Comparisons to Radiohead’s Kid A seem to have latched on to Hunter-Gatherer recently, heady acclaim for an electronic artist who – despite a number of impressive releases – is still best summarized as -up and coming’. Surprisingly, whilst the acclaim is a little far fetched, it’s not entirely off the mark: Hunter-Gatherer’s latest might not have the immediate ambient appeal of Radiohead’s masterpiece, but I Dreamed I Was A Footstep In The Trail Of A Murderer is an album that – much like that album – is far more than the sum of its subtly-combined parts.
Slow-paced, simplistic and lo-fi are all labels that could reasonably be attached to this release, but what analyzing the make up fails to point out is that this a record that has your mind drifting into places you didn’t even know it could go. It’s dreamy, at times sleep inducing and highly repetitive. If you’re not the type that switches off two minutes into a typical beat-driven slow-electro track, though, that’s a combination that’s in no way a bad thing.
-Rivulets’ heavily features what sounds like the air escaping from a car tire in short bursts, -Veils’ features gun noises from a futuristic computer game and -Cloud’ has undertones of ghosts trying to communicate through the static on television sets. There’s plenty of more stereotypical beats, beeps and bashes here, too, and Hunter-Gatherer uses progressive layering to build up and then tone down each track, fitting them all together with the kind of continuity that makes it genuinely difficult to distinguish one track from the next. Each is drifting, mind-bending and perfectly placed to keep the album winding along nicely. The liveliest moment comes with -The Salvation Army’, a track highly reminiscent of the backing melody to Faithless’ -We Come One’, and an end of album wake up call that blasts you out of your trance.
This is certainly not the kind of album you’d listen to before a night out (or while out driving, for that matter, as there’s no doubt at all that this would seriously reduce reaction times), but Hunter-Gatherer’s perfecting the art of taking the mind for a walk with ambient electro music that – for all its obvious layering and repetition – takes you on a monster mental journey.