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Mark Healy is going through a prolific phase at present and following on from two albums released in 2020 we already have another in 2021. We are back in a future post-apocalyptic world, but this time instead of synthetics we discover people fleeing the infiltrators, machines hidden beneath human skin. This tells the story of two sisters attempting to escape the war zone, and the journey they take to do that which is both physical and emotional, as there is also a time of self-discovery. Mark’s releases never sound like albums, they are short audio plays for the ears. This is just 38 minutes long, yet somehow the story is complete, and we see fully rounded characters, with perfect accompaniment from music, which is sometimes simplistic, others far more dynamic. Mark uses different instruments to create soundscapes, and somehow always manages to get the perfect actors to take on the roles. Here we have two performers who have not previously been on a Hibernal release, Sandra Osborne and Angela Tran playing the parts of Imogen and Maddie, and they are immersed in the roles, as are we the listeners. There have been many notables associated with the following quote, including Mark Twain, but whoever said this, it is a truism, “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one.” The writing of a short story is incredibly hard as there is so little room to bring everything to life, and yet somehow Mark manages to portray a new world, provide a cogent storyline, and gets us invested in the characters, all in just 3600 words. A large part of that is the music that is very much part of the overall movie of the mind, along with excellent production and performances from those involved. I only listen to Hibernal albums when I have the time to do so, when I know I will not be disturbed, as once the film has started it has to be watched through to the very end. Anyone who enjoys science fiction, here combined with the perfect soundtrack, then Hibernal is one of the most interesting and indispensable acts around.
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