Weird Summer Fun
Everyone needs some time to chill out in the summer and take a day to hit the highway and blast something like Calvin Harris or whatever the lightest, airiest hit of the moment is, but for experimental heads, summer can be a difficult season to find the right soundtrack. So much of experimental music focuses on the harsh crackling violence of winter or the pure unbridled bubbliness of spring — even fall finds a place on the lips of artists like Bon Iver, but summer has always been too warm, too inviting, and too accessible. Those experimental lovers may find themselves in luck this year. With the release of Selections From Dumb, HDLSS has managed to create something light and varied enough to hold the attention for those who are looking for an off-beat way to compliment their sun-soaked summer.
The album is immediately accessible from the opening track, “False Flag” and continues in that manner for much of the album. The tracks range from energetic and vibrant like “Colonizer” and “Wonderloss” and some more subdued selections as palate cleansers like “The World Goes On” help to keep the album flowing and prevents it from becoming too much of a one trick pony.
From a musical standpoint, there are a lot of elements working together to keep the record exciting, “Colonizer” for instance, implements the popular tropical house percussion that have found themselves ubiquitously used in modern electronic music, but instead of being beaten over the head with them a la Martin Garrix, HDLSS uses them more as punctuation points, in a way that is almost similar to savant producer Girafage, which helps in differentiating one track from another. While the drums on “Colonizer” are providing elements of accessibility, there are also ambient noises like the sound of rushing water that help to keep parts of the album interesting despite its surface level accessibility.
A major trademark of the record is the airy, washed out vocals that are modified to change in pitch at various intervals. This is most noticeable on the closing track “BILL$,” which is coincidentally the most experimental track on the record, often mutating voices by clipping them over and over to produce an electric stuttering effect similar to something off of Amnesiac or Kid A but with a much more pop-inspired twist. The record in general uses vocal effects in a way that is not altogether unheard of, but nonetheless they help to keep the sound exciting while adding something a little more approachable for a common listener or audiophile seeking something lighter.
It’s nice for experimental music to finally step out into the summertime sunshine. While harsh noise and dark ambient may be all well and good in the winter and fall months, not much beats driving with the windows down on a sun soaked beachside highway with the perfect soundtrack. So when a passenger asks to listen to the latest EDM hit, HDLSS it the perfect summer choice. Next time summer rolls around, any lover unique sounds would do well to keep this queued up in the car.