Introductions don't come much stronger than the lead single from Chris Adams' Bracken. "Heathens" is a boldly ambitious and frighteningly successful burst of song. Opening with a loosed breath and an ethereal voice transmitting through its atmospheric pulse, the track soon catches melody and bounces down a hallway of deep dub bump. The vocals grab onto their own reverb and ride (stuttering a la Prefuse 73's well-honed cut-ups), as an errant horn squeals in the background and the guitar notes are chopped and coiled into melody that would recall Phoenix's "Too Young" if it wasn't for the heavy space they occupy. As Chris sings seemingly of paranoia and pain - his ghostly call trying to break out into an unknown reality where freedom of belief is more than theory - "Heathens" teems with sound, flitting adroitly between weighty moments of sound clash and fluid movement. It's instant familiarity wrapped up in pure experimentation: a perfectly proposed Anticon outing from this HOOD member.
Also attached to side one of this release is a rare bonus: "Heathens" as redone - not remixed - by ambient ice-master Alias and the color-saturated songbird Yoni Wolf of WHY?. Their version is every bit the opposite of the original: warm and sparse (it's underpinned by a Casio beat and pulled up by Yoni's proclivity for rich melodies), happy feeling, and even a bit buoyant. Conversely, B-side "We Cut the Tapes and Scatter" is six urgent minutes of tape-cutting, metallic bird-chirping, guitars that sound like strings, strings that sound like voice, drums that sound like tables, and Chris' voice sounding like a chorus of grim monks who've seen the end of days on the horizon. Shimmering keys, ringing percussion and all kinds of analogue trickery carry the song at a fevered march to it's beautiful and suddenly orchestral end. Fittingly, "Out" is a short send-off from this first encounter that sounds like a long-distance hello to the soon-to-come full-length.
Limited to 1000 copies.
* immediate free MP3 download for all vinyl orders of this release.