Thursday 24 March 2016

Half - Here Lies

Article by Del Chaney

UK-based producer Half typifies just how diverse today's underground music scene actually is, and he also compounds that incredible modern-day music scene fact: that today's artists do not need major label backing to work with artists from all over the world. Advances in modern technology and further developments around the internet has allowed artists like Half to co-write, record, produce and release music in collaboration with other musicians online, without leaving the confines of their own homes. With two previous singles under his belt, the impressive instrumental 'Mind Laps' (April 2015) and the stunning 'Last Kiss' (October 2015), Half has penned in his debut full-length album entitled 'Here Lies' for the 29th April 2016 and released via the elusive but brilliantly productive Border Series Records.

The album opens with the impressive 'Last Kiss', an instant favourite of this listener. A swirling mass of beautiful reverberating noise circumnavigates that addictive piano line as the track weaves its way through its sonic gears. A repetitive percussion line transports the the soaring chorus break and we're instantly transported to a world of golden-hued sound. Track two, 'Mind Laps', introduces stunning, droning guitar lines wrapped around that sampled lighter flick that's used primarily to keep time, as the sequenced synths carry the track to its finale. Up next is the brilliant 'Into View (feat. Kate Dilemma)'. This track leads us into a false sense of security from the off. As Kate reads lines of poetry she's accompanied by intense crashing waves and wailing gulls until the track eventually opens up into a maelstrom of solid drum progressions, throbbing bass lines, soaring synth swells and that magnificent saxophone.

Dark-hued synths, reminiscent of Vangelis himself, herald the arrival of 'Sink Hole' and we're transported to a dystopian world of singular bleeps and impressive sonic swells, whilst 'Wide Open' keeps the theme going with its expressive but melodically hypnotic piano stabs and eastern flair. 'Rest Easy (feat. Wrecked Train)' bucks the trend of the previous two tracks by using an electronic drone to pierce the sonic bubble. The introduction of the vocal track adds depth until the electronic percussion takes over, but its quickly stamped out as the drone reappears to end the track. Up next is the massive 'Fear Less'. Huge melodic synth swells intertwined with bleeps and synth stabs batter the sonic ether as that whispering reverb-drenched vocal peaks this listener's interest. 'Fear Less' is a must listen via headphones for the overall immense atmospheric ambiance.

'Worm Food' refreshingly shutters on its percussive axis as its interestingly melodic synth lines weave and wind their way through the track's entire structure, whilst track nine, 'Moon Land', is atmospheric and dark with melodic guitar lines and building synth swells that eventually open up this cinematic masterpiece. The album's closing track, 'Dead Aero', belongs on a '70s sci-fi soundtrack. Edgy synth swells induce a creeping air of atmosphere as the track unfolds into a melodic ball of sonic energy. A truly wonderful finale to an interesting album. 'Here Lies' is brilliantly atmospheric and imaginatively experimental from a UK-based artist that I think everyone should check out at some point. His cinematic soundscapes are truly captivating and they deserve major plaudits from the wider electronic community. Bravo!

Half's website

Pre-order: 'Here Lies'

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