the distorted tone and all, but those da-da-da-da-da-das are incredibly enjoyable. They’ve got a groove to them and an overall fun tone. Really gives that song the bit of flavor it needs. There’s another melody in there as well which helps round out the song, but I don’t really have much to say about it other than the fact that I don’t have much to say about it…

 

Moving on!

 

Andy Hunter – You (6.25): And so, for our album’s finale we have You. Not You, the reader. You, the song. It’s a decent song. Certainly not bad at all. It’s definitely more memorable than… Not Separated? That was, the name of the song, right? Ah well, that’s irrelevant. What’s important is that this song now is a bit more memorable than whatever it was I was just talking about a second ago, but I wouldn’t come to this album specifically for this song.

 

See, this song does have some stuff to offer. It does follow somewhat of a similar structure to the beginning of Out of Control at first. But let me be clear, I’m only talking about the first bit. You know the drill. Start with some kind of fitting ambience and then introduce a decently bassline that you can buildup over time. At about a minute in, switch it up by adding a chord progression. And after that? Uh… hmmmm… a piano melody would be nice. I do love me a good piano melody. A piano melody can often be the highlight of a song such as this one. Probably drop out the beat for the first bit of that piano melody so it can get some good focus. Maybe add a few synths in there as the song is approaching its end, providing a last-minute touch-up of variety. Nothing too significant though. Keep the song consistent, you know?

 

What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, You. Not You, the person reading this review, but You, the conclusive song of Andy Hunter’s third album. Hmmmm. Well it’s a bit long, first of all, longest song on the album actually, clocking at about seven minutes. I honestly don’t think it deserves such a length as it doesn’t go on all that much of a journey to justify that time. This song could have done just fine as a song of about four or five minutes (making Sound Pollution and Technicolour the longest songs on the album, which sounds perfectly fine to me). There are some vocals in there as well, depicting some vague worship lyrics that do nothing more than declare God the eternal trinity. It’s a fine song, but considering that there are three songs in this album that reach a score of 9 and higher, this one will go down as being kind of forgettable but not as forgettable as that other song I reviewed not long ago called “Two Things in the Same Place”… Yeah, that must have been what it was called.

 

Conclusion: This is probably the most divided of the Andy Hunter albums for me. Sure, neither of the previous ones were perfect. Exodus had Show, and Life had Open My Eyes… Actually, Open My Eyes was pretty decent, it just paled in comparison to the rest of the album as that was Andy Hunter’s best (and I could have probably given that more love than I did despite it already being my top-rated album so far).

 

But Colour had multiple flops. Stars and Together were painfully average. And Shine and You didn’t really fare that much better. And yet, there were also several gems on this album too, from the spectacular intro that is Sound Pollution to the overwhelmingly groovy Technicolour to the captivatingly beautiful Sapphire. Those songs truly deserve better. But as it is, this album does dip in quality from Life. Not to low. I’m rating it the same as Genesis, but it’s clear that Life was the highlight of Andy Hunter’s career.

 

Final Score: (7.5/10)

Infected Mushroom – Converting Vegetarians (2003 album) pt 2/2

Part 2 – Other Side

 

Album links

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud (Other Side only): https://soundcloud.com/infectedmushroom/sets/converting-vegetarians-the

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3LbcBylGvC80f5OTeQaVuM?si=DRj2Ry1zQ1qfIxNXrcvF9A

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL718C82948CE653CE

 

Introduction: Alright! Time for the Converting Vegetarians review part 2! Not to be confused with the Converted Vegetarians part 2 review. That comes much later.

 

Anyways, we’re in for something a little different today. Last week was all psytrance so it felt a lot like one of the other Infected Mushroom albums I reviewed. The other half of the album however… the other side… It’s absolutely completely different. I guess I’ll let the music do the talking. I’d written the first half of this reviews if I’d release it all at once along with the Trance Side but that didn’t happen. So let’s just dive right in and let my words on the song, Converting Vegetarians tell you about the album, Converting Vegetarians.

 

Infected Mushroom – Converting Vegetarians (7.5): When the titular song of this album introduces itself, it ends up slightly jarring. The first ten songs all shared a common theme and together formed the “Trance Side” of the album. The “Other Side” has no theme to it. Unless you count the perpetual state of being odd in general to be a theme. Because a healthy portion of these songs are simply odd. Even if this was how the album began without over an hour of trance setting a precedent, the song is such a strange mixture of textural instruments and distorted vocals, that the majority of listeners might be initially put off by the vibes that Infected Mushroom is introducing in this album

 

I, however, love it.

 

I’m all for variety and this song definitely delivers on that front. There is such an interesting variety of carefully placed chaotic patterns to keep the song fresh and engaging throughout. Instead of catering to the psytrance side that Infected Mushroom has been known for up to this point, this song explores every corner of Infected Mushroom’s sound design, deconstructs it and reconstructs it into something new. The song takes on a slower pace with plentiful basslines, some a little too screechy (only true negative of the song in my opinion) and others that have a very deep unique groove. My favorite instruments in the song have to be the fully vocal ones though. The broken scatsinging in the background as well as the various voices used to display these lyrics (ranging from calm and slightly distorted to a cleaner voice belting out the lyrics without concern of losing his voice).

 

Those lyrics though… Oh boy do I have some lyrics to decipher. I mean, the likely goal of this song was to make a statement that the two of them aren’t limiting themselves to just the one genre any more. They shan’t sell out and give the people exactly what they want and expect, but instead explore other areas of their soundscape. It’s a song about transformation. And those that had been solely consuming their psytrance shallf be converted from their vegetarian diet (apparently psytrance contains no meat), to larger variety of genres (some of which is likely steak, I would like some steak right now, thanks).

 

However, I do find the mention that they’ve been converting these vegetarians since 1996 to be rather odd. If you remember back in my first review on this site, their first album dropped in 1999. Previous to that, they did release a song on a compilation 1998, but that’s still not back in 1996? What could have happened in 1996? I was born in 1996… Perhaps my meat looks so succulent that any vegetarian that looks at me suddenly wants to eat meat… Cook me up and take bite after bite of my flesh…

 

Oh wait. Erez and Duvdev started making music in 1996… They just weren’t Infected Mushroom at the time. Thank Wikipedia for easing my fears of sudden cannibals gazing hungrily at me (please don’t eat me).

 

Infected Mushroom – Elation Station (6.75): As we move deeper into the Other Side of the album, we’re met with many of the most relaxing tracks in the entire Infected Mushroom discography. Up until this point, most of the discography has been hard-hitting psytrance (and whatever that last song was).

 

For much of the song, Elation Station’s main focus is a simple piano melody. It’s the sole instrument at the beginning of the song and it isn’t until a good thirty seconds that any other significant instruments enter into the song. Some relaxing guitar, a calming arp, a slight bassline that’s more on the smooth side rather than funky or bouncy with a drumbeat to match. All relaxing elements.

 

And then that other synth comes in at one and quarter minutes in. I’m not as elated about this synth as the rest of the song. It feels a bit unfitting to the relaxing vibe that’s displayed in the beginning of this track as well as the end. The song would be a bit higher in rating if this synth felt a bit more polished, but it doesn’t distract too much from the relaxation, so I’ll give it a pass.

 

The middle, however, isn’t relaxing. It’s something else entirely. You may remember that the bassline this song introduces at the beginning is merely smooth. No funk. No bounce. The bassline introduced for the middle third of this song is the complete opposite of that. It’s all funk. This song is a funk sandwich with nearly relaxing bread. A funk sandwich that I would gladly assume is meat (not sure what kind of meat, funk is, but I’m going to eat it regardless). It starts out funky enough 2;20, but it only grows funkier as it goes on. Take a break to focus on some horns? It only gets funkier. Distort them a second to make them an octave lower? It only gets funkier. Get rid of the bassline entirely and return to the near relaxation the song started with? Well, the bassline doesn’t return after that, but I’m sure if it did, it would be incredibly funky.

 

Infected Mushroom – Drop Out (7): I’d say Drop Out is a strange song, but that could be said about nearly every song on the second half of this album, so I’ll try to restrain myself from saying such obvious things in the future.

 

It is quite strange though.

 

Let’s start with the overall feeling that this song has with the music. A lot of the song, especially in the beginning and the end has a lot of focus on a calmer glitched out vibe, not as calm as Elation Station, mind you, but still overall more relaxing than intense. And while the glitches with the drumbeats and strange arps and vocals do somewhat conflict with the relaxing mood, I feel that this song strays from the relaxing vibe in so many ways, that the glitched out behavior of several of the instruments (and those vocals) becomes the new overall feeling the song has. It’s not relaxing in a soothing way. It’s relaxing in a trippy mind-bending way. Regardless, this song’s relaxation works.

 

One part of the song that stands out, fitting perhaps the pure relaxation parts of this song, would be the guitar section in the middle. I don’t have much in particular to say about this, but I will make sure to mention that the guitar does a great job of providing a break between the strange vocals and other glitches, allowing one to get lost in the beauty of the simpler elements of the song. The more rock-oriented guitar near the end of the track serves a similar purpose, though I find it slightly less enjoyable and relaxing (It’s rock. rock is less relaxing than acoustic. That’s just how it works).

 

Speaking of the beauty of simple things, let’s take a quick look at the little lyrical content this song has to offer. When it comes to the lyrics, my original guess for the meaning of this song would be about dropping out of school as I have an innocent mind that views that quote of breaking free of the restrictions of thinking that the modern education system seems to enforce on the progressing generations as time goes on.

 

However, seeing as I’ve discovered this sample comes from an LSD documentary, it’s probably about dropping out of reality…

 

Via drugs.

 

Sometimes, you can’t escape the psychedelic messages songs of this genre display

 

Infected Mushroom – Avratz (7.75): Avratz passes by Dancing with Kadafi, becoming the longest song in the discography (up to this point). Beat it out by an entire second. Fantastic lead, I must say. When it comes to lengthy songs like this one, I must always ask whether or not the song uses enough variety to justify its length. In other words, does it count as a journey through sound? I’ll say yes in this case. It takes a long while for the song to pick up momentum on its journey, but the second half of the song has enough elements that make up for the slow beginning.

 

And I mean slow in two different ways. Not only does the song take a lengthy amount of time to get started, the music at this portion of the song is incredibly calm, focusing almost entirely on one simple melody that repeatedly climbs up and down. For the first two minutes, that’s all there is. Maybe a drumbeat here and there, but that variety isn’t looking quite good so far.

 

Thankfully, the conclusion of those two minute brings in a new piano melody. It’s a small change, but it’s entirely necessary to prevent me from losing my mind to the numb unchanging status quo. That being said, it does allow for some beautiful elements to be added to that melody the plays throughout much of the song, even beyond the halfway mark. It starts out quite beautiful though it does get distorted halfway through, but distortion is somewhat of a main them in this album so that’s to be expected.

 

The second half of the song is a bit more upbeat than what’s been shown so far. This upbeat switchup is where the song really kicks it up a notch. I don’t have time to go into every single element that this song throws into the mix so here’s a quick rapidfire rundown. We’ve got the more upbeat drumbeat with the introduction of a bassline that’s been missing for far too long. We’ve got some distorted vocals added in early on in this second half as well as bringing the song towards its conclusion (the latter being my preferred vocal bit). We’ve got a good progression of the bassline and the drums becoming more intense as the song goes on. We’ve got a sudden half time portion with a combination of a slightly more guttural bassline and a new relaxing guitar melody. We’ve got strings. We’ve got oddly unique arps that contrast with the rest of the song (in a good way unlike Elation Station). We’ve got a bassline that feels pleasantly broken as it builds up towards the conclusion of the song along with those vocals I mentioned earlier. And then there’s the bookend throwing back to the melody that started it all. Playing the song on loop makes it tricky to determine where exactly the song ends and starts anew.

