VA: dock 1
hfn music

Here's a thirty-one-minute compilation that provides a pretty amazing grab bag of stuff to graze upon. dock 1 features seven exclusive tracks of modern electropop from Darkness Falls, Kasper Bjørke, Ebb, Faded Ranger, Fangs, Gry, and Small Mountain, all of whom are either working on new albums for the Hamburg-based label hfn music or are lined up for forthcoming releases and/or future collaborations.

The collection begins on a high with a radiant instrumental overture by Bjørke called “Kalopsia” whose synthbass-powered swoon and pulsating krautrock groove are guaranteed to lift the spirits of even the most downtrodden listener. Fangs (Brooklynite Jordan Lieb aka Blacklightsmoke) then takes the release in another direction altogether with “Seagulls,” a gothic, hamonica-laden blues-chant featuring cryptic lyrics and a vocal that gradually starts to take on a bit of a glammy T. Rex quality. Shuddering guitar tremolos and haunting vocals lend Darkness Falls' “Moonlight” a spectral dreampop character before a headrush of shoegaze guitars and stomping drums kicks it into overdrive. We also find ourselves situated within Portishead territory thanks to Gry (Danish singer-vocalist Gry Bagøien) whose “Confusion” takes a detour into noirish, late-night jazz-tinged trip-hop. “Creatures” by Amsterdam-based producer Small Mountain, on the other hand, opts for a wonky stroll through the dance club with a disturbingly bent vocal performance in tow.

Returning to where the recording began, Faded Ranger (Nick Maurer and Neville Attree) ends the set with a brooding instrumental treatment of “Pretty Colours” that's heavy on guitars and synths (the vocal version is scheduled to appear on an upcoming Faded Ranger album). It's a quality collection from start to finish, but the recording's high point comes at its center in the form of Ebb's “Turnaround” and its seven hypnotic minutes of crisp vocal electropop. Trying to resist the seductive sparkle of the song's melodies (vocal and instrumental) is futile—and why would you wish to do so anyway?

March 2014