Thing of the Day

Norway's Huntsville with some slightly different electronic acousticness...

June 9th 2011

HUNTSVILLE – For Flowers, Cars and Merry Wars (Hubro Music) – Now this is rather intriguingly straddling itself between a number of potential pigeonholes, whilst cleverly Huntsvillekeeping out of any of them.

   Huntsville are usually an improvisational, rock-flavoured electronic trio. For the eighteen minute track that takes up side one of this latest (vinyl) album, they’re joined by the warm, sensuous voice of “superb alternative pop” vocalist (their description) Hanne Hukkelberg. Hukkelberg gives Huntsville a Laurie Anderson feel as she sings (or hints) of bumble bees and instructs us to close our eyes to open our ears. Or maybe the music (rather than the vocals) is the thing evoking the Laurie Anderson style dreamstates? The phrasing is almost Bjork-like; nothing as harsh, though... They’re right, she does have a superb voice, she doesn’t impose herself enough to entirely change the feel of what is essentially an experimental instrumental artrock band. This is not some radical departure from the Huntsville norm. 
  The minimalist, building repetition becomes richer and richer, a slowly growing sound and a piece that quietly evolves through many subtle stages and mostly quiet unassuming instrumental shapeshifts.  The voice departs completely way before we reach the middle of the opening title track piece – For Flowers, Cars and Merry Wars. It then retreats back to layers of warm electronic hums as more organic sounds sooth us further into the piece in a surprisingly acoustic way.. Further in, and with the remainder of the four rather good tracks, Huntsville become even more minimal with their near-acoustic hums and their very atmospheric, electronic throbs (no vocals on the other three tracks).
   Huntsville have a sound that glides, that flows, that hums, it isn’t a sound that relies on a pulse or any kind of metronomic beat and because of that, their sound is very soothing, almost trancelike, very slightly psychedelic in a modern minimalist way  – understated mechanical drones that sooth as they flow in the unobvious manner that sets Huntsville apart from the many others attempting similar things. Their guitars, when they do use guitars, are shimmering with beauty, and then, in such a subtle way, a way that you almost don’t notice until it has happened, they become very experimental again and the guitars and hums give away to yet subtly different flavours, to freeform quietness and avant movement... 

   There’s a satisfaction in the way Huntsville quietly move their sound, the way that they change their focus constantly, without the listener really hearing where and when. Theirs is a beautifully refined, rewarding sound, a warm subtle clever uncluttered sound, a sound that always has point and purpose to it. Huntsville are from Norway, and this four track full length album is a pleasure to get lost in… 

For Flowers, Cars and Merry Wars is available from June, as a download or a limited edition white vinyl album  that comes with a free CD version for days when your vinyl isn’t convenient.     

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