H+ - Hidden Dimensions (Self-released, 2017) review
Who knew a music teacher living in Bermuda would be behind the IDM glitch pop project H+. Founded in 2016, the artist is preparing to release his tenth EP. Given his interest in microsounds, analog sound manipulation, and various collaging techniques, it’s easy to label him experimental. He describes his work as a mixture of musique concrète, dub reggae, and deep dubstep. Last month he unveiled “Hidden Dimensions,” a full length album featuring a fascinating collection of progressive electronic compositions.
“Every time (feat. Nic Swan),” the opening track, is a refreshing introduction to the possibilities of well-executed IDM. Creatively resonant piano and strings form a rich texture of cheery mystery. Synths seem to bubble up from the periphery like sea foam. The “drop,” if you can really call it that, is surprisingly tasteful. While it certainly gestures towards the dubstep craze of the late 2000s, which comes across as a bit trite and out of touch, the arrangement remains unique and captivating. H+ weaves together clunky and hard-edged electronica with pop-centric vocals to form a wonderfully upbeat 4 minutes and 45 seconds.
As you continue listening, the artist’s musique concrète affinity begins to appear more and more. “Plank Dimensions” provides an ambient shower of compressed and jagged sound bites. Tracks like “Anomalies,” “Error in the Standard Model,” and “Parallel Universe” take an exciting detour into funk with groovy bass lines supporting the usual brigade of cracks, pops, and sputters. Appearances from organs, wah-wah powered guitars, and abrupt high-hat tapping create a definitive jazz presence as well.
What astounds me here is H+’s ability to not descend into chaos with all his different genre-bending intentions. Don’t let the incredibly tacky album art fool you, H+ has substantial talent and it comes through in spades.
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