It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
An endeavour which involves the analysis of something about which I have no prior knowledge is always that much more of a challenge. It is also that much more refreshing to listen to something without any pre-conceived notions and this is exactly what I did with 'Hectic Zeniths.'
Hectic Zeniths, due for release early next year, is the work of bedroom producer and multi-instrumentalist Adam Prince. The first track succeeded in piquing my interest right away for its unusual choice of sounds. Though extremely down-tempo and almost reminiscent of something ‘Boards of Canada’ might produce minus the ‘disturbia’, it definitely manages to set a tone for the experimentation to come.
From here, Prince moves quickly into a more avant-garde space, making full use of beautifully syncopated beats, unusual synths and my personal favourite: pitched dollar-bin vinyl samples. The haunting vocals on several of the tracks (most interestingly placed in track number 3, ‘Curtain’ and the introductory track itself) are a quality addition though this might be simply because I’ve always had a bit of a weakness for similar vocal samples.
Many tracks on the album are reminiscent of ballads from a much earlier time but he’s produced them well enough that you’d hardly notice given that there's a fair amount of experimentation too. However, from a completely personal point of view as a pianist myself, I found the real ‘show-stealer’ in the album to be Prince’s original piano compositions (a fairly regular feature in most of the tracks and most excellent in ‘I Might Drown’), which show both technique and creativity.
He’s clearly had a lot of Western Classical influences and it’s interesting to see them show through in the trip-hop genre he’s affiliating himself with through this album.
I will give a fair warning to future listeners though--this is an album that needs to be heard as a whole. I made the mistake of lending an ear to a few teaser samples first and found the sound to be more confused than unique. However, the minute I gave it a chance to play out from start to finish, a new appreciation dawned on me as the album managed to evoke several genuine emotions.
Even more surprising was that by the end of it, I felt as though I had made a connection with the artist himself, discovering more with each passing track. This is an unusually large feat for any composer. That being said, I will also have to admit that I don’t think this is an album created or cut out for ‘mass appeal’ but it’s definitely worth a listen just to discover whether this sort of music is up your alley or not.
Probing into the meaning of Prince’s album name can sum up my entire opinion. It's an anagram for the German word, ‘Zeitschichten,’ meaning ‘Layers of Time,' and this collection of tracks really does represent elements of many different periods in music. From century-old classical bits to just-as-new electronic synths, he’s combined a unique mix of sounds and the result is both pleasing and refreshing.
While the entire album is only poised for release in January, a few tracks have been leaked so feel free to tickle your ears with these. Happy listening!
Here's our favourite track on the album, embedded right here for your listening pleasure:
-Pictures courtesy Adam Prince-
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