 

All in all, this song is incredibly relaxing to the point where I almost fell asleep several times trying to review this song. Or maybe I’m just tired…

 

Infected Mushroom & Michelle Adamson – Blink (6.25): Blink is a strange song. I know I said I’d stop mentioning that, but when Michelle Adamson (spent a bit of time searching for that vocalist’s name, but I think I got it right) joins in to provide her vocals, it’s hard to say it just blends in with the usual oddity that makes up this album.

 

And I do believe that Michelle adds the most to this strange feeling this song gives my gut. After all, much of the music matches the vibe I’ve been getting used to as I listen through the Other Side. The bassline is slightly groovier, but it isn’t really groundbreaking in the same way that Elation Station’s is. The song has a solid halftime drumbeat that isn’t quite as glitchy as in Drop Out. There’s several mysterious synths that have somewhat of a relaxing feel to them, but Avratz has more. Converting Vegetarian’s vocals are much more heavily distorted.

 

But that doesn’t matter because Michelle’s vocals are more unsettling and discomforting with minimal distortion. I don’t dislike them. I just find them a bit… odd. The bridge especially sends chills up my spine. Her whispers as she talks of conquering demons and ignoring lizards feel as if they might be distorted, but it sounds so natural that I’m nearly convinced she might be some sort of otherworldly being herself.

 

As for the lyrics, it’s incredibly cryptic, but I’m not fully certain there was truly “no smoking or drinking” as they were being written. I’ve already mentioned the demon conquering and lizard whisper ignoring as I talked of the vocals. But there’s so much more in here that raises strange questions. There seems to be a song in her head leading her towards death. Then again, does that even matter because she also said she’s already dead (maybe inside?). And then there’s speak of bonding one’s mind in an intimate transcendent experience

 

Yeah, this one’s probably about drugs too. The Infected Mushrooms are not exactly subtle this time around.

 

Infected Mushrooom – Shakawkaw (7.75): Shakakaw is a short fun song with an entirely different feeling than Blink (especially in the vocals). Much of the song keeps a chill atmosphere to it, somewhat similar to the first half of Avratz with a simple melody dominating much of the song. That’s where the similarities end. Thankfully, this song develops much more quickly, adding more variety in the first minute that the calmer portion of Avratz did in its entirety (this song is over before Avratz really got going).

 

The simple melody is quite nice, but the instruments introduced to compliment are quite enjoyable. The bassline has a slight funk to it, most staying in the background, but definitely driving the song forward. There’s a couple of synths that contribute to the odd environment that’s integral to any song off of the second half of this album. Oh and the guitar.

 

The guitar definitely steals the show in its brief tenure. That seems to be typical on this album. Whenever, a guitar comes in, it’s the best part of the song for that moment adding in some beauty to the otherwise gritty oddity that is this album.

 

But the guitar isn’t the focus of the song. As awesome as it is, it’s not the most memorable part. The most memorable part would have to go to the vocals and their fantastic “lyrical content.” Ok, actually it’s just some guy yelling out the amusing title of the song, but that’s really the heart of what makes listening to this song so fun. Even when the “lyrics” stop, you can hear the singer who sun his heart out laughing as the song fades away. And rightfully so. This song is ridiculously amusing.

 

Infected Mushroom – Pletzurra (8.25): Pletzurra develops quite interestingly, especially near the end. But in order to truly appreciate the development of a song like this, I must first tell you of the trippy ambience at the beginning. There’s a pad whispering in my ear as the drumbeat begins and the piano joins in. Eventually, the oddly ominous gets covered up with all of the other instruments that make up this song in an attempt to send it back to the eternal abyss it came from. But just as the abyss is an eternal construct that we stare into throughout our life, the ominous pad is also eternal and never truly leaves the song. It’s always there.

 

Always waiting.

 

For something. Not sure what. It’s kind of just there.

 

Not exactly as ominous if nothing happens.

 

Unless something is happening and I’m just not noticing it.

 

Now, that’s ominous.

 

Maybe.

 

Ominous distractions aside, I’m glad that many instruments come in to cover up the ominous bits. Not because I hate that pad. I find it quite interesting. No, it’s because everything that this song adds to the mix from this point onwards is quite a pleasure. Or should I say Pleasuretzura? (I’ve decided I shouldn’t have said that. Forgive me for not leaving this pun alone). The piano in this song is one of the first things to start covering up that pad, providing the most beautiful melody on the entire album. With the help of a slight bassline, they cover up the ominousness almost completely. At least enough so that it’s no longer infecting my brain.

 

From there, the song takes a step back in quality, briefly being played through a lower filter, almost as if we were listening to a recording of the song being played on the radio. You can even here the tape spinning as the vocals begin to introduce themselves. The vocals sound pained at first but slowly develop over time to a more confident melody. None of it has lyrics of course, it’s merely a manifestation of overcoming pain with a choir to back it up. Probably reading too deep into it with that last sentence, but that’s the roll I’m on right now. Eventually the deep singing grows to be quite beautiful, the drums and the bassline do return to an ominous vibe. Thankfully though there’s a second melody and strings to cover it up as the song brings itself to close, proving itself to be an overall relaxing piece of music…

 

PSYCH! This song has a BANJO! And it’s AWESOME!

 

Infected Mushroom – I Wish (9.25): Undeniably my favorite song on the album. I’ve been listening through this album a lot as of late, trying to learn these songs inside and out and out and every single time this one comes on, I can’t help but sing along with that chorus over and over and over again. I guess I sing along to Shakawkaw too when it comes up, but that one’s more amusing than anything else. This one actually has meaning behind its lyrics. And unlike the trippy songs featuring Michelle Adamson (yeah there’s another one I’ll get to in a bit), I find these lyrics to be both decipherable and inspiring.

 

But music first. The music is great too. This time it’s all about the bassline. Well I guess there’s some other cool things too, a good chord progression, some syncopated drums with a few variations here and there. There are some slight whispering vocals in the background for a bit. And uh… the rest is bassline. And the bassline is great. The bassline has two elements to it. There’s the swinging more heavily distorted bass spotlighted best at the beginning of the song as well as after each chorus. And then there’s the more constant arpeggiated bassline that underlies the song’s drive. Together, these two parts of the bassline keep this song moving for the three minutes it exists. Not too much variety, but that doesn’t bother me too much. It’s the vocals that stand out.

 

First off, while I’d love to get into the lyrics, I did lie a little bit when I said this song is all about bassline. Sometimes, under certain circumstances, I’d consider vocals to be an instrument of their own. And this song is definitely one of those circumstances. These vocals are the most heavily distorted on the album. The immediate stuttering as soon as the first verse starts. The way each note seems to dance up and down, constantly wavering in tone. The end of each line being held perhaps a fraction of a second longer than you’d expect half the time and completely glitching out the other half of the time. It all comes to a head with the extremely catch chorus. Not only is the music best here because of the prominent chords, but the vocals are almost clean here except for a couple of perfectly placed accents at the end of some of the lines. The way the pitch slides upwards on “game” and “rain” is absolutely fantastic. I have a fondness for when male vocals suddenly soar in pitch without any pretense.

 

As for the lyrics, this song is about fresh beginnings (funny how often that message comes up in reviews of my favorite artists, wonder if that’s why I like them or if that just means I’m extrapolating my own meaning in order to match my innermost values). I Wish compares life itself to a game, a game that we won’t stop playing until the end of our time. Now, exactly how this game has gone in the past is a bit unclear, but there is something to look at through the singer’s desires to play the game without fears and regrets as well as his desire to rewind and kick it from the start. It’s clear that his past experience with this game has been… less than stellar. But like I said, he wishes to abandon those fears and regrets and start again with a fresh game. A game in which he takes control of his life and gives it his best possible. Sure, rewinding time would be nice (I’ve desired to do so more than once), but sometimes the main focus should be to be to push through the game, letting the rain ash away the flaws that hold you back.

 

Again though, I am likely extrapolating. Much of what I’m getting out of this song is somewhat vague. I enjoy it regardless.

 

Infected Mushroom – Ballerium (6.75): It’s always difficult to review a decent song after a spectacular song. Comparatively speaking, Ballerium certainly has nothing on I wish, but I still feel it’s an alright track. Has a good groove to it at points and it does stand out as one of the more minimalistic songs on the album, especially near the beginning. It has an ok variety to it, but much like Scorpion Frog from The Trance Side, most of it just kind of happens.

 

I think my main problem with this song is just how minimalistic it is. There are several points in the song where it feels empty, no ambience, just a couple basslines and a drumbeat. And while the basslines are relatively decent and the kick and snare definitely are stronger compared to many for the songs on this album, they don’t really hold up the song on their own.

 

Thankfully, the song does get better in the second half as there’s more melodies introduced here as well as a couple guitar riffs that add some nice flavor. The best addition to the song comes towards the end for we have a build-up from nothing featuring some gorgeous vocals spotlighted as all the other instruments have faded away. The way the bassline progresses (which serves as the build-up from the build-up from nothing) is also quite interesting during its brief stay before being taken over a bouncier outro. The last bit of the song’s vocals serves as a nice journey even if the song is a little lesser overall.

 

And that’s all there is to say.

 

Infected Mushroom – Selecta (8.25): It seems that on this album, even the most upbeat songs usually start out with a calmer section to build up to the upbeat. This song, despite being upbeat, isn’t one of those songs. No, Selecta wastes no time in getting that 140 BPM tempo out there in the open. Almost sounds like it should be on the Trance Side. It shouldn’t be though. I’ll show you why at the end.

 

The beginning of the song does differ slightly from psytrance. The psytrance bassline isn’t quite as prominent as usual, though the bassline it’s replaced with is still quite fast-paced. Plus a lot of the instrumentation does have a good balance between Trance Side vibes and Other Side vibes as it incorporates a lot of the new sound design without going overboard.

 

However, while I wouldn’t describe the introduction of this song as chill, there are some moments in this song that are a bit more relaxing than most. In particular there’s the middle section of the song winding down a bit after the two-minute mark. The drumbeat doesn’t change at all and the bassline is still there, but somehow the beauty of the new pad, overwhelms all of the energy and provides a soothing relaxation without eliminating the drumbeat entirely. Yes, after about thirty seconds there is a short bit where the drum is replaced by a simple melody instead, but that “nothing” part of the build-up from nothing only lasts a short bit before the “build-up” of the build-up nothing quickly returns.

 

The conclusion of this song is where things get a little bit iffy. This song does not belong on the Trance Side. Because out of nowhere, we have a funky little tune that feels more out of place than the banjo in Pletzurra. There is a piano appearing seconds earlier that might hint towards this little tune, but it sure ain’t an amusing little ditty like this one right here. Also, no horns. No funky little melody. This ending is just different…

 

Yeah, this doesn’t belong on the Trance Side and all.

 

Sure was fun though.

 

Infected Mushroom & Michelle Adamson – Illuminaughty (7): Michelle is back for round 2. Of course, that means we’re going to get into some whispery vocals with cryptic mysterious lyrics, but that can be an interesting divergence sometimes.

 

Now, I’m really tempted to compare the music of this song to Blink, but that’s technically not fair, because despite having the same singer, Blink and Illuminaughty sound like completely different songs. Blink was much slower paced and concentrated more on a funky bassline. Illuminaughty has a much more mysterious instrumental and I must say, I enjoy this one more. A lot of it has to do with it meshing better with Michelle’s mysterious vocals, but there’s also a lot more subtlety to this song in comparison to Blink. The ambient pads and the arps mesh together well when they’re alone and the bassline and drums enter smoothly onto the scene whenever it’s their turn to shine. Blink was by no means bad, but Illuminaughty brings it up a notch.

