HUNTER-GATHERER I Dreamed I Was a Footstep in the Trail of a Murderer
It has been an interesting decade for Irish electronic music. On the one hand, a ton of artist releases have seen producers finally move beyond relying on contributions to compilations to get their music out to the world beyond their bedrooms. But quality control continues to be an issue. Oodles of undiluted hometown praise is unable to fix patchy, uneven output that doesn’t quite measure up on the international stage.
No one is expecting every release to set a trend, but the lack of innovation and excellence continues to disappoint. Then, just as we’re about to say farewell to the year and wrap up the decade, Hunter-Gatherer saunters along to upset that carefully arranged snapshot. A teacher by day and electronic music-maker by night, Hunter-Gatherer has created a debut album of many wonders. By turns haunting, beguiling, melancholic, soulful, icy and peculiarly uplifting, I Dreamed I
Was a Footstep… is a record that does many simple things really, really well. Case in point: Left for
Dead. It starts with a lovely, slo-mo wash of subtle bleepy sounds and then, one minute and 38 seconds in, Hunter-Gatherer slips an alien, eerie, fragile chime into the proceedings which carries the track away to another world.
It’s a trick that Bernard Herrmann and David Shire used to employ. H-G may be borrowing ideas from past masters, but what masters to emulate. Yet H-G’s broody, moody constructions go beyond just emphasising moving pictures on a silver screen. The sinister shapes and paranoid glitches on the title track or
Clouds are the work of a scientist who has discovered a third place between home and the dancefloor and is waiting for everyone else to find the way in.
You can, of course, compare what H-G is doing to many other laptop-dancers, but on this evidence, he’s working towards a far stranger, more alluring destination.
Please feel free to join him in his quest. www.myspace.com/hunter gathererforever JIM CARROLL