High Alpine Hut Network: 727/16

Canadian octet generates considerable interest from familiar resources including electronics and fuzz guitar

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Ansible Editions is a new label based in Canada, offering a variety of experimental and improvisation-orientated music, and High Alpine Hut Network’s 727/16 is both the label’s first ever release and the band’s debut album.

High Alpine Hut Network, or HAHN, were initially a house-music group, but as their interests in musical experimentation widened, and with the addition of other musicians, their focus shifted to exploring improvisation and spontaneity in their recordings. The release consists of two tracks, 727 and 16, in total just over 20 minutes of music, mixing together a variety of genres and creating something very unique.

Squelching electronic noise fades in as the album opens, and as a faint melody begins to echo in the distance, bass, drums and percussion start a dissonant but distinctly funk-based rhythm. Psychedelic electric guitar enters followed by horns, creating a dense and energetic soundscape. At points the ensemble drops away, letting a dry acoustic drum kit or a saxophone fill the space alone, and around the midway point the atmosphere shifts to a more tranquil, ambient style, with a repeating, grooving bass line and gritty but not distorted guitar playing a fast jazz-rock riff, followed by an electronica/dance style rhythm over which saxophone improvises.

The second track, the 16 of the 727/16, is the slightly longer of the two, and also initially leans toward funk with a bass groove, tight drums, and a modulated guitar drenched in fuzz, joined later by saxophone. The electronic dissonance persists throughout, adding an unconventional edge to what becomes a psychedelic jazz rock meltdown, with a looser, more improvised feel compared to the previous track.

With an emphasis on improvisation, High Alpine Hut Network offer exciting and thought-provoking tracks, drawing on both vintage and modern influences, and have created an incredibly interesting and imaginative album.

Discography
727; 16 (20.12)
Christopher Shannon (b, elp, pc, syn); Benjamin Pullia (syn, pc); Jason Bhattacharya (elp, pc, d); Robin Hatch (elp); Tobin Hopwood (elg); Joseph Shabason (ts); Lauren Runions (pc); Nathan Vanderwielen (pc, syn). No location, no date.
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