Painted Girl - Familiar Trees of the North West
Familiar Trees of the North West
May 22, 2022
CUES VOL. 1 starts with rough background noise that makes way for piercing sharp synth tones. These descend in a stark, slow melody. Rain beats against the mix behind the trawling notes. But as the downfall fades out, Hollow Comet brings in echoed and unnatural vocals providing a sharp contrast in texture. These voices haunt the outer regions of the mix with the eerie presence of occult ritual as the synth notes continue to dominate the centre with their ominous tune. The opener is harsh and bleak. Motorcycle Lights stands at the front of this collection of songs and does quite a bit to prepare us for the heavily atmospheric music that will follow on from here.
Sometimes begins on a lighter note but shares this same crisp and clear sound as the track before. Synth pad sounds creep through a revolving loop that begins to feel statuesque as melodies cushion it. The pads overwhelming power proves too much for the main sample as it is gradually submerged in thick squarewave tones. This exchange is brought to a sudden halt, the artist playfully shifting the listener along from what was evidently a very enrapturing moment.
Nikon starts with an unassuming sunset pad. Suddenly drums begin to catapult up and down the mix with a rhythm and sound reminiscent of the darker garage of the early 00s. Again, spectre-like voices sing over each other just out of intelligible ear shot. Hollow Comet’s drum sequencing is impressive and makes the short track infectiously rhythmic.
Mad Tom finds a muffled loop sitting just underneath a hissing equalisation. Glassy, reverberating melodies begin to slide in. An unlikely guest spot from Tom Cruise finds him losing his cool with an Australian reporter from an interview in 2005. The exchange is placed in an oddly emotive position within the track, soundtracked by swelling instrumentation. Is the inspiration for this track pulled from Tom Cruise’s manically focused persona? Is it just an interesting piece of sound thrown on top? Hollow Comet’s incredibly production abilities reveal little of his intention.
Bad Translation hears beautiful piano tripped encased somewhere in the distance. They pulse and move fluidly, residing somewhere out of clear earshot. Warm strings rise from the floor of the mix to the left side of the listener, giving a touching augmentation to the melody. Vocal samples begin to scatter across the mix as the artist slowly unveils a rich palette of sounds and textures. Sped up vocals escape a hiding place, sounding like a crisp garage sample trapped in a washed out ether. Halfway in and each track has illustrated a pure and rewarding emotive feeling. The tracks seem to soar with a warm melancholia.
Look Down Towards the Street hears a crooning guitarist pitched down to the point of bellowing. Synth pads trickle in, and an explorative panpipe melody seems to try to jump and twirl as high and as gracefully as it can. Hollow Comet fills the mix with interjecting vocal samples and random snippets of background noise. The style is so engaging but in a wonderfully subtle way.
Lou finds the artist taking a more structured, almost synthwave direction. The heavy set drums providing a strict rhythmic guide rope for the instrumentation to follow along. The melody is gentle and seamlessly drifts into a more upbeat sequence momentarily before falling back into the infectiously paced main section.
Memory of the City brings us to the end. The sounds of life around us creep in once again. A dramatic synth lead melody floats above. It plays a slightly off tune melody, the jaunted nature of the pitch providing this wonderful organic feeling to the instrument. The track, and the tracks of CUES VOL. 1 in general seem to achieve so much in such a short runtime. The melody encased within this conclusion feels like it flies majestically for much longer than its 2-minute runtime.
The 8-track collection is a fantastically short yet rewarding insight into Hollow Comet. The artist manages to lather each track in such an incredible atmosphere. His style hangs in between labels and genres, flirting with aspects of ambient, garage and many other styles. The result is a beautiful and touching volume of work.
Purchase/listen in full here: http://hollowcomet.bandcamp.com/album/cues-vol-1