Saturday, 9 March 2013

Nac/Hut Report - Angel-like Contraction Reverse

I hope the day never comes when I get tired of the feeling I get when an unsolicited release pops up in my inbox and I realise, within seconds, that it contains music that will keep me company for the rest of my life.

The feeling occurred recently when the Polish underground label Double Hallucinative sent me a copy of the new album by Polish-Italian duo Nac/Hut Report.  Entitled Angel-like Contraction Reverse, even on first listen it quickly joined the pack of albums vying for the title of my favourite release of the moment.

There's a lot to be said for noise and the mere act of simply hearing an unholy racket is often enough to send me running to the toilet in excitement, but what we have here far exceeds mere bladder-loosening.  Beneath the caustic cacophony that provides the album's surface noise bleeds an emotional heart where one half of the duo - Brigitte Roussel, a visual artist by trade - fights back with gorgeous, intensely evocative vocals that bounce off the brick wall of sound laid over them.

The duo's other half is outsider musician Li/ese/Li and, between them, they take inspiration from early eighties industrial bands - the influence of SPK is particularly noticeable here - along with avant-garde artists and the more left-field elements of post-punk experimentation.

A song like 'Violent Lips' - and there is a song clearly detectable within all nine pieces that make up the album - sees Brigitte's vocals bleeding through a distorted electronic pulse, while 'One Last Time' finds her melodies leaking through a fascinatingly raucous din.  It's a formula - if such meticulously brilliant sound layers can be reduced to such a simple term - that serves the album well throughout, as some fantastic sonic duel is played out before your ears.

The best thing on here?  I find myself alternating between the multi-tracked sound paranoia of '...Hears Nothing Untill He Returns' and album opener 'Junkstarrr', which has also been released as a free download single, available here.  Incidentally, the single also includes a track called 'Bright Future' - not on the album - which is easily as majestic as anything here and certainly equally worthy of your attention.  Something here will be making an appearance in my April Dandelion Radio show, but you don't have to wait that long.  Go to the Double Hallucinative site and get it for yourself.

Apparently the album took almost three years to pull together.  Its loops and dense layers of sound are certainly the result of painstaking work but no less enjoyable for all that.  As you can probably guess, this is not easy listening. Nor is it something you can stick on in the background while you do whatever you do. It demands your total attention, and if you give it that it will pay you back repeatedly.

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