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)

Daily Hat Track Roundup: May 2019

As we transition into the months of summer and the whether finally starts to get nice where I live, it’s time to look back at all the songs I posted in May. I’ve already posted these all to Twitter, but it may be convenient to view this all in one place. So that’s what I’m doing right here.

 

 

Daily Hat Track: May 1 (Nigel Good & Illuminor – No Way Back Up): Second MC throwback of this Daily Hat Track catchup. I’d forgotten about Nigel until someone on MeWe reminded me. Now, I am basking in this song’s beauty. It’s a bit depressing too, but I like a tiny bit of depression now and then.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 2 (Killgrew – Hyakkimaru): Start out the day with some beautiful Killigrew. The piano in this one is the highlight, especially the chords. Though the Japanese trap vibe is interesting as well.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 3 (Karma Fields & Monarchy – Feint Echoes): Been listening to a lot of Karma Fields today and this one is certainly my favorite. Monarchy’s vocals make for a good tenor that I can stretch to my limits while singing along, and the drop is utter controlled madness. I love it.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 4 (Muzzy – Endgame): Very VERY bad idea to look at any replies to this one. I’m risking enough as it is just posting it, but the apocalyptic Endgame is one of Muzzy’s best so I must share it as Muzzy is another artist I’ve been listening to a lot lately

 

Daily Hat Track: May 5 (Kings of the City – Wrong (Muzzy Remix): Continuing with the Muzzy theme, here’s his best song, though Kings of The City’s lyrical content does influence my opinion. It’s a song about self doubt and existentialism and finding ones way in life. That’s what I like. Also DnB.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 6 (Wintergatan Valentine): Lovely driving bouncy Wintergatan track that I got enjoyed a slight bit excessively while on break at work. Just wish it was a little longer.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 7 (Covenant – I Close My Eyes): I don’t even care what the lyrics are (which is good because I’m currently too tired to decipher them). I just enjoy the relaxing futurepop vibes. Covenant is always do cryptic anyways.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 8 (Karma Fields – Who do You Want to Be (Part II): Who do I want to be? That question arises as I listen to this Skylinesque song from the most recent Karma Fields album. I’m not certain of the answer. It’s not my present self, but I believe I have the power to change that.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 9 (Thermostatic – Northern Ambulance): This very short and mysterious beauty ponders the beauty known as life and how it’s so mysterious and oh so very short.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 10 (Scatman John – Scatman (Game Over Jazz)): Great funky groove with scatsinging as always but this time there’s a saxophone. I love the saxophone.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 11 (Scatman John – Let it Go): Definitely my favorite from Scatman John. The second verse is especially a game changer in the search for self acceptance.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 12 (Vicetone – Home (Eminence remix)): Honestly not a huge fan of any of the involved artiste but this remix works quite well. Of course, self-reflective lyrics do help…

 

Daily Hat Track: May 13 (Veorra – Not Yet): Sometimes, you have to concentrate on the little things of today in order not to be overwhelmed by the mountainous plan that is the future.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 14 (DESERT STAR – Foreign Land): The latest volume of Monstercat Instinct was released today so I’ve been focusing my musical appetite on that mostly. Plenty of highlights. This one for example explores some of my favorite themes of the journey to find one’s self.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 15 (Hybrid – Falling Down): Was listening to some of Hybrid’s older stuff today and I found myself rediscovering this groovy tune (which of course has lyrics depicting the ceaseless chaos we get caught up in because I have some lyrical obsessions apparently).

 

Daily Hat Track: May 16 (Aviators & Lectro Dub – We are not Machines): Aviators and Lectro Dub go together like… I actually don’t feel like coming up with a comparison but they’re good I promise you. This is among the best of the collabs. Significant lyrical quality though Paralyzed is catchier.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 17 (Icon of Coil – Shelter): This song really takes me back to early 2016 when I had absolutely no clue where I belonged. I still don’t but things are better now I think.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 18 (Varien & Veela – Supercell): Varien recently has announced a new album sometime this year. I wonder if it’s possible for my favorite Varien song to be usurped.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 19 (Varien & Laura Brehm – Valkyrie): Long as I’m in a Varien mood, here’s another one of my favorites from way back. The beginning of a gorgeous trilogy.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 20 (Stonebank & Concept – Holding on to Sound): This song… I made a video focused on this song quite a while back. I’m not going to link it though. You have to find that for yourself.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 21 (Scattle – Pacemaker): The discovery I’ve been rocking to today would be Scattle’s Pacemaker. Good groove and plenty of hype within the track. You’ll need to get a pacemaker by the time this is over.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 22 (Celldweller – Switchback (Neuroticfish remix): I’ll be doing a full length review involving the original version of this song shortly, but for now, enjoy the absolute best transformative remix of this classic Celldweller tune.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 23 (Sakuzyo – AngelFalse): I’d discovered Sakuzyo yesterday, but that was after I’d posted that day’s hat track. So now I’m posting one of the songs I’d listened to yesterday today. Shoot, don’t have much room left to talk about the song. Um. Piano is good.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 24 (LukHash – Requiem for a Friend):  I know I’m a bit behind I’ll catch up over time but for now, here’s a cool cross between cinematic, chiptune and synthwave

 

Daily Hat Track: May 25 (Crazy Astronaut – Funky Shit 2014): This song with a slightly obscenely languaged title is just a plethora of nonstop energy. Just sitting here and listening to this song exhausts me in the best way. Then again I can’t exactly call it sitting here because I am boppin

 

Daily Hat Track: May 26 (Cello Fury – Tundra): Three cellists, one drummer. That’s all they needed to make this lovely track complete with a switch up near the middle that provides the song with a new energy right when it’s needed most.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 27 (Mr Fijiwiji & Openwater – Growing Up): One last beauty before sleep. Mr Fijiwiji paints some gorgeous melodies with that piano and I remember Openwater’s cries to escape loneliness resonating with 19 year old me. They still do.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 28 (Wintergatan – Marble Machine): Normally, I post a Spotify link as that’s the music listening platform I spend most of my time on, but this song resurfaced in my queue recently and it’s wrong not to post the music video for this masterpiece.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 29 (Stoneocean – Can’t Stand that Girl): I must share with you this catchy melody that I’ve had stuck in my head for the past 2 days. It’s good while listening to the song but it will not leave my head once it’s over. If I must suffer with this burden, then so should you.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 30 (Celldweller – Own Little World (Growling Machines remix): Going to be finishing up that Celldweller review I mentioned last week soon. So you can definitely expect that this Sunday. In the meantime, here’s an amazing psytrance remix of one of the best songs in the upcoming review.

 

Daily Hat Track: May 31 (Robert Delong & K.Flay – Favorite Color is Blue): I not only find this song ridiculously catchy, but I also find it to be a great vent for when regretful anger leads to depression. At least that’s the existential emotion I’m getting from this song. You know I read way too deep

 

Oh, and as always, you can check out all of the Daily Hat Tracks I’ve posted this year in the playlist below

 

https://open.spotify.com/user/beretbeats/playlist/4CIZYAQAzctqYqFG89HIv2?si=Mnl8CDT3TN2jxaJDZLCG7A

 

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)