 

As for the vocals and lyrics, there aren’t quite as many whispers as in Blink, but the song is still the same level of unsettling, again raising the odd question of whether or not she’s truly human. An odd fantastical conspiracy theory that’s likely ridiculously untrue, but she does do some good convincing that she’s fallen from some other realm into ours. However, I’ve been looking over these lyrics and I find them to be so incredibly cryptic that I have so little to analyze. There’s mention of tasting the fruit which likely refers to the Garden of Eden (though in a completely different tone than in Andy Hunter – To Life to Love). And she also continues to walk the line between life and death, committing to neither side. Other than that, I have absolutely no idea what to say.

 

Infected Mushroom – Jeenge (6.75): This song immediately starts with the guitar that often steals the show in the other songs that present the stringed instrument. This time, it doesn’t really steal the show so much. That’s because whenever it’s present, there is no show to steal. The song instead opts for minimalism again. Though this time there’s absolutely nothing interesting in much of the front half of the song except for the guitar. The bassline is ok, but it doesn’t really stand out until the midpoint of the song.

 

That’s when things get a bit funky. The bassline has a more dynamic bounce to it and allows for a bit more variation it develops over the next four minutes as it bounces against other melodies and basslines. My favorite part of the song has to be the bass pattern introduced about five and a half minutes in. Not only does it have a nice swing to it, but every four bars it has a quick unexpected variation with shorter notes. It’s a fun moment, but unfortunately the front half of the song isn’t quite as fun.

 

 

Infected – Mushroom – Elevation (7.75): Final song on this all too lengthy album. Having 23 songs to review is a bit much for me, so I’m glad that there’s a divide in the middle of the album between Trance Side and Other Side. It made this whole review so much easier to handle. This album ends with its most relaxing track, it’s all ambience, piano and strings and all of it is soothing in comparison to the trippy textured instruments that clustered the rest of Other Side. Unfortunately, such a relaxing track doesn’t leave me with much to say. Maybe I’m having review fatigue…

 

The most important thing I can think of to say is that all of the elements in this song really have a beautiful feel to them and some of them mesh so nicely with the rest of the song, that I didn’t even notice them a first, though they do have an important supporting role in the song. The bassline especially fits this description as it’s always covered up by the higher ambience and strings whenever it’s present. The drums have a bit of a complex vibe too, made up of many of the same distorted synths we’ve seen on other songs, but they’ve been chilled down several notches, so they feel not that unlike a simple drumbeat. Though once I did notice them, I did enjoy the meaty flavor that they added to the song. The ambience also transforms into a stronger synth at some points, but it all feels so natural and relaxing that it fits along the more physical instruments without feeling out of place in the slightest.

 

A beautiful conclusion as we finally bring this alum to a close. Speaking of conclusions…

 

Conclusion: And so, concludes the two-week journey that has been Converting Vegetarians, a fascinatingly interesting album that serves as a transition into the expanding variety in Infected Mushroom’s discography. There’s plenty to offer in this album, but I think the Other Side suits me best. Then again, I might just be saying that because I Wish is on there. I love I Wish.

 

Well, regardless, the variety here shall lead into many fantastical developments in the journey through sound that is Infected Mushroom’s entire discography. We may be exiting the first phase of said discography, but there’s still plenty to catch up on…

 

 

 

Final Score of Trance Side: (7.25)

Final Score of Other Side: (7.5)

Final Score of Full Album: (7.25)

 

Daily Hat Track Roundup: March 2019

April has started so let’s reflect over the Daily Hat Tracks of March.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 1 (Ginger Runner – Deception of Light and Shadow): When I saw that there was a new Ginger Runner track I was prepared for some good chill jams but the DnB drop took my by surprise. Loving this.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 2 (Au5 & Danyka Nadeau – Eden): Best Au5 since Snowblind (so second best Au5)

 

Daily Hat Track: March 3 (Way Out West & Hendrik Burkhard – We Move in The Dark): Funky tune from Way out West. There may be some odd existential pondering in there but a lot of it is cryptic so it’s hard to say. The groove is clear though and for now that’s all that matters.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 4 (I am Waiting for You Last Summer – Lights Go Out): Perhaps I’m remembering incorrectly but I’m pretty sure I am Waiting for you Last Summer usually gives off rather chill vibes. Ah well, this DnB rock fusion works too.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 5 (Mr Fijiwiji, Laura Brehm & Agno3 – Pure Sunlight): Throwback to perhaps the best collaboration in Monstercat history. Definitely the golden age of the label in my opinion.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 6 (Azedia – Requiem for a New World): This incredible journey through sound gives a unique contemplation of existence over ten minutes. A religion could be based on this song. Actually this song is most likely based on a religion so never mind that. Still great.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 7 (Rotersand – Not Alone): Daily Hat Track: March 7 Capitalism Tm is my favorite Rotersand album but that’s mostly because of Hey You and Not Alone. Both have fantastic development with great inspiring vocals. This one is my preferred of the two at the moment.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 8 (Ghost Rider – Make Us Stronger): I can’t be the only one who hears Carol of the Bells at the beginning of this one. Anyways, this is your usual decent psytrance song with clips of an inspiring speech pondering life. The second half is pretty cool musically.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 9 (Worakls – Entrudo): The fact that there’s an entire Worakls album now is incredible to me as he’s only released singles previously. Haven’t listened to the album in full yet but hey you should definitely check it out.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 10 (Invocation Array – Hypogeum (Live in Studio): Invocation Array is an interesting duo of two women creating a great crossover between rock and EDM (my favorite kind of crossover) and some great vocals. Final chorus in this song is my favorite part of their discography.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 11 (Covenant – Call the Ships to Port): This another one of those songs where I visualize a music video, this one being about the destruction of a supernatural oceanic prison via a ritualistic funeral for those who are thought to be dead long ago but are only dying now.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 12 (Mind.in.a.box – Timelessness): This song from the fifth chapter of the Mindinabox story (which is a long ways off) is among the catchiest of the discography. The chorus gets into my head the easiest of many songs. Not the best but great vocals and good groove.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 13 (Joachim Pastor – Eternity): I’ve posted some Worakls before, but this is my second favorite artist from the Hungry Music crew (A trio of the best prog house artists). The marimba in this one is the highlight of this particular track.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 14 (N’to – Trauma (Worakls remix)): I’ve definitely had an appetite for Hungry Music as of late. Here, Worakls transforms one of the lesser Hungry songs (though no bad Hungry songs actually exists) into something incredibly new and infinitely better.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 15 (Worakls – Nocturne): Hungry music never ends! But how does it begin? This Worakls track was my very first Hungry song and the orchestral progression here remains my favorite.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 16 (3force – Resistance): This kicking synthwave journey was what started off my morning today. It’s now 13 hours later but I still love every moment of this. Feels much longer than six minutes, given it’s variety.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 17 (Inofaith – Nocturne): Inofaith’s discography is small, but all of it is incredible immersive and relaxing. This song in particular is my favorite as it really speaks to me as a creative.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 18 (Ben Prunty – Night Zen): Last song to speak of this evening is a song of night zen. Well that’s the title. The song itself isn’t as relaxing as Nocturne though. Much more suspense to this one. Really was my favorite discovery today.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 19 (Feint, Boyinaband & Veela – Time Bomb): Throwing back to early Monstercat days with a DnB song about time travel (my favorite storytelling concept). Also has some great vocals from Veela (Who is among my favorite female vocalists). Feint’s best work in my opinion.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 20 (Miracle of Sound & Sarah Murray – Force of Nature): I’m not a huge fan of Miracle of Sound but the first track I heard from him caught my attention with its majestic orchestras and Sarah’s gorgeous vocals. Sadly, Sarah isn’t a regular, so the other songs are a bit underwhelming.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 21 (Kebu – To Jupiter and Back): To Jupiter and Back huh? Sounds like white a journey. This one has a nice balance between beauty and playfulness.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 22 (Niteppl – Meat Grinder): This song’s got a weird creepy vibe to it. But mostly because of the implications of what exactly goes into that neat grinder…

 

Daily Hat Track: March 23 (VNV Nation – When is the Future): I’m currently reviewing the oldest VNV Nation album so here’s a song from the newest VNV Nation album dissecting the passage of time and questioning it’s flow. Where is the past? What is the present? When is the future?

 

Daily Hat Track: March 24 (Infected Mushroom – Slowly): Slowly is just Franks (the previous song on the album), but played in a slower manner. And I can’t help but enjoy that.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 25 (Ed Harrison – Scrap I/O): Running a little late on Daily Hat Tracks so here’s a song that switches between a beautiful piano and strings combination and some upbeat breaks that also includes some slightly glitched vocals.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 26 (PYLOT – Enigma): I really need to get back into PYLOT’s discography. The narrative seems to be improving and developing quite nicely. It isn’t Mindinabox levels yet, but we’re getting there.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 27 (Botnit – Ex Cathedra): Honestly, I find this song a bit amusing with its overhyped 80s praise. I’m sure the 80s were great or something. I wouldn’t know. I was born in 96. “SORRY BETAMAX” gets me every time.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 28 (Covenant – Happy Man): For a song called Happy man, the lead singer of Covenant sure sounds sad… I seem to relate to this song though… What does that say about my mental state?

 

Daily Hat Track: March 29 (Timmy Trumpet – Oracle): So this appeared in a trance playlist on Spotify today. I sincerely did not know Mr Timmy Trumpet did a psytrance song. Short, but it’s interesting enough.

 

Daily Hat Track: March 30 (Andy Hunter & D’Morgan – Technicolour): Best vocal performance of all Andy Hunter songs. That is all.

 

 

Here’s the full playlist of Daily Hat Tracks so far.

Andy Hunter – Life (2005 album)

Album links

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: n/a

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5rO2qQQmQfMqFCPrKu6J2j?si=jcvN–UwRb2q6IYavNvHmA

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZlMg7JLqwdz0u9iESkVUKhds0NGZHbb2

 

Introduction: Alright, let’s hop right back onto the nostalgia train with Andy Hunter. This album’s a bit shorter at only six songs but perhaps I need a shorter review this week anyway. As I’d mentioned a couple weeks ago in the Exodus review Andy Hunter was my very first EDM artist, so a lot of his earlier stuff is extremely nostalgic to me. His first two albums in particular are the most sentimental to me as I’d discovered them both around the same time (my very first Andy Hunter song was on this album) and seeing as I’d reviewed the first of these two albums, it only makes sense to piggy off that nostalgia into the second (with an apparent Mind.in.a.box intermission form last week but the whole theme of R.E.T.R.O. was nostalgia anyway so it still works).

 

Andy Hunter – Open My Eyes (7.25): Of course, like with all of his albums, we must begin with a high tempo blood pumper to get the energy flowing for the rest of the album. Unlike Go, which has nearly two minutes of ambience and build-up before running into the upbeat tempo, this song has about… two seconds before bringing that energy into the forefront. The stabbing notes that play in unison with the drumbeat serve as the most memorable aspect of this song as they’re used a few times throughout the song. It’s fun, but honestly compared to many of the other album openers I’ve heard, this one is rather unimaginative. I’m not saying the whole energetic mood is moot because of its compared mediocrity to the rest of Andy’s discography. I just feel like there could have definitely been a few more moments to focus on some slightly more interesting melodies than the pounding stabs. Take the melody starting at 2:50 for example. I could definitely use more of that. And the break that comes in nearly directly afterword is great too

 

In fact, I think that break is my favorite part of the song. I briefly considered this to be a build-up from nothing, but really, Open My Eyes has a way of going from 0 to 100 quite instantaneously so there’s not really much of a build-up involved. It just sort of happens. But while we’re in that calmer 0 area, there’s some good guitar riffs and strings that provide a nice breather in the middle of the rest of the song. It’s not fantastic, but it does stand out and give an ok bit of variety to the rest of the song. There are perhaps a few other moments here and there that give a little bit of flavor to the song as well, but they aren’t quite as notable as this one.

