The press release.
After a string of self released works over the past few years, Daniel Hopkins aka Hurra Caine Landcrash returns with `Unanswered Questions` released on Split Femur Recordings. The album focuses on using a guitar as an instrument in a totally new way, i.e. dropping shells, pebbles and stones on the strings and body to extract “noisy textures” which are then processed in real time through various filters and effects using a laptop, Dan discovers strange and intriguing ambient noises. What is produced for the listener is a musical voyage reminiscent on the one hand of no wave punk and then sweeping to more ethereal esoteric sound-scapes. His work is disorientating, strange and at the same time oddly familiar.
Links to listen
HURRA CAINE LANDCRASH – UNANSWERED QUESTIONS (CD by Split Femur Recordings)
Along time ago, in Vital Weekly 500 we reviewed work by Daniel Hopkins, also known as Hurra Caine Landcrash, as well as HL. Back then his work was released on his own No Ground Processes, here he finds his way to the real CD format on Split Femur Recordings. Back then we already noted his shift towards the use of the guitar, which he now worked out into ‘Unanswered Questions’. If I understood things correctly Hopkins drops shells, pebbles and stones on a guitar, picks up the sound in his laptop using ‘various filters and effects’ and explores as such the guitar. The blurb raves about ‘on one hand of no wave punk and then sweeping to more ethereal esoteric sound-scapes’. I must say I had a hard time hearing the no wave punk, but then perhaps I had the wrong records when I was young. The ‘ethereal esoteric’ part I can dig, but that sounds a bit negative, or rather some musical area in which you rather not be. Hurra Caine Landcrash’s ‘Soul’, the opener is kinda not like the album: it distorts and not in a nice way. The tracks to follow are much nicer and work from a microsound/drone perspective. Even when Hurra Caine Landcrash doesn’t do an original job here, despite his perhaps somewhat curious approach in working, the music sounds all quite nice, except of course for that first track, which is an odd ball. Think Fennesz, of course I’d say, Deupree or other microsound artists, and Hurra Caine Landcrash fills in the holes they left with quite an intelligent mixture of his own techniques. Moody, atmospheric and with the guitar leaping into sound areas which may seem to be from an altogether different nature, this is quite a nice album. (FdW)
Film-maker Daniel Hopkins is the musician behind Hurra caine Landcrash and finds his 4th record, “Unanswered Questions”, suitably released by the relativey new Midlands-based imprint Split Femur – a label that is intent on opening new doors for electronic and experimental music. Hopkins has been busy opening doors himself. A portal, in fact, to an untapped region of other-worldly guitar experimentation sounds. “Unanswered Questions’” concepts are based around the tones and textures captured by dropping stones, shells and pebbles onto the strings and body of a guitar. The sounds extracted are then, in turn, processed in real-time using filters and other laptop functions.
A recipe for disaster, perhaps, to the most cynical of us, but despite traveling into uncharted territories, Hopkins handles the essential dynamics very well indeed. Creating a body of work that is composed of strange, disconcerting sounds as webs of clouding textures and abstract tones combine with tangles of imperfections and processed ‘scratches’ to form an occasionally tentative, oftentimes comforting ambient mist.
Requiring an extra degree of patience on the listener’s part, there is much to enjoy in this record. Starting with the drowsy bluesy drawl of “Soul” and through to the deep caverns of “Autumn Leaves”, where the incessant water drips form into little pools of sound that recall Tietchens’ recent “Eta-Menge”. Both “Blood Letting Go” and the excellent “The Ultimate Ever”, meanwhile, process sounds out of shape in such a way that they begin to resemble an old vinyl record spinning hypnotically on a ramshackle record player, creating deconstructed rhythms and percussive thumps from thin air seemingly. The former especially dabbles in the acoustic doom atmospherics that were such a feature of Svarte Greiner’s “Knive” release.
The mood is somewhat ominous throughout, as if Hopkins himself was unsure where these paths would lead. This 6-track affair, though, grows in stature, be it through the thumping bass tones of “Reflex Reaction” or the unfurling mystery of “Trip to the Moon”, which at 12-minutes long seems oddly short given its soporific qualities. “Unanswered Questions”, though, will be a worthy addition to the record collections of those who require music to challenge.