Hunter Ellis: a multi instrumentalist (guitar, bass, mandolin, keyboard, violin) from LA bought this to my attention simply by sending his album to Echoes & Dust for a possible review. Not knowing what to expect, I went ahead and put myself forward – and whether or not it was me or other members of the E&D family who did it, my ears are forever grateful. Because this is 13 (including bonus track) floors of aural architecture that have been built carefully and purposefully to create a sonic structure of immense beauty and intrigue that stands proud and tall.
Seconds into first track ‘The Healing Power Of Laughter’, guitars have already started to orbit around your consciousness with immediate effect. Like stars shining in the evening sky to form constellations, they do so with intensity while drums and bass float by as clouds gathering for an oncoming storm, with thunderous violins adding to the drama unfolding in the stratosphere.
‘Fevertime’ follows, and only goes to prove what has already been discovered – that every note and beat are the bricks and mortar that have been attentively placed exactly where they need to be, forming a tower of sound that will stand the test of time. And kudos to anyone who would even think about covering Aphex Twin, as Hunter actually does effortlessly with ‘Fingerbib’, an organic transformation that respectfully pays tribute to Richard D James’ crazy electronic genius.
Not only is ‘The Egg Hole Is The Shit Hole’ one of the best song titles ever, but like many of the tracks here, they could quite easily be used as a soundtrack to any David Lynch movie. Here, a haunting horn section takes you along a desolate road with nothing but flickering streetlights and a desire to drive until the sun comes up: on a full tank of gas, this is a fine companion for any adventure you could let your mind go on.
‘La Llama se Llama Llama’ and bonus track ‘Secret Song’ bring you to your final destination, on a journey that has passed through so many varying landscapes – keeping your attention from the very start to its eventual conclusion. On every listen (I’ve lost count myself now), there’s always something new that makes you want to go back to the beginning and start over as soon as you can. Like revisiting a museum to see your favourite painting, to see if there’s a detail you may have missed before.
There’s an obvious talent that’s easily recognized straight away here and fans of instrumental music will find a welcome place for their mind to visit; and they’ll want to stay there for a very long time. I’ve already booked myself in for many a return journey, I’ll see you there – your ears will thank you for it! Speaking of thanks, this goes out to Hunter himself – thanks for getting in touch with us and introducing me to one of my favourite albums of the year so far!