 

Open My Eyes also has a few lyrics so I’m going to be taking a brief look at those before moving on to the next song. There’s not excessively much to talk about though. Like I mentioned in Exodus, Andy Hunter does include Christian themes in his music, so this song is quite likely a prayer to God to open his eyes to his glory and to breathe new life into his world. I really don’t have much depth to go into for that though, so we’ll be moving on now.

 

Andy Hunter – Come On (8): Honestly, I would have preferred it if Andy Hunter had started off the album with this blood pumper. Maybe it’s just because it shares a few similarities with Go, but it also might just be because I prefer the energy in this one over Open My Eyes. Perhaps I’ll get into both of those.

 

First off, let’s look at the similarities between this and Go, starting off with some of the obvious ones. Even before listening to a single note, the titles give off a similar vibe. Both of them seem to have a sense of urgency. A call to abandon one’s present location and to run somewhere new). Only difference is Go sounds like it calls for one to travel away from the speaker, while Come On beckons one to come with the speaker. Am I reading way too far into this? As always, that’s a definite yes.

 

There are also some similar musical elements that appear in both this and Go. This song, unlike Open My Eyes, actually takes a slight bit of time to get started. It builds off the ambience that Open My Eyes ended on (more seamless transitions in this album. They never reach the same heights as they did in the last half of Exodus but they still create an enjoyable immersive experience as one song bleeds into the next) and slowly builds up with some suspenseful drumbeats and growing ambience before the song kicks into high gear. Yes, this build-up isn’t even quite half the length as in Go. But that’s a bit better than the practically nonexistent 2 seconds in Open My Eyes.

 

Plus, there’s more dedication to the breakbeat drumbeat that gave Go a lot of its energy. Open My Eyes had some of this, but it also felt quite regulated to a four on four tempo at some points in the song thanks to the pounding stabs introduced at the beginning of the song. Seeing as I’m quite a fan of some good syncopation, this song gets a bit of an advantage over Open My Eyes. There’s also a build-up from nothing in the middle that works quite similarly to the one in Go, providing a quick step back to the initial build-up to give a breather in the middle of the song.

 

Other than that, it’s a bit tricky to figure out what to highlight musically. While Open My eyes didn’t really have too much in particular to point out, Come On has so many things to point out that I’m having troubles figuring out what to leave out. First off, one of the most energizing parts of the song is the rapid bassline coming from a distorted guitar underlying much of the song. I swear that this bassline is playing sixteenth notes in relation to the drumbeat and the song was already fast as it was. There’s also a few other good instruments I’d like to highlight including the slower bassline that has one rolling note every measure, as well as the other guitar melody (I think it’s guitar) that comes in for the second half of the song.

 

Lyrics are rather simple for this one. Come on and Can You Hear Me are both just hype-up phrases with no deeper meaning. 1, 2, 3 and 4… that’s counting. Counting isn’t anything special. The only lyric that has any possible significance is “Your Kingdom Come” which is part of the Lord’s Prayer that refers to God’s future glory. So there is something there, but I have no deeper thoughts on it.

 

Ah well, the lyrics are inconsequential this round. The music makes this a pretty solid energetic track anyways.

 

Andy Hunter & Christine Glass – Alive (9.25): This was it. The very first Andy Hunter song to reach my ears. This was the song that started it all with my taste in electronic music. My taste has developed and expanded a lot in the years since, but this beauty still captures my attention to this very day. A combination of things drew me to this song and to Andy Hunter as an artist in general. First off, I hadn’t heard anything like this up until this point in my life. Despite my obsession with music nowadays, I hadn’t really spent much time seeking it out until my early teenage years. Oh, I’ve definitely love music all my life, but in my single digit years, I just listened to whatever my parents put on for a good while (and none of it was electronic). However, once I got an MP3 player of my own, I started broadening my horizons a bit and Alive is what drew me in to Andy Hunter and the many subgenres of electronic music. Alive is where it all began.

 

The place where Alive begins is off the toes of Come On. One more count-up to four and we head right back into the syncopated drumbeat that we’ve been playing through the entire album so far. However, the tone of the drums has changed slightly. Each drumbeat is played a bit more softly, and the snare is especially toned down a few notches. Oh, and then there’s the toms. The toms are just a fun little treat diverging from what I’ve heard from Andy so far and they give a nice touch to the song here and there. And to top it all off, this song has a surprisingly funky bassline for what I’d consider to be the beauty of the album. Doesn’t really stick to one tone or note so it seems to have a lot of variety to it.

 

This song also feels a lot less busy in comparison to the last two. It’s a lot easier to parse the various basslines and melodies from one another. And yet, while it is easier to separate the melodies within my mind, they still move as a unified force throughout the song. Perhaps that’s due to the fact that none of the melodies are really arguing over one another. Sure, some melodies are more dominant than others at certain points, but there’s nothing really overshadowed. The main melodies of the song come from a variety of sources. There’s the main synth that shows itself at several points within the song and serves as the most consistent presence of beauty. And in addition to that there’s some strings that rise and fall in the second half, eventually bringing the song to a close. Plus, there’s a piano that graces the song with its presence in the center of the song. That piano is responsible for my favorite moment in the song.

 

That’s right. It’s another build-up from nothing. The very first build-up from nothing to reach my ears. And I was immediately in love. All of the different instruments unite here with very little influence from the drums. And like, I said, none of them feel like they’re hogging the spotlight from the others. It’s quite impossible to really figure out how to explain how much this section affects my soul as it reaches Angelic levels of beauty (and I’m referring to both the general adjective as well as the song from Exodus). This is simply one of my favorite build-ups in all of Andy Hunter’s discography.

 

While Christine’s vocals are slightly outshined by that build-up, they still do deserve a mention. You may remember her from Amazing on the last album (she was the one to start off the female vocal half in the middle of the album). Here, her performance is exceptionally better. Her voice has a better chance of drawing me in to a state of calmness. In a way, her own voice can be included as one of the many instruments as her vocals don’t distract from the rest of the song, but she’s not overshadowed by the instrumental either. She’s merely another facet to the beauty that this song encapsulates. The lyrics she sings share a similar theme as they do with amazing. It’s a love song to God (though if you’re not into that thing, it could be heard as a nonsecular love song if you so desire). I don’t have any specific lyrics to point out, so we’ll be moving on.

 

Andy Hunter & Kate Westwall – Wonderful (7.75): Wonderful is the slowest paced song on this album, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most beautiful and relaxing. Alive already stole that spot. However, a slower song doesn’t have to be exceptionally beautiful and relaxing in order to be good. Wonderful is actually a wonderful example of that.

 

There is still some beauty to this track. Good use of strings as well as a tropical drumbeat throughout the song. Also really love, the guitar that’s played throughout the song. Not sure if this comparison will really resonate with my audience, but it does somewhat remind me of the type of guitar you’d hear in a lot of popular worships songs a decade or so ago. Lastly, there’s Kate’s lyricless vocals (she’ll contribute to the lyrics later), which give some final touches on the chill atmosphere created at the start of the song. However, many of the instruments introduced later somewhat conflict with this relaxation. Thankfully, it’s not badly executed like Show was. There’s no real interference between the two vibes. The song merely transforms into an ever so slightly more energetic mood.

 

Now, this slightly more energetic mood is mainly the work of some other synths that feel a little less natural than what I’ve shown so far. This is where the electronic comes in. Two synths here give this song a bit of bounce. There’s the more quickly paced beeping tone melody that’s only present for the chorus, and what sounds to be a synth made of a distorted vocal (you know me and distorted vocals, or you will, I haven’t quite gotten to that era of Infected Mushroom yet). That second synth is the better of the two and it has a more prominent role overall. In the first half of these bouncier sections it just plays a short note here and there along with the other synth, but after that it focuses on much longer notes that soar along with the guitar, creating the most iconic moments of the song in my opinion.

 

Now, once this slightly energetic transformation does occur, it is nice to see that it isn’t permanent. There are several points where the pure soothing tropical vibe comes back in without the electronic distractions, most notably in the final iteration of the chorus (which also features Kate as a vocalist so neat).

 

Speaking of the lyrics, this song once again seems to be a love song. It’s a bit simpler in comparison to Alive. Only four lines:

 

You are beautiful

You’re the reason why

So wonderful

You make me high

 

That last lyric is a bit odd in my opinion. Perhaps it’s the fact that I know that Andy Hunter is a Christian artist and he likely wouldn’t intentionally try to reference drugs within his music, seeing as that’s what the state of “being high” is often referred to. It’s probably simply meaning a state of emotion that’s supposedly akin to feeling high on drugs. High on love perhaps.

 

Andy Hunter & Neil Wilson – Lifelight (9.75): This song right here is surely the most nostalgic for me. Of the original sixteen songs I’d discovered at first, this is the one that stood out the most. This is the one I listened to on loop for hours upon hours. This is the one that was once my favorite song of all time. While that title has been usurped by several other songs since then, it still holds its own against the works of the hundreds of artists I’ve discovered over the years.

 

So, what is it about Lifelight that kept me coming back? It’s simply how powerful the music is. Alive may be more beautiful sure, and that song holds a special place in my heart as well as the song that started it all, but Lifelight is quite close in comparison to that level of beauty. And then it wins in other categories of musical superiority. Alive’s beauty relied a lot on its more relaxing immersive vibe (despite being the same BPM as the more energetic songs preceding it). Lifelight completely ignores the relaxation. Sure, there’s a build-up from nothing near the end of the song that maintains a temporarily chill atmosphere, but for the most part, Lifelight goes in the opposite direction. It’s energizing drive might not be as intense as Come On’s heavy hitting energy, but instead maintains a better balance, allowing that beauty to seep through.

 

While Alive and Lifelight may differ on how energizing they are, the two songs do share a not so secret weapon: the piano. While Alive used it as the focal instrument in its fantastic build-up from nothing, Lifelight integrates it in the song from the very beginning as the first melodic instrument and its presence persists throughout the entire song. It’s more noticeably present in the calmer verse sections, but that’s only because there’s not nearly as many instruments overshadowing it. By the time we get to the magnificent chorus of the song, the piano does have to drop down a few octaves in order to be heard over everything else and in doing so It changes from beauty to powerful. And seeing as Lifelight isn’t going to beat Alive in the beauty category, going for powerful is the correct choice

 

But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s take a step back. If I go straight to talking about the powerful verses, I’ll miss out on those great guitars in the second verse. Oh, they’re only there for a second but they do a great job of accompanying the pianos and helping the song reach its quick build-up into the fantastic chorus that serves as the heart of the song.

 

And oh, what a chorus. Each chorus begins with a quick drumbeat accelerating the song from the lesser sections, highlighting the dynamic difference between the verses and the chorus. The piano, as mentioned before, transforms into a powerful chord that resonates throughout the chorus. But I think it’s the strings that really take this chorus to the next level. There are soaring notes that play along with the chord progression, but more importantly are the lower notes. The lower notes constantly chanting underneath it all. The lower notes that take that piano’s resonance and accentuating it with the rolling notes. Those lower notes.

