36: Hypersona
3six Recordings

You won't find much information about 36 on the recording's packaging—all we find there are the words “Everything by 36” and the clarification that Hypersona is “Part 1 of 3”; nor will you find much info at the 3six site, aside from learning that Hypersona is 36's debut album under the alias, and that the unidentified producer is an independent artist who's issued music previously (though not in the 36 style), has operated a vinyl-only label for over two years, and seemingly resides in Bradford, UK.

No matter. As we've said countless times before, what matters is the music, and the rest is so much window dressing. And, as is also often the case in such matters, the music on Hypersona holds up very well indeed sans contextual information. In twelve pieces, choral voices breathe softly alongside chiming keyboard melodies, with both punctuated by sampled voices and field recording elements that occasionally emerge. Put simply, it's lush, atmospheric electronic of the most satisfying kind. “Inside,” for example, is a thing of melancholy beauty, a hymnal meditation of gently whistling melodies warmed by the fireplace that crackles alongside the song's musical elements. The quiet majesty of the material and its patient execution certainly suggests that it's the work of someone with experience—life as well as musical—under his/her belt. The soundscaping mini-epic “Nephyr” cloaks its simple, wavering melody in multi-layers of vaporous tones; “Beacon,” by stark contrast, strips the layers away to allow pretty piano playing to reverberantly echo.

The interlude “Intercept” calls to mind the airport noise with which La jetée begins—a reference that, interestingly enough, also could be applied to “Juliet,” where a grainy female voice is heard amidst corroded transmissions that suggest a piece more time-worn than freshly-made. In fact, the album as a whole exudes a rather ghostly character (note, for example, the hint of Victorian menace that shrouds the title composition's tinkling melodies, and the excavated quality of the brief outro “Untitled”), as if its mournful songs have been exhumed and reconstituted into a deceptively “new” form.

December 2009