Exposé Online banner

Hypercube — Brain on Fire
(New Focus Recordings FCR250, 2020, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-07-16

Brain on Fire Cover art

First, before anything is said about the release at hand, let’s clear up what Hypercube is. If you go searching on Bandcamp you’re likely to run across Hypercube, a London computer-based musician named Rodrigo Passannanti, with over two dozen releases to his credit, but that is not this Hypercube. For the purposes of this review, Hypercube is a New York City quartet working the extreme boundaries of chamber music, opting for cutting-edge experimental works for sax, guitar, piano, and percussion. Interestingly, four of the five pieces on this, their debut release Brain on Fire, are commisioned pieces by composers outside the group, only the fifth and final piece “Casino” was written by saxophonist Erin Rogers, the remaining members being Andrea Lodge (piano and accordion), Jay Sorce (guitars), and Chris Graham (percussion), and of course electronic sounds figure into their palette as well. By this time one may be wondering what this all sounds like. The opening thirteen-minute piece “Under Nails” composed by Dennis Sullivan is an exemplary introduction, a sound that seems to wander freely through the wilds, bursts of percussion punctuating random piano sounds and sax elaborations, fading to black occasionally, sounding almost like a free improvisation at times, but overall the process is too precise to be anything but scored. There’s even a little harmonized vocal bit “...hold on to your” followed by an outburst of distorted electric guitar that happens at roughly seven minutes in, and then again a couple minutes later, amid seemingly random percussive noodling. “American Tokyo Daydream IV” by composer Sam Pluta takes a more angular approach with higher density melodic sounds, though still many edgy jagged corners still abound. Other compositions include Philip Schuessler's "Liminal Bridges" and Nicholas Deyoe's "They Solidify Then Tilt," each with its own unique character, executed precisely by the ensemble. This collection of avant garde compositions is probably best experienced first hand to be understood, and fortunately Hypercube’s Bandcamp site (link included below) makes that entirely possible.


Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Hypercube

More info
http://newfocusrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/hypercube-brain-on-fire

Latest news

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Neil Haverstick - If the Earth Was a Woman – Haverstick is a pioneering guitarist, known for his work in microtonal scales. The two previous releases we have reviewed in these pages — Acoustic Stick and Other Worlds — were each the...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues