‘Howl’ the album title and opening track have taken a lot of brunt from keyboard warriors upon circulation and release, being the first port of call for quips like “it doesn’t howl like a wolf would” and “my jobless ass doesn’t love this as much as Jon Hopkins”, so when it’s time to view the material in its own light, they’ve painted a watercolour with a roll-on deodorant stick – No, ‘Howl’ doesn’t blast it all out quickly like your first fuck after a dry spell. Instead it teases the microwave society with a warped and rhythmic landscape, fit for warehouses, homes and beyond… it’s a great start to a good album. I wonder what the keyboard warriors will do now (insert thinking emoji).
One of the major attributes to why this album works is its range of depth, it’s evident some of the tracks won’t get major play-out in clubs, but that’s not what it’s designed for. Tracks like ‘Pre’ and ‘Walls’ are near tangible moments when listened to, physically embodying why electronic music can be so stimulating when done well.
In amongst the range of tracks on ‘Howl’, there is an underlying theme throughout… that of songs building narratives and revealing scenes with its glowing hues – tender light for moments of thought, and at other times, there like a wet dream for Mr. Oizo, enter ‘Morning Vox’.
‘Howl’ uses an abundance of influence, but instead of following in the footsteps of contemporaries, the album sulks in its own brooding sound, ‘Looming’ the perfect example of this and the album’s finale, is a magnificent display of ricocheted drums and fractured synths, and matches what the album sets out to achieve, more emotion than when you cried watching ‘12 Years a Slave’.
Away from the abandon of trolls, ‘Howl’ is a short-lived, yet gruellingly emotive and poignant album – stand out moments include ‘Afterglow’, ‘Ghosting’ and ‘Howl’. If you enjoy artists like Heathered Pearls, Valentin Stip and Max Cooper, you won’t regret picking this up.
Howl is out now, order a vinyl copy from Erased Tapes pronto.
7. 3 Laments
8. Morning Vox