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Hoofus – Several Wolves

Exotic Pylon

Hoofus - Several Wolves8-bit razor blade. Bedsit basement dwellers. Darkness on the edge of town.

Hoofus makes music from the Animal Collective unconscious, slimy grimy retroactive electronic improvisations from the wilds of rural Norfolk.

Here’s a snappy soundbyte from the press release:

Hoofus performs and records electronic improvisations from the undergrowth of rural Norfolk, using fuzzy analogue aesthetics and FM synthesized unease to create visceral ritual rhythms, smeared with restless feral yearning and the distant hum of moss covered machinery. Drawing on notions of ramshackle existence on the edges of the wilds, he attempts to express ideas of Arcadian alienation and backwoods neurosis.

This places Hoofus in league with fellow Anglo dropouts like Hacker Farm and IX Tab, what with their disavowal of modern ways, and it seems like there may be a movement forming, in and around Jonny Mugwump‘s Exotic Pylon Records. What they have in common is a love and fixation with ‘carboot electronics’, embracing the “instinctual instantaneous freedom of improvisation on clunky hardware.” This love affair with fiddling, twiddling electronics also brings to mind another Englishman who’s been doing quite well lately, namely Nick Edwards, aka Ekoplekz (and a billion other pseudonyms). They both belong to the dusted bloodline of post-punk/proto-industrial art terrorists like Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle. The overall effect is of the Texas Chainsaw family if they lived in East Coker and chopped up Gameboys instead of pretty girls.

This movement is mandatory, if not necessarily for everybody. For what seems like forever, techno/electronic equalled the newest, brightest, flashiest hardware, software and tunes. Gear and mix CDs littered the highways, as DJs and producers engaged in an arms race to have the NEWEST BESTEST slickest thing. Genres were changed more often than socks. The part that no one mentions is that in the ’90s and early 2000s, often the producer with the most money won and a lot of the weird wonky futuristic soul of early electronic music was lost. Dance music was becoming bland.

It is with great interest and joy, (I get a little bit teary), that I have been watching/listening to these shadowy toy hackers fidget away and get some global momentum going on. The recent double-CD compilation from The Outer Church features a lot of artists either directly involved with, or sounding similar to Hoofus, and this is a great time to take his maiden flight on the Exotic Pylon. It’s also a good time to be reviewing said album, as there are a few points that seem to cause some confusion.

First of all, not all music made with electronic instruments is made for raving (although Several Wolves was described as Aphex Twin on bad ecstasy). Instead, Hoofus focuses on electronic sounds having no origin in the ‘real’ world, and their inherent attachment to dated sci-fi sounds, to conjure surreal and colorful inner visions: earth tone kaleidoscopics dancing across antifreeze puddles, a wave of spiders belching forth from a disused coal mine. This visionary voyaging seems to be the purpose, the journey is the destination, as Several Wolves is rather scarce on melodies and hooky, stable rhythms; which means that most pop fanatics are out the door, immediately.

Several Wolves will most likely appeal to the dyed-in-the-wool noise freak, whose frontal lobe has long since numbed and gone to sleep from long exposure to information overload. There is a legion of hyphy basement dwellers just waiting for this record, though, and they probably don’t even know it. It will encourage and inspire them to proceed in their Pure Data/Walkmen/drum machine hacking, and keep electronic music weird. As A Silver Mt. Zion said, “This is our punk rock”.

So kudos and Big Ups to Hoofus for his opening gala, and to Jonny Mugwump and Exotic Pylon for pushing electronic music forward. Or backwards. Or off of a pyramid. More please!

-J Simpson-

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