Hulk: Silver Thread of Ghosts

On his first full-length album Silver Thread of Ghosts, Hulk (Dublin-based producer Thomas Haugh) fuses organic and electronic sounds into ten alternately brooding and uplifting ambient-drone atmospheres. Enhanced considerably by the lush, guttural cry of Kevin Murphy's deep cello lines and, to a lesser degree, the delicate touch of Rohan Hennessy's acoustic guitar playing, the 40-minute collection is also naturalized by the incorporation of outdoor sounds (muffled wave crashes, tinkling, creaks, conversational chatter, bird sounds) recorded during trips around central and Eastern Europe. The work is thematically oriented around notions of memory and travel, with Haugh shaping sounds he's recorded over many years into brooding dirges of haunted string tones (“Mytikas”), crystalline meditations (“Elephant Memory”), and gauzy drones (“Star Bed”). Representative of the album's character, the placid “The Curtain of Every Morning” memorably buffets bright piano meanderings and cello sawing with rhythmic whirrs and muffled booms. Silver Thread of Ghosts exudes some semblance of the icy grandeur one hears in the music of Gas and Marsen Jules, but Hulk's emphasis on rustic textures and down-home intimacy suggests a stronger kinship with Colleen, for example, even if it only occasionally approaches the ineffable depths of her work.

October 2005