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(40:02, ‘The Hadron Big Bangers’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Invocation 6:34 2. 426 or 25 3:53 3. A Thought 3:34 4. Pink Sabbath 4:58 5. Starless Night 6:01 6. Syncropation 5:24 7. Revocation 9:39 LINEUP: Martin Ear – guitars; synthesizers, electronics, programming; vocals Robert Are – flute, sax; bass; synthesizers; vocals
Prolusion. The US duo THE HADRON BIG BANGERS has been around for a good few years, although it took them to 2014 to officially release their debut album "Strange Beauty Decays", a production that had been around in one guise or another since 2012. As such, this 2013 edition of the album may well be considered an advance copy, although I can’t see any marked differences between this version and the official one that came later, in 2014. Since then the band has also released its second album "Flash", which appeared earlier this year.
Analysis. The Hadron Big Bangers is what I'd describe as a fairly novel band. They attempt to create music outside of most common norms, and are certainly a band that merits a description as challenging, which, as is often the case, is for better as well as for worse. Those who expand the boundaries of music will not always strike gold. Initially, "Strange Beauty Decays" appears as a promising album however. The opening track Invocation is an affair that has a lot of Pink Floyd in it, but blended with a more liberal array of cosmic sounds, this latter detail being something of a defining aspect of the band's general style, as all the songs here have some dimension or other to them that ties in with the description “cosmic”. On the second track this is mixed with a form of music that sounds like a cross between ‘80s new wave and garage rock, a blend that is actually more appealing than what you might imagine. Following this, "Strange Beauty Decays" is a title that becomes more and more apt for me. The spoken words and ambient sounds of A Thought make me think of Donald Trump more than anything else, and Pink Sabbath takes its time to get going in the vein of the latter, although the Pink, which indicates a nod in the direction of Pink Floyd, isn't one I can easily trace. Spoken words and distorted vocals over distanced instrumentation define this track, while the following one appears to be an ambient electronic creation with improvised saxophone solo on top, a meeting of the universes of the cosmic ambient and improvised jazz, if you like. Synchropation plays out pretty much like a free improvisation gradually building from an industrial rock foundation, while the concluding track Revocation adds some King Crimsonian guitar textures to a similar landscape: Both of these pieces also share the same tendency to gradually become more chaotic. Challenging music, free improvisations and chaotic soundscapes aren't negative features in themselves, but I didn't manage to catch any real purpose behind them, beyond merging style elements in an unusual blend and documenting that this can be done and function to some degree. This latter phase of the album becomes too uniform and repetitive, not going from anywhere nor leading to any place in particular. Musical taste is obviously a matter of subjective taste and perception, but in this case I feel it is safe to state that this is an album that will have a finite and limited reach. That the mix and production aren't quite at the level one would expect might be noted too, although in this case this isn't a detrimental aspect of the recording in itself, but rather a part of it.
Conclusion. The Hadron Big Bangers is a unit that does cover a lot of ground, mostly with something of a foundation in music flavored with cosmic effects of one kind or another. They come across as pleasant and inviting when exploring music in a more conventional manner, but when they switch mode to explore the more challenging and boundary-breaking aspects of rock music the end result will have a much more limited and finite reach. Those with a deep interest in music of the more effects-oriented kind may want to give the album a spin, and then especially those among that crowd who also have a certain fascination with industrial music and free jazz.
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