Can nothing stop Bristol’s experimental swami in 2015?
Gnar Hest’s new album Void Rider should come with a note exclaiming “No instruments were harmed during the making of this album”. Everything you hear during its thirty five minute duration is 100% synthetic and digital. Gnar Hest AKA Matt Williams, created every note and sound sitting at this computer trying to set his inner soundscapes free. Everything is programmed note by note, and there are no MIDI keyboards used either. Although the album was composed using Reason, it was written by hand.
Void Rider sounds like the soundtrack to the best Amiga game never made. You can almost see the introduction sequence, as the album starts, the plot explained over animated sequences with sparse title cards. As the opening track, Soft Sweet Smile at the Abyss is How I Do, starts to get into a pattern, the track explodes with squelchy lurid bass rumbles, this is when the villain of the piece is introduced and the aim is made clear. From this point on Void Rider skews, drifts, swerves and pulsates until you end heart racing and breathless at its conclusion. Just like any good Amiga game. The track ends as the villain has just escaped, but you’re just behind and ready for the final showdown.
Speedin Thru Blank Realms of Bliss is a slower, darker affair. This is the track that plays while you combat the villain. The tension builds as you have to destroy evil minions, wear down the baddies armour/shields/resolve until there is nothing left and you have won, stopping the nefarious plan and get the prize at the end. Coda (Puts On Sunglasses) is the music that plays as the end sequence plays and the titles roll.
With this Gnar Hest releases, Williams has combined the spirit of Vangelis and classic 8-bit scores to create something fragile, but at the same time that has the power to take you on an emotional ride. This is bold stuff and Bristol’s premier experimental purveyor has out done himself, not just through composition, but through scope of vision.