Gnar Hest cover

Gnar Hest – Void Rider (Extreme Ultimate)

Can nothing stop BrGnar Hest coveristol’s experimental swami in 2015? Gnar Hest’s new album Void Rider should come with a note explaining “No instruments were harmed during the making of this album.” Everything you hear during its 35-minute duration is 100% synthetic and digital. Gnar Hest, AKA Matt Williams, created every note and sound sitting at his 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 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 for the end sequence and as 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 outdone himself, not just through composition, but through the scope of vision.

Void Rider is available now and limited to 150 copies on Extreme Ultimate.  You can purchase the album HERE.

[Rating:3.5]

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