hERON –  hERON (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

a2284348498_16Not only is hERON a long distance collaboration between musicians in Seattle and San Antonio, it is a collaboration between musical worlds, between eras and genres as well. At the core of these lovely, languid largely instrumentals is a trip-hop beat, a solid groove that they use to hang any number of musical oddments on. You could draw lines on an imaginary four dimensional map which help explain the album, lines which connect the small clubs of Bristol, England in the 90s with the urban street music from the previous decade that inspired them, you could also use them to connect 70’s alternative soul experiments with 60s European chamber pop, avant-garde soundtracks with American West Coast psychedelia.

You could carry on joining dots that represent eras and styles and then many more connecting places and thoughts, music and stories that have no business being connected. Stare at the pattern of the lines for a long time, and then shut your eyes. The stars dancing behind your eyelids is the music that makes up this mercurial album. Flipout employs some smooth jazz motifs, It’s Too Late seems to wander across the vastness of space in search of a home, Chillmode seems to be a strange collision of east and west whilst Melt Away has the resonant guitars and inherent menace of a Lynchian soundtrack.

It is a great album, it covers so much ground over its twelve tracks and if you think that instrumentals are the stuff of background music, think again. It isn’t that the music is imposing, anything but, it is that the music is beguiling, otherworldly and mercurial that it will have you tying to unpick it, explore it and try to see how it all fits together. Any music which engages the lister in such a way has to be a good thing, right?

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