Drifters/Love is the Devil
Dirty Beaches = Nicolas Jarr + Suicide
Alex Zang Hungtai’s last LP, Badlands, offered a raw combination of looped drone cymbals among distorted shouts and instrumentation. There were even some ’50s-based romantic tunes. His energy as a musician was undeniable, albeit oftentimes negative and fierce. What he gives us on this album is a balance that lacked on the last. The remnants of Badlands can be heard in the dark rock of Drifters’ first few tracks. The rest of this double LP shows Hungtai channeling that fierce energy into something beautiful, beginning with “ELLI.” Elements of drone are still present, but the sound is spaced apart and song structure becomes irrelevant. Instead, musical landscapes are created while taking their time to unfold. The results are pleasing and insanely cinematic. By focusing more on sound than instrumentation, Hungtai has reached an artistic plane that can’t be imitated.