Wyndel Hunt: Sunshine Noir
Dragon's Eye Recordings

Sunshine Noir, Wyndel Hunt's fourth recording on Dragon's Eye, wastes no time at all in making its point: from the first second of “Sumud,” the material seethes with a controlled fury which, in this case, translates into a roar that suggests an up-close recording of a 747 engine. Overtones jostle for position within the buzzing drone until the track's abrupt cessation re-acquaints the listener with silence for a moment before “The Drop” fires up its slightly less overdriven machinery for a relatively calming two minutes. Foir the record, Hunt recorded Sunshine Noir in 2009 in Seattle, Washington using Ableton Live, Reason 2.5, a Casio MT-520, and a guitar to generate the album's eight monoliths.

In “Plot Device,” the buzz of electrical wires threatens to engulf the listener, but the mood shifts, alternating between that droning buzz and warmer washes that seem rapturous by comparison. Hunt shows himself here in particular to be remarkably deft at shaping the material and in oscillating from one passage to another. A palpable sense of threat pervades certain pieces, with the listener bracing him/herself for detonations he/she is never sure will in fact arrive. One example is “Niche Destroys Market,” which escalates from an intro of quiet textural loops into a fierce monstrosity that, nearing its peak, shorts out; the aptly titled title track opts for slow, incremental build as it swells in magnitude, becoming a black hole of ecstatic design in the process, but it too steps back from the precipice at its loudest moment to ease the listener out. Even when Hunt opts for the epic and blustery (e.g., “Invisible Hand Revealed: Iron Fist,” “Free Dissociation”), the material never feels like it's splintering out of control, with Hunt bringing the same care to modulating the intensity and dynamic levels within the louder settings as he does the quieter. If there's an anomolous moment, it's “Deckle,” whose two minutes of bleeps and flutter sounds somewhat out of character with the rest of the album, but that's probably attributable to the fact that the piece was constructed by Christopher DeLaurenti, not Hunt. Though there is a noise dimension to Hunt's work, it would be more accurate to label it sound-sculpting. What makes it more accessible is that its contours are smooth, not jagged, and so while the material may often be loud, it's not abrasive.

March 2010