 

I would be a fool not to mention the build-up from nothing this song has. They get better and better as the album progresses (though Alive might be an anomaly as it’s better than the buildup from this and the last song). Still, this build-up does see a return of the softer piano, up a few octaves from the chords that have been struck for the past few minutes in order to be heard over the rest of the majesty. But in this build-up, they can keep up with the strings and the slower drumbeat without sacrificing their higher octave beauty. The buildup is a relatively short one, so it doesn’t take long to get right back into that energetic chorus that’s the heart and soul of this song. It’s still one of the best parts of the song though.

 

Lyrics of Andy Hunter songs are relatively inconsequential to my enjoyment these days. However, I feel that this one has a bit more of an emotional personal appeal to it that many of the other songs don’t quite obtain. Several of the songs in Andy Hunter’s discography are rather simple in lyrical concept. It’s your everyday worship song, but electronic. It’s a love song to God that’s electronic. It has a phrase or two with Christian themes in it… and it’s electronic. I feel like compared to all of these songs, Lifelight is a bit more fleshed out. Lifelight is about the light that shines out in the darkness of this world. Lifelight is about breaking through the death that preys on us all and embracing the life that we have in our hands. Lifelight is about the constant discovery of God’s glory as the world continues to surprise us with new forms of beauty. Lifelight is life itself, a light in the darkness.

 

Andy Hunter & Kate Westwall – To Life, To Love (8.5): The sirens sound as we transition from Lifelight to this last song. We’re at the finale. Kate Westwall returns from Wonderful to participate in the most technological song of the bunch. Definitely a step up from her first feature on the album despite how wonderful it was. It’s a step down from the majesty that is Lifelight but it still makes for a much better finale to the album than Intercessional did.

 

The sirens give way to a distant but powerful drumbeat. Then the growing ambience that creates an immersive atmosphere as the song begins to rise. Then the ticking of a clock as we countdown to the point where the beat truly drops in. Kate’s voice echoing a simple ditty of meaningless (but slightly catchy) syllables. And then it happens. The beat comes in.

 

This beat in this song is quite bouncy with a melodic tone hitting on the offbeat whenever possible. Combine that with perhaps a drumbeat that’s a bit harsher than the rest of the songs on the album and the contrast between the two really stands out. This offbeat tone serves as the basis for the rest of the instruments in this song. There are plenty of technological synths that stand out from the rest of the album, straying the line between melodic and simply rhythmic. It gives the song a unique feeling that works well with the bouncy bassline. Oh, and speaking of basslines, there’s another bass to this song, specifically a guitar strumming beneath the rest. That guitar serves as the main source of energy for the rest of the song.

 

The most memorable melody is the one that appears on either end of the build-up from nothing (which I always will inevitably talk about). It always makes me want to swing my arms around in circles for some reason. I can be a bit strange with my relationship between music and dancing sometimes. There’s plenty of other instruments and melodies that help flesh out the song a bit more, but these are the ones I felt needed the most highlighting.

 

And, as per usual, we have the build-up from nothing that I love Andy Hunter so much for. This is my second favorite on the album just after Alive. Here at the midpoint of the song, all the energy fades away except for one arp and a variety of strings that dance up and down in pitch for the first few seconds. They disappear in favor for the best moment of Kate’s vocals in the entire album. No lyrics, just beauty rising up and down as everything around her builds back up towards the energy that was lost. There’s a subtle melody in there that I like if I’m paying close enough attention. Otherwise it gets lost in the slightly syncopated drumbeat that makes itself present for this particular section of the song. Everything here works together nearly perfectly. Which is why this build-up is the second best on the album. Only thing holding it back from the top spot is that Alive’s build-up actually is perfect.

 

The lyrics in this one are a bit odd. First verse seems to make repeated references to the Garden of Eden, the original paradise that God had created before the fall of mankind. It might also represent the afterlife in heaven which is likely a paradise similar to the Garden. Could possibly just be the highest moments in life on Earth as one receives those glimpses of heavenlike beauties here in the present. It’s a bit cryptic and tricky to figure out but it is certainly referencing some sort of paradise and the wonderful life that arises from it. The second verse focuses deeper on the overwhelming desire to partake in this paradise, though it really almost sounds like a drug addiction… that’s the second time this album. Huh.

 

Well in an effort to make sure not to end this review on a druggy note. Let’s take a look at the chorus. Real simple stuff there. Not too much to talk about. There’s a lot of talk of unity either among an entire congregation of people or between two particular people (man and God I presume?). In the past, I’ve often opted for the former interpretation, but the second option is suddenly becoming equally likely in my view. Not really sure how to look at the song now. Well except for the fact that it’s a solid song. It’s quite a solid song. There. I said it. End Review.

 

Conclusion: Comparatively speaking, Life started out rough, but then it got better. You could interpret that as a statement on the actual life we’re living right now, but it works for this album too. Of course, I said comparatively as the “rough” in this case was Open My Eyes, which in reality is a good song. It’s just that everything that followed was clearly superior. Could the album have been improved if Open My Eyes was dropped? Maybe. But it doesn’t need much improving anyways as this proves to be the nostalgic highlight of Andy Hunter’s entire career for me. Songs like Alive and Lifelight definitely hold a special place in Andy Hunter’s discography for me as they’re my first and favorite songs from his. Maybe it’s just my nostalgic bias, but this was his peak in my opinion. Oh, he has plenty more good music to review later, but it doesn’t get quite as good as this one.

 

Final Score: (8.5/10)

Andy Hunter – Exodus (2002 Album)

Album links

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: n/a

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0kfUvTWsUJnIkCDj1zkDLS?si=jXpT6Ns-TzSq_iRfYevbXg

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_nqiT5K2O0UP2K9BxQd-DuEB83N5sTdqyM

 

Introduction: What’s this a new artist? You may have thought I’d be reviewing the same three artists for all eternity seeing as that has been the pattern for the first couple months of this blog, but now that it’s March, perhaps I can venture a bit further into some other favorite artists of mine (this March line was more profound when the review was scheduled to be released on March 1 but oh well. Still the first review of March).

 

Andy Hunter… This is extremely nostalgic for me. Maybe a bit too nostalgic… You see, Andy Hunter was the very first. The very first artist that I heard that made me want to delve into electronic music. He was my number one artist for quite some time. However, seeing as I’m only now getting to him, I clearly consider him to have backslid a bit (Mind.in.a.box is currently winning, recently stole that spot from Infected Mushroom). Will I have some bias in this review? Well, music is incredibly subjective so I have some bias by default, but I will admit that these songs may have some emotional connection as I’ve been listening to this guy for nearly a decade now while most of my other favorite artists only reached my ears in the past five years or so. Regardless of my likely skewed ratings, I’m happy to share this piece of my childhood (early teens still counts as childhood yes?) with you.

 

However, before I get started, I do want to note one last thing about Andy Hunter. He is the rare occurrence of a Christian DJ/electronic artist. And because of this, a lot of his songs have subtle religious messages in them. There may be some who disagree, but having a Christian background, I can somewhat enjoy the messages I hear within these songs (though I am more prone to edgier music these days. I’ve grown to be somewhat of an agnostic to be honest). Really just wanted to give that context here and now before we got into any “lyrical analysis” (not much to speak of in this album when it comes to lyrics).

 

Andy Hunter – Go (7.5): Andy Hunter always does a fantastic job of introducing his albums. From Exodus to Glow (The Presence Project is a whole different animal so I’m ignoring that for now), each album/EP starts out with an energetic upbeat track to get the blood pumping. From there, the rest of the album ranges from mostly high energy songs, to the occasional more relaxing track.

 

Go is one of these opener songs (which was obvious from the get-go seeing as it’s the first song on the album but bear with me). The first couple minutes are admittedly calmer, but in a way, that only makes the rest of the song all the more energizing. Instead of throwing the listener directly into the energetic breakbeat tempo that makes up the majority of this track, the song begins with a simple heartbeat. And as that heartbeat plays onward, synchronizing your own heartbeat with the tempo, a stringed melody slowly builds along with some vocal synths as the song slowly builds up to its full potential

 

And then after a couple of record scratches and an echoing cry of the song’s title, that energetic breakbeat kicks in. Andy reintegrates those strings from the build-up into this more energetic portion and introduces some groovy basslines and computerized vocals (along with some other melodies and textures, but I find them to be less important compared to that bassline and the vocals so I’m only mentioning them in parentheses).

 

The bassline pretty much speaks for itself. It gets its own spotlight at the tail end of the build-up before the drums take over and they’re demoted to the background. I will admit that the bass isn’t flawless in this track. The main groove definitely works, but there are some points in the song where extra elements are added on that I don’t appreciate nearly as much. The part that stands out the most is that higher pitched note that sounds like it’s part of the bassline. It’s first introduced at 2:20 and it kind of feels out of place. The rest of the song fits quite well together, not perfectly, but not noticeably bothersome like the high-pitched bass note I just mentioned. The continuation of the strings as the song progresses is really what holds this all together (also the main groovy bass that isn’t an octave or two too high).

 

As for the vocals, they’re pretty simplistic. I don’t have much to discuss when it comes to any of the three lines, this song has to offer. There “Go,” the singular word that serves as a namedrop of the song’s title. There’s the line “Release Yourself,” which serves as the better half of the moment occurring at the 2:20 mark. Really not much to go off of there. And then there’s the chant “Born to Worship. Birth the Freedom,” which is the most cryptic of the three lines. Those first two looked pretty meaningless on their own, but this one deserves at least a bit of an extra look.

 

“Born to Worship, Birth the Freedom” can be translated to the sentiment of dedicating one’s life to worshipping God, finding freedom through doing so. Rather simple message and I can see some truth behind it as I know many who find peace through religion. I don’t believe that religion is fully perfect, and that it can be abused to hurt others (which I frown upon greatly), but if it brings peace, then I can’t help but respect that.

 

Overall, Go is a pretty good opener. It’s by no means perfect, definitely has some flaws, but it’s a good beginning to a good album.

 

Andy Hunter & Lyle Day – Wonders of You (8.25): So now that Go has established the breakbeat tempo that the first third of this album relies on, Wonders of You doesn’t bother itself with two-minute of build-up to reestablish itself. It does take about thirty seconds for that beat to fully establish itself, but compared to the two minutes of peace that began in Go, these thirty seconds have a lot more energy. Not saying that makes this intro better or worse. Just noting the difference.

 

One other thing to note as we move on from Go to Wonders of You is the transition. Exodus is an album that prides itself on flowing from one song to the next seamlessly. If it weren’t for the fact, that I knew this album so well (Been listening to it for a decade), I might not even notice as we transition from one song to the next. This transition is a bit less interesting than some of the later ones, as it relies on nothing but shared ambience. Still, I think it’s a noteworthy element to experiencing this album.

 

Enough about the first thirty seconds of the song! What about the other 7 minutes? I’d say that this tune is an improvement over the majority of Go (Go did have a beautiful start). The bassline is much smoother as it climbs up and down throughout the song. And unlike Go, which had some less pleasant accompaniments to that bassline. Every instrument in this song blends quite well with each other. And there are so many little tidbits in there, that it’s hard to point out the best ones. This might not be as highly rated as Walking or Redefined from previous Mind.in.a.box reviews, but I think that this song still deserves at least a short bullet point list of the best elements you can find in here.

