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Hu Vibrational — Timeless
(Bandcamp Meta Records, 2023, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-11-25

Timeless Cover art

With their fifth Hu Vibrational release, Hamid Drake and Adam Rudolph continue to expand the sound of this percussion-centered ensemble. Drake actually brings his drum kit into five of the tracks (being absent from the other four), while Rudolph adds keyboards, thumb pianos, and flutes (wooden and bamboo) to his massive battery of percussion. Quite a few other musicians are on board, providing keyboards, bass, guitar, nohkan flute, sitar, samples, and electronics, some on only a single track. Regarding The Epic Botanical Beat Suite (2015), I noted that for a group consisting primarily of percussionists, the music wasn’t full of energetic grooves, focusing more on atmospheric textures. Timeless (perhaps ironically, given the title in comparison to the previous album) ups the groove factor while keeping the textural richness. You’ll hear patterns on thumb piano or Fender Rhodes driving the tracks, though there’s not generally what you’d call conventional melodies or chord progressions. “Oceanic” features a rhythm that is positively danceable. “Hittin” takes a five-beat thumb piano patter and adds droning organ, atmospheric echoes, and Rhodes, topping it all with Marco Cappelli’s manic guitar noises. Within all this seeming simplicity, there’s a lot of sophisticated planning, though it’s tempered with an improvisational spirit. Rudolph’s rhythmic patterns are not based on any of the standard patterns of Latin or African music, but constructed out of his own theoretical abstractions. For listeners inclined to analyze music, Hu Vibrational will likely be massively frustrating, with patterns stacked atop one another, dividing up the time in various ways simultaneously. But for those inclined to listen and feel the music, there’s an endless supply of cool sounds to enjoy.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Adam Rudolph / Moving Pictures / Go: Organic Orchestra, Hamid Drake, Hu Vibrational

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