Introductions don't come much stronger than "Heathens," the debut release from Bracken (aka Chris Adams of Hood), a boldly ambitious and frighteningly successful burst of song. Opening with a lone, ethereal voice, the title track soon catches melody and bounces down a hallway of deep, dub bump. The vocals ride a stuttering wave of reverb (a la Prefuse 73) as an errant horn squeals in the background. Guitar notes coil around a melody that might recall Phoenix's "Too Young" were it not for the heavy space it occupies. Adams seemingly sings of paranoia and pain -- his ghostly call trying to break into an unknown reality where freedom of belief is more than just a theory. "Heathens" teems with sound, flitting adroitly between weighty moments and fluid movement. It's pure experimentation but feels instantly familiar: a perfect anticon outing. Side-A also features a rare bonus: "Heathens" as redone -- not remixed -- by ambient ice-master Alias and the color-saturated songbird Yoni "Why?" Wolf. Their version is every bit the opposite of the original: warm and sparse, underpinned by a Casio beat and pulled up by Wolf's proclivity for rich melodies. Conversely, the B-side, "We Cut the Tapes and Scatter," is six urgent minutes of tape-cutting and metallic bird-chirping. The guitars sound like strings, the strings like voices and Adams himself sounds like a chorus of grim monks who've seen the end of days looming on the horizon. Shimmering keys, ringing percussion and all kinds of analogue trickery propel the song towards a beautiful orchestral ending. Finally, "Out" is a short and fitting send-off from this impressive debut. Consider it a long-distance hello from the soon-to-come full-length.
item # 25353