  • Lyle Day jumping in there right at the 1-minute mark with an insanely energetic rap. More about the lyrics for this one later. He’s got some good wordplay between the words cross and fade in here.
  • Not ten seconds later, there’s a subtle little synth that sound like echoing water droplets.
  • And a minute after that at 2:10, we’ve got that quick little build-up that works as a transition to introduce the first short appearance of strings (which offer nice variety by the way). The same thing happens around the 3:40 mark and it’s just as good the second time around.
  • This simple five-note melody introduced at about 2:40 is the main melody of the song (odd how it appeared so late), Other than Lyle, this is the most memorable part of the song to me.
  • The way Lyle says “Fire” and “Desire” at 4:45 just stands out to me for some reason. That is all.
  • The outro is mostly there to transition into Radiate, but I do enjoy how it sounds as the key changes (plus that last synth introduced at the end has a great distorted vocal vibe to it, which now reminds me of Infected Mushroom oddly enough).

 

The true star of the show is definitely Lyle and his two verses. Bouncing right off of Go’s declaration that we are “born to worship,” Wonders of You is a rapid-fire unconventional worship song. This isn’t a hymn, that’s for sure. Lyle only spends about 40 seconds of the song rapping, but man does he jam pack those 40 seconds with praise. I’m not the biggest fan of rap but I used to abhor it. And yet, I’ve always enjoyed Lyle’s verses. Maybe I was just enjoying the album in its entirety, but I believe they still hold up even though the album has taken a couple steps down in my general taste.

 

Some last-minute notes on the lyrics, I do quite enjoy that wordplay between cross and fade in the first verse as well as the energy behind fire and desire in the second verse (but I already mentioned that). I found it interesting that some of the lyrics in that second verse, there’s some references to the events within the book of Exodus, the book likely behind the name of this album. God appeared as both a burning bush and a pillar of fire to Moses and the Israelites. And there was a lot of wandering in the desert for about 40 years. Small things, but I find them interesting.

 

Andy Hunter – Radiate (8.75): Now this is a much better seamless transition. Not relying on ambience this time. Instead, Radiate starts with the same exact beat that Wonders of You ended with and incorporates elements of the previous song within its introduction. That main five-note melody? You can still hear it for about thirty seconds before it fades out completely. How about vocals? Well, maybe I’m just going crazy, but I think I hear someone repeatedly saying “wonder” in that intro. Doesn’t sound exactly like the vocals in Wonders of You, but that could be because Wonders of You had some more distortion on that chorus.

 

But that’s just the transition, the first minute of the song. As the longest song on the album, we still have seven and a half to go. What does it have for us? Well there’s that trance drumbeat for starters. I think I’ve established well enough in my Infected Mushroom reviews that Trance has a great tempo, and while Andy Hunter is in no way psychedelic, there is a nice sliding feel between the snares on the second and fourth beats. Any BPM between 135 and 145 is an excellent drive. This song just barely reaches into the low end of that.

 

Anyways, enough rambling on and on about the little things (I sure do love going in depth this week). Perhaps I should talk about some highlights within this song. Radiate is one of those Journeys through Sound (initially and frequently mentioned in Infected Mushroom reviews). And because of that there is so many different moments I could look at within this song. I am going to have to leave a few out as I have noticed I am getting a bit lengthy here in this review. I need to tone it down a notch.

 

Let’s have a little intermission with the lyrics before I continue on with my favorite elements of this song. Just switching things up a little. I shan’t be long here. Radiate appears to be focused on letting God into one’s self, his perfection permeating through the soul, shining brightly so that it shows throughout one’s life. And that’s all there is to say about that. The wording of it is a bit violent though. Radiation, Eradication. Burning. Very destructive words. Ah well on to the rest of the music

 

In addition to this song being a Journey through Sound, I also want to highlight another element I enjoy in several songs, Build-ups from Nothing. There are two points in the song where the beat completely drops out of the picture and all that remains is ambience and a simple melody. A calm in the middle of the storm if you will. But the silence doesn’t last forever. It can’t. But it wouldn’t do to suddenly interrupt this soothing calmness either. So instead, the song builds upon that calm beginning. Slowly but surely, the song returns to its past power. The two build-ups included with this song are rather similar to each other in form. Both start with that ambience. Both have a similar melody. Both introduce the sliding snares part way through (before introducing the kicks). The only real difference is that the first one has a piano at the beginning, meaning the electronic melody has to battle with the piano for the spotlight (piano obviously wins). However, the piano is absent from the second build-up allowing the other melody to have a chance in the spotlight (after getting creamed by that piano). Well, both build-ups are amazing (no pun intended considering the next song) and definitely stand as my favorite parts of the song.

 

Before I move onto the next song, I want to quickly highlight a few more little parts of the song that I feel deserve noting. First off, there’s that bass that introduces itself midway through the song after the second Build-up from Nothing. It definitely overtakes the song at that point, giving it a slightly harsher feel as it throbs along with the beat. Another thing that I enjoy in this song is the strings. They don’t reach the same levels as the beginning of Go, but they are quite good. They serve mostly as transitions into those Build-ups from Nothing (A lot of what I love about this song seems to center around those) and at the end of the song as we prepare for Amazing.

 

Andy Hunter & Christine Glass – Amazing (7.75): Amazing kind of breaks the seamless transition that this album has. There’s a moment of silence at the end of Radiate which means that it doesn’t matter what Amazing starts with. It has nothing to work with. Ah well. The introduction still does share some similarities with the conclusion of Radiate. Both feature a heavy amount of strings. Both are at a very similar BPM (though Amazing takes a little while to get started so that BPM isn’t immediately apparent). I guess that counts somewhat as a transition, but it’s the least interesting transition on the album if so.

 

Amazing has vocals though. Not slightly filtered vocals from Andy Hunter himself. No, these vocals come from Christine Glass. This song and the four after it make up what I’m going to call the female vocal half of the album. Each of them features a different female vocalist, though some are less integral to the song than others. For this song, Christine Glass is definitely integral. Her soft vocals are smooth as glass (pun definitely intended) and are definitely the most memorable part of the song. The strings come as a close second, but they blend in so well with Glass’s vocals that I almost think of them as an extension of that beauty. Whenever the strings are present, I have a tendency to ignore all the other instruments as they simply can’t compare. There’s a good bassline, and a couple little melodic touches (though the main melody is kind of eh). Overall, the music of this song works well enough. Maybe, a balance could be given so that other instruments mattered more, but there’s nothing in there that I outright dislike so that’s a plus (the next song won’t be as fortunate).

 

Lyrically, this song isn’t as religiously focused as some of the other tracks on the album. It do believe the intention was to be a song focusing on experiencing the majesty of God’s power, allowing us to experience things beyond our comprehension. But without the context of Andy Hunter’s tendency to write song’s religiously, it sounds more like a love song. I don’t mind either way, but as of this point in my life, I’m not really drawn to either option either.

 

Andy Hunter & Michelle Prentice – Show (4.5): As Amazing ends with a whisper, it leads into Show, one of the calmer songs on the album. It is also the worst song on the album. Sorry for the harsh words, but even the best albums have to have a song that takes that spot. Ah well, let’s go backwards and talk about the lyrics first, because they’re relatively simple and I really would rather conclude my thoughts on this song by discussing a certain instrument…

 

Show me glory. That’s it. That’s pretty much all the lyrics. There is a bridge in the middle of the song which has Michelle saying a couple of lines about Opening one’s eyes and heart to God as well. But I don’t have much to say about those either. There that’s all of that. Wouldn’t that be a shame if I ended this particular summary with this lame paragraph about lyrics. On to the music!

 

I’d say a good half of the instruments in this song are beautiful and relaxing. The slow tempo works well for the relaxing mood, not to mention some of the moments that focus a little more on ambience. As for vocals, most lyrics are said with a whisper. The female vocals in the background are a nice touch, both the clean unedited version and the more synthetic choir that is added in from time to time. The bridge is a sight bit strange, but I do feel like it makes a good centerpiece to the song. If only the rest of the song was like this…

 

The bassline doesn’t fit. It has a nice long rolling feel to it, and I would consider it to be one of the better parts of the song, but it doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the relaxing stuff. But that doesn’t compare to the screechy synth that is completely out of place. It first appears at 2:17 and I find it to be quite annoying. But the real nail in the coffin is just a tiny little beep. I’ve looked across countless versions of the song hoping the beep was just a glitch but no. It’s there and it ruins an otherwise decent song. Am I perhaps complaining a bit too much? Maybe. But this little beep breaks the song in a jarring manner. I find it to be a bother every time it interrupts the otherwise smooth experience and gives me a slight bit of a headache. If it were absent, this song might get a higher score, but this song is a disgrace to the rest of the album anyway.

 

Andy Hunter & Cathy Burton – Translucent (7.25): While Show could have been the most relaxing song on the album, it ended up flopping spectacularly as Andy Hunter’s worst. And so instead we have Translucent as the most relaxing song on the album. And it is a major improvement. Everything here is pure relaxation, no weird trippy divisive instruments and absolutely no annoying beeping. This song is truly a beauty to listen to. If Show’s main goal was to beg for glory to be shown, then Translucent does just that by taking the ambience from show and building it into a glorious introduction.

 

Much of the song is simply ambience fading in and out throughout the verses. It’s not exceptionally interesting, but Cathy’s vocals (which are the best vocals on the album) do well to prevent the lack of variety from becoming a bore (there’s not even any drums here). The chorus is a bit better with adding some stuff in there. There are some very subtle drums as well as a simple melody added in there and it thankfully works well with the relaxing vibe the rest of the song has, which is more than I can say for Show (which I apparently love to hate seeing how often I mention it). The only instrument that I could possibly consider unfitting is the more electronic synth used in the final chorus and the outro. But it’s used subtly and doesn’t interrupt the glorious feeling so much as it adds some variety and some transitioning into the next song. This whole track is a much better example of Andy Hunter’s chiller side (the side he’s devoted his time to in recent years with his Presence Project).

 

The lyrical content in this one is quite intimate. The whole concept is opening one’s self to God showing your entire soul and self to him as he washed away the sin that mucks up our life. The chorus is where this concept is most explored while the verses focus a little more on God’s incredible majesty and glory. And then there’s the bridge which mentions Angelic sounds filling the air. Speaking of Angelic sounds…

 

Andy Hunter & Alisa Girard – Angelic (8.5): That final synth I mentioned in the last song brings us into Angelic, our first nonlyrical song of this album. Plenty of gorgeous vocals from Alisa but not a single word is voiced. This song is a transition back into the more upbeat music that I prefer from Andy Hunter, at least for this album, but it is also the most beautiful song this album has to offer.

 

Angelic has two main focuses, the piano and the vocals. Sure, the other instruments in there have some presence too. You can’t have a good drive without a good drumbeat and the strings and ambience definitely do some solid background work to add to the beauty that the main stars of the show create, but those main stars are definitely the vocals and the piano. And how can I describe their beauty and why this is one of the best tracks on the album? I’ve pondered how to explain it for a good while now, but there isn’t a way to explain it other than tell you how gorgeous it is. It’s impossible to really go into detail because this track is a simple beauty.

 

Part of me feels like somewhat of a failure of a reviewer for being unable to review this lovely song, but really, it’s something you have to experience for yourself. Just know that it’s beautiful.

 

Andy Hunter & Tasia Tjornhom – Sandstorm Calling (8.5): Not to be confused with Darude – Sandstorm.

 

This song right here is an absolute classic. I understand that a lot of these songs are great classics to me even though Andy Hunter is a slight bit more obscure than some other electronic artists from the time. He was my childhood though and this was once my favorite song from him. My opinions have shifted slightly but this still remains to be one of the most nostalgic songs for me. Other than Tasia’s occasional vocal this song is fully instrumental, and to be perfectly honest, since Tasia only has a small note here and there (no lyrics), I could probably count her as an instrument herself if I felt like it, making this the most instrumental song on the album.

 

But this song doesn’t need vocals to be one of the greatest songs on the album. Right from the start the song transitions smoothly from angelic with a heart pounding drumbeat shared between the ending and beginning of the two songs respectively. And when I say heart pounding, I mean it literally. This drumbeat sounds like a combination of a heartbeat and some heavy breathing and it has the same effect as the drumbeat from Go at the beginning of the album, except this time that heart is pounding a little bit faster. Also, it comes back into play a couple more times in the song where Go’s heartbeat only really mattered for the intro.

 

The most prominent and memorable part of this song would have to be the horns that play the main melody. It’s not so prominent that it feels overused, but it is definitely the clear motif of the song if it has one. Besides the most obvious iterations of the melody shown at 1:27, 2:36 and 5:37, there are several subtler points where the melody is used. From fairly obvious parts such as the fractions of the melody played in the song’s introduction to slightly more hidden points such as the quieter melody underlying the song whenever we aren’t in full melody mode (or build-up from nothing mode but I’ll get to that). Everything else the song has to offer, the basslines, the strings and Tasia’s vocals, contribute to the mystical feeling this song presents to me. Nothing feels out of place. Everything works together.

 

My favorite part of the song, of course, has to be the build-up from nothing. After the second chorus of the motif melody we reach the midpoint of the song and as I’ve explained in previous songs with a Build-up from Nothing, everything drops out. The drumbeat, the melody, the bassline. All of it. Nothing remains. Well, almost nothing. Andy Hunter leaves a bit of ambience in there to work with as he refreshes the rest of instruments over time. There’s a few notes that sound like water droplets in the beginning which I love as they kind of remind me of a cave. In a way, it kind of helps me visualize the rest of the song with this short portion taking shelter from a cave in the middle of a tortuous sandstorm before the safehaven collapses. I have a vivid imagination when it comes to some of these songs, pretty sure I used to visualize a music video for this entire album when I was younger, this is the only part I remember though.

 

I got distracted. Let’s talk about these strings for a second. The way they’re introduced really is the heart of this build-up and the remainder of the song following it. They don’t gradually introduce themselves with a rising crescendo (unless you consider the ambience to be an introduction to the strings, though I’m pretty sure that ambience is made up of the sweeping notes of a bass (the actual stringed instrument, not just a general term for low notes). These higher strings begin at full volume along with some cinematic drumbeats to accompany them. As the stings build- growing more intense, eventually playing a quicker melody, other elements of the song are introduced and reintroduced. A new bassline joins in first followed by a return to that literally heat pounding drumbeat from the beginning. And all the while there is a slight nod to the main melody (albeit this iteration is played a bit lower so it sounds quite different in tone).

 

And after that build-up concludes itself, the song returns to its usual tempo and energy. This time highlighting those strings as the star of the show, once again letting them develop in a similar manner, starting off slowly and then shifting the notes around bit more rapidly as the song progresses. And with one last iteration of that motif melody chorus, we have a fantastic closure to a fantastic song.

 

And so, concludes the five female vocal songs of the album. Only two more to go.

 

Andy Hunter – Strange Dream (8.25): These last few songs on the album transition quite well between each other. Sandstorm Calling ends with a rising scream that drops right back into the breakbeat style we had at the beginning of the album. Strange Dream is a return to where we started and, living up to its name, it’s definitely one of the stranger songs on the album. Unlike the last couple of songs, this song returns to having lyrics, but if there’s a message behind them I can’t seem to figure it out at all. There’s a dream. It’s strange and funny. Only way I can think of this working biblically is one of the many stories of dream interpretations. Only problem is… none of these appear in Exodus so I really can’t tell you how that connects. Maybe Andy over here just had a strange and funny dream one time and felt inspired to build a song around the concept.

 

What’s the dream about? Well there’s so few lyrics, I’m afraid I can’t tell you. It’s strange and funny, I can tell you that much, but the rest of the vocals don’t give much information to work with (if any information at all). As soon as the song begins, you’ve got two lines: “You wasted basics for that, dude” and “Down, sit down, See you down.” What do they mean? Who knows! My guess is that our man Andy here has a subconscious self-criticism of how he continues to waste the basic elements of his life on… something… Also, he forces himself to sit down to try and ponder this self-criticism he has. Am I looking too deep into this and almost certainly misinterpreting any meaning Andy has for us (if anything)? Yeah. Pretty sure I am. Am I self-projecting? I don’t know possibly. Self-criticism seems to be a problem of mine, but I didn’t actually put much thought into this theory. I sort of just vomited out the first existential possibility that came to my head when looking at these either cryptic or random lyrics. Maybe my subconscious is the one we need to look into…

 

Ok, well regardless, of how vaguely I try to analyze these lyrics, the penultimate song of Exodus does have some pretty good music on it. After the introduction is done about a minute in, the song returns to four on four, which I find to be a bit disappointing (Syncopation is such a pleasure of mine). Still, the conventional drumbeat doesn’t interfere with the rest of the song. There’s some great bass design throughout, be it the harsh funky notes in the intro, the nearly arpeggiated pattern that plays for most of the song or the cleaner lower synth that joins in around the three-minute mark (though to be fair this could count as a melody).

 

This song divides itself into two different vibes. There’s the upbeat vibe that takes up the majority of the song and a couple of calmer breaks at each third-way mark in the song. I’ve already talked extensively about the former when it comes to the basslines as that’s the most prominent focus there. There is a synth that I haven’t mentioned that has a nice swing to it and plays the main melodies of the upbeat four on four areas of the song. Plus, there’s a couple of points in the song where an extra instrument is layered on top of the arpeggiated bass to give it a much-welcomed accent.

 

The latter of these two vibes is the calm between the storms (not sandstorms, that was the last song). The song takes two short breaks to strip away the kicks and basslines from the song, creating a more relaxing environment focusing more extensively on melody and strings.  There’s a chilling main melody in here that gives me extra nostalgic vibes for some reason (even more nostalgic than the usual Andy Hunter and I honestly don’t even remember it somehow so there’s definitely something fishy going on in my subconscious music memory). Regardless, I enjoy these two portions of the song the best. I wouldn’t say they’re build-ups from nothing, but at the end of each one “Strange and funny dream,” tends to get me a smile. I especially get a kick out of the “straaaaaaaange andfunnydream” at the end of the first calmer portion. As strange (and funny) as they are, these vocals are definitely the selling point on this song.

 

Andy Hunter – Intercessional (7.25): Final transition of the album smoothly leads us into Intercessional with a bassline not all that different from the main one in Strange Dream. It’s a bit higher in pitch, but the rhythm is quite similar (though I think I prefer Strange Dream’s). However, this bassline is only important half of the time in this song as Andy continuously switches back and forth between the already mentioned bassline and a second rhythmic bassline introduced about a minute in, which I find to be a bit smoother. I prefer the latter of these to be honest. That smoother vibe is definitely better in my opinion.

 

As for the rest of the song, I’m not all that impressed. It’s still a good song but compared to all of the other stuff we’ve seen in this album. The singular melody that this song seems to have isn’t especially interesting except for the ending of it’s first iteration where we spend a small few seconds with that syncopated drumbeat. Some of the best few seconds of the song, though the rest of the melody just doesn’t carry the song very well.

 

After those few seconds of breakbeat, the song does reach a calm as it prepares for a small build-up from nothing. There’s a decent choir introduced in there (which is used throughout the remainder if the song which is a welcome bit of variety), and the breakbeat drums do continue as the song builds up. Some good subtle touches here and there make the build-up work quite well It’s nowhere near as remarkable as the build-ups in Go, Radiate and Sandstorm Calling, but beating those songs is a tall order anyway.

 

As for the lyrics, there’s not really much deep to go into. The song is called intercessional. An intercessional is a prayer. The song is about prayer. The song is about an intercessional. It’s all pretty self-explanatory.

 

Overall, this is a pretty weak closer for the album. The song is good and all, but it doesn’t reach the same heights as many of the other songs on the album.

 

Conclusion: that review was a lot longer than I’d expected it to be. A good half of the songs had full on essays of things to talk about which might be a bit excessive (even my Mind.in.a.box reviews are shorter than this and they have more songs plus a whole narrative to deal with). Regardless, I definitely enjoyed immersing myself into the intricacies of Andy Hunter’s early works. The album does have some flaws (take a look at Show, his worst song), but overall, it’s been a great nostalgic experience working on this review. As much as I had to say in the body of this review, this conclusion is pretty short. I guess I already summed it all up.

 

Final Score: (7.75/10)

Daily Hat Track Roundup: February 2019

It was here that Tuesday Newsday ended, but we don’t talk about that. This is just the February Daily Hat Track roundup post. Nothing more.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 1 (King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Cyboogie): Cyboogie walks a surprisingly thin line between a fun groovy vibe an oddly ominous vibe slinking along I’m the background.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 2 (Kick Bong – This Charming Violin (TPOT remix): End of a long unfortunately unproductive day. So today I’ll just mention the song having a food vibe and some beautiful violins and female vocals. It truly is quite a lovely track.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 3 (Ashbury Heights – Spiders): Remember the all too edgy Ashbury Heights album from a couple weeks ago? Here’s a song that’s a step in the right direction of edge. Actually the track that introduced me to the duo (with revolving door of female vocalists).

 

Daily Hat Track: February 4 (Myndflame – Club Thrall): I didn’t get far into my Discovery Weekly due to download troubles but this song in particular had a good drive and variety to it. That’s about all I have to say about it at the moment though.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 5 (Electric Universe, Hilmar & Chico – Rockers and Rollers): The moment I see an Electric Universe song I think psytrance. The moment I see the song title referencing rock n roll I think kick-ass guitar sections. This song delivers on both counts and I love it.

 

Daily Hat Track; February 6 (Bliss & Alex Berserker – Warriors Guitar Mix): A couple days ago I shared a psytrance song with some rocking guitars. Well, today I’m sharing THE psytrance song with rocking guitars. This eleven minute experience is well with your time.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 7 (Infected Mushroom i-wish (Acoustic Live Remix)): Each time, I listen to this acoustic version of I Wish, I like it more and more. It used to be my least favorite from IM21 pt 1, but now it’s second favorite right behind Bliss’ remix of Bust a Move (which is unbeatable).

 

Daily Hat Track: February 8 (Mind.in.a.box – Amnesia): Today I’m just going to throw back the song that introduced me to my current favorite artist. Really pulled me into the computerized vocals and the existential themes. Probably one of my best musical discoveries of all time.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 9 (Infected Mushroom – Dancing with Kadafi): I’ve shared a lot of long songs as of late, but I consider this one to be the epitome of journeys through sound. It’s an absolute classic.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 10 (The Anix – TECHUNTER): Only just finished up Friday’s Release Radar and this nearly cinematic technological wonder was one of the last ones in the playlist. It’s also the best one in the playlist.

 

Daily Hat Track February 11 (Eisfabrik – Walking Towards the Sun): Actually got all the way through my Discovery Weekly in one day (which is rare). And this was bothering the grooviest and most inspiring of the bunch. It’s not often that you find such good futurepop with an uplifting vibe.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 12 (Mind.in.a.box – Redefined): I have no words right now or too many words. Either way, I’d forgotten how great this song is (definitely one of my all time favorites). Music and lyrics are dense with power and meaning and you should listen to it right now

 

Daily Hat Track: February 13 (Infected Mushroom – Frog Machine): Does this track make anyone else envision a giant monstrous frog throwing it’s little normal frog coworkers into a fiery furnace before usurping it’s boss that happens to be a corpse of bones lying in the corner? Just me? Ok.

 

Daily Hat Track : February 14 (Infected Mushroom – In Front of Me): Not much to say about this one. It’s just resonating a bit too much with me right now. Every line is filled with relatable existential anguish.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 15 (Worakls – Cloches): Worakls and his Hungry Music fellows are always a treat to listen to. Therefore this is one of my favorites of this week’s Release Radar.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 16 (Infected Mushroom – Return to the Suace): Here’s another song that makes me visualize a music video except this one makes less sense because it’s a sea voyage adventure involving a sea serpent and a time distortion device. My imagination is vividly random.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 17 (Infected Mushroom – Demons of Pain): I usually tend to listen to the remix from the Return to the Sauce album, but my love doe the existential original still holds today. I may have been listening to too much Infected Mushroom lately though.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 18 (Kick Bong (Progress in Happiness Remix)): Here’s a funky groove of happiness from Kick Bong for yesterday’s Daily Hat Track. Sleep schedule adjustment is making me forgetful.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 19 (Scatman John – U-turn): Didn’t really listen to Scatman when he was alive, but I have been enjoying his music for quite a few years nonetheless. This one about healing one’s soul with a new beginning is the most applicable to my life at the moment.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 20 (OVERWERK – Reign): I’ll admit I’m really only into this one for the bassline. It has a good groove overall, but the bassline is what makes it.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 21 (Infected Mushroom – Saeed): I already knew this was my favorite Infected Mushroom song, but after relistening to it today. It’s even better than I remember. Every moment in this track, be it lyrical or musical, is incredibly powerful.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 22 (Electric Universe – Dragonfly): Psytrance songs named after winged insects are good ok? What else is there to say?

 

Daily Hat Track: February 23 (Andy Hunter – Go): Andy Hunter was my first electronic artist. Go was his first song. If you’re guessing I have some nostalgia attached to this song, you couldn’t be more right.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 24 (Liquid Soul – Hypnotic Energy (Pitch Bend Remix): As I was scouring through this week’s Release Radar in search or tracks worthy of mentioning for Newsday Tuesday this fresh psytrance track proved to be the most worthy.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 25 (The Luna Sequence – Veil Walled Garden): Today’s Discover Weekly reminded me how awesome The Luna Sequence is at blending electronic and rock elements. All of her stuff definitely has an energetic vibe to it.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 26 (Andy Hunter – Sandstorm Calling): An Andy Hunter classic. One of the two nonlyrical songs on the Exodus album. Definitely feel some nostalgia listening to this.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 27 (Ayria – Feed Her to the Wolves): Isn’t it great when you discover an oddly catchy song during lunch and have to spend the rest your workday trying not to sing of how you had a woman eaten alive wolves and then displayed her body to intimidate your enemies?

 

Daily Hat Track: February 28 (Carpenter Brut – Paradise Warfare): Carpenter Brut is great but Carpenter Brut with a saxophone? Mmmmmmm

 

Remember to follow Twitter for a new Hat Trac every day and to take a look at the Daily Hat Track Playlist linked below.

 

https://open.spotify.com/user/beretbeats/playlist/4CIZYAQAzctqYqFG89HIv2?si=hzGhZDDaRV6bgotZiPxheA

 

One last thing. I wanted to apologize for missing the review last Friday. As I’d mentioned on twitter I ended up having to take the week off due to health issues but I’ll be putting extra effort into keeping on track for these reviews from now on (Getting rid of Tuesday Newsday should help

Daily Hat Track Roundup: January 2019

I’ve been posting these every day on Twitter for the past month so if you’re not following me yet, there’s a direct link in the menu if you simply scroll up. Or you could click on this one right here. Either will do. The wording of these short micro reviews may work better in a daily setting so this whole collection might seem a little disjointed but I’ll work on that tone a bit better as time progresses. Oh and at the bottom of this post I also have linked a playlist of all the 2019 Daily Hat Tracks so you can listen through that if you’d like.

 

https://twitter.com/BeretBeats

 

If you’ve already been following me for the past month, then this isn’t going to be much new content for you, but it’s a nice recap of what I’ve been listening to as of late.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 1 (Donbor – Backward): Discovered Donbor today. Fantastic discovery. I’m a bit mixed on some of his albums, but this album in particular and this song in particular is outstanding. Love the guitar in the beginning and everything else that follows

 

Daily Hat Track: January 2 (DROELOE – Looking Back (Manu Dia remix)): This remix stole the spot for today’s track minutes ago. Loved the original lyrics about the internal struggles of adulthood and this remix with music box vibes and the other melodies that greatly improved upon DROLOE’s style.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 3 (Durs – Redemption): Couldn’t hold myself back from posting psytrance for too long, now could I? This one’s got some exceptional basslines to keep me in the groove. Had a lit of fun with it on loop this evening.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 4 (Moby – Like a Motherless Child (Broken Places Remix)): Spotify’s Release Radar made sure to deliver this captivating remix to me. Broken Places does a better job of matching the emotion of the song’s lyrics than Moby himself. At least, that’s my preference.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 5 (Andy Hunter & Christine Glass – Amazing): Didn’t really discover much new music today, but that’s not gonna stop me from posting something. How about a classic? Andy Hunter was my biggest introduction to EDM and this is my current favorite song of his hailing from 2002.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 6 (The Avener & Ane Brun – To Let Myself Go): Beautiful tracks with a good drive are one of my weaknesses. Here’s a recent discovery of mine from that category. Listen carefully to every single element and instrument as you listen to this one. Because each one is a small part of a masterpiece.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 7 (Comaduster – Far From Any Road): This ominous entrancing track definitely caught my attention today. The tone of the song has nice unsettling feel to it. And the lyrics are even more unsettling so if you’re into that (I am) then make sure to give it a listen!

 

Daily Hat Track: January 8 (Ashbury Heights – November Corrosion): Embrace the break of day with yesterday still in motion

 

This song is actually about pulling an all nighter due to existential crisis. I’m posting it now because I forgotten to post a track last night so yesterday is still now.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 9 (Ecepta & Azaleh – Shadow Truths): It’s way too late for me to still be up so here’s a chill vibes Daily Hat Track that I heard today. Let us all read and rest in the shadows.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 10 (Ehrling – Groove): The main reason I live Ehrling’s stuff is the saxophone. The saxophone is likely one of my favorite instruments in existence. If you’re unaware of my love for the saxophone, then your ignorance of my saxophone loving shall soon fade away.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 11 (Torul – Ausverkauft – Frozen Plasma remix): My favorite track from today’s Release Radar is the great Futurepop synthwave combo that is this Frozen Plasma remix. Haven’t delved into the lyrics quite yet but the vibe is great regardless.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 12 (Infected Mushroom – Bust a Move): Classic Infected Mushroom song and totally not a hint at what album I’m reviewing next.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 13 (Lemon Jelly – 64 aka Go): This song is a journey in two ways. Firstly, the theme is about embarking on a lengthy journey so that’s that. Secondly, the variety within the song (especially the guitar at the end) makes it a journey through sound.

 

BONUS THREAD (worth the read I promise): https://twitter.com/BeretBeats/status/1084941640366804993

 

Daily Hat Track: January 14 (Justice – Planisphere): I’m not certain why Spotify decided to put a nearly eighteen minute song in my Discovery Weekly, but it was still well worth the time to listen to every last bit of it.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 15 (The Other Colors & Marie Mööre – Pretty Day (Remix): Today’s weird enough already so let’s add some more weird to it with this trippy edgy track with the cutest lady singing about how pretty death is as everything around her descends into madness.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 16 (Eddie Bitar & Psycrain – Vertical Poetry): Who wants more psytrance? I’m always wanting more psytrance. Eddie Bitar is a recent discovery of mine. His collabs with Psycrain are his best and this is the best of those so this is the best Eddie Bitar.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 17 (Bjørn Torske – Clean Air): Yeah, I know it’s the 18th but this is the track I meant to post yesterday and I’m sorry for being so late on it. But I ain’t gonna get stressed I’m gonna take a step back and breathe the clean air that is this beautiful track.

 

Daily Hat Track January 18 (Sean Tyas – Chrome): This week’s Release Radar was mostly a flop. This is the only one that really stands out to me. It may just be trance with pseudo-inspiring lyrics at the beginning but it’s good trance with pseudo-inspiring lyrics at the beginning

 

Daily Hat Track: January 19 (Sesto Sento – Louder): It’s getting louder and louder and louder and louder. It’s getting LoUdEr and LoUdEr and LoUdeR and LoUdEr. It’s getting LOUDER and LOUDER and LOUDER and LOUDER

 

Daily Hat Track: January 20 (Ehrling – Tequila): Is it cheating to do to Ehrling tracks in one month? Because this one has an even more energetic upbeat melody (plus more sax, always more sax, the EP is called Sax Art and it is flawless).

 

Daily Hat Track: January 21 (Ghost – He is (HEALTH remix): Today’s track has a slight bit of edge and despair to it. An emotion that might ward off some listeners but I’m definitely into it. Though as you may see this Friday, I have limits to how much edge I can take…

 

Daily Hat Track: January 22 (Henry Saiz & Band – Downfall (Overture): Great song about finding beauty within the inevitable chaos of this world while also focusing on the similarities and differences between what we dream of and what we see in reality. Plus the music is just plain ol’ good

 

Daily Hat Track: January 23 (Ashbury Heights – Penance): Finishing up Friday’s review so I haven’t listened to much else. Here’s a sneak peak of the edgiest review yet! Not the best song on the album because I’m leaving the best for later but there’s some good existentialism in here.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 24 (Etherwood – In Stillness):  What a beautiful album opener. Such a gorgeous track about slowing down in life to finally find peace.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 25 (Neelix – Mosquito (Interactive Noise remix): It got really late this Friday. Here’s a new remix of one of Neelix’s more creative songs with synths made of mosquitoes. It’s not quite as good as the original (this one is less subtle and not as majestic) but both are worth checking out.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 26 (Yanni, Marc Russell, David Scheuer & Tinatin Japordize – What You Get): Today’s track comes from a brand new discovery of mine, Yanni. Dude has a massive discography but I’ve only just brushed the surface with these genius piano melodies and the surrounding almost cosmic environment.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 27 (Royalston – Oscilla): DnB songs are always good. Take this Royalston track for example. The melodies in the middle of the song really have a soothing feel to them, but the variety the rest of the track offers is pretty great too.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 28 (The Anix – Mask): It can be quite easy to hide behind a mask. I sometimes wonder if I’m hiding under a mask even from myself (nonsense I know). Well, The Anix tackles masks in this song. If we wear a mask, what truly hides behind in the shadows?

 

Daily Hat Track: January 29 (Sesto Sento – Musik Make U Feel (Live mix)): So basically I listened to a bunch of music that would be fun to party to. Except I was working at the time so not really a party. But feel that musik. This and Louder are great tracks for getting in that partyin mood

 

Daily Hat Track: January 30 (Mind.in.a.box – The Dream): I go a little bit overboard with this guy’s stuff when reviewing. The story is real dense here so here’s a sneak peak at tomorrow’s review. Fittingly I chose the song, The Dream from the album Dreamweb.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 31 (Pendulum – Propane Nightmares): Sorry if today’s tracks seem a bit lazier. I’m trying to do my best to match the tone of each day (if that makes sense). I listened to a lot of Pendulum today and while this track isn’t a new discovery, it definitely is a classic.

 

https://open.spotify.com/user/beretbeats/playlist/4CIZYAQAzctqYqFG89HIv2?si=0ZHfkQeIQw6QhRE6vUVEmg