Tag Archives: Hunter-Gatherer


Falling behind. I could throw out the ‘so busy’ excuse – writing for various print things and editing a print thing in college (print being similar to a blog but on actual paper, if you’ve never encountered it) – but that’s mostly crap, I just sleep too much. Coming up soon, though, a 5,200 word Kevin Barnes interview transcript and maybe some new form of Irish music exposition gimmick.

Anyway, I went to see Hunter-Gatherer’s 7″ launch in Whelans. Missed Ilex, which is a bad thing because Ilex is really good, heady, beat-counting electronica from my memories of her, and seeing her again would have been nice. Arrived in time to see Meljoann though.

Meljoann’s an interesting one. She seemed, as people do every now and then, to come out of nowhere, making what Nialler was calling skweee and what (according to Meljoann in the last Totally Dublin – one of those ‘various print things’) Glasgow calls aquacrunk and America calls ‘post-Dilla’. Bristol calls it wonky, I think. Thinking about where she sits, musically, is a good thought experiment. She’s heavily into 80s and 90s R’n’B, in too deep for it to be dismissed as ironic even if it was, and that shows through. But she’s au fait with all this stumble-beat electronica coming out at the moment too. Is she knocking around the halls of what the current face of electronic music is putting out, or is she a strange hipster iteration of retro black pop?

She’s probably neither. She doesn’t exactly have her shit as watertight live as might be ideal, but she’s still someone to watch, musically. Her voice is great and her ideas are good. To me, it seemed like she came from somewhere completely outside the Dublin Osaka-y electronic scene and seemed to be isolated, but apparently there’s lots of this stuff. That’s a good thing, I think, and Meljoann’d make a good leader for it if she reduced the amount of time between songs.

Then there was Hunter-Gatherer. In the admittedly extremely microcosmic Dublin scene worldview I possess, he’s already at the top of the pile as far as electronic music goes, and I Dreamed I Was A Footstep In The Trail Of A Murderer is one of the best Irish albums of the last while. His live shows are always incredibly intense, but it always feels like there’s one thing missing that stops it being the fully great experience it could be, and it’s never Hunter-Gatherer’s fault.

This time it was crowd talk. But outside of that, the bass was all-consuming, the screen for the visuals made him look a bit like a ghost before the visuals started, the visuals when they started were just the right type of nonconfluential, I felt, and the songs are, obviously, great. Some day I will see Hunter-Gatherer at six am in a pitch black empty section of piping in Berlin or something, and it will be the greatest gig ever. For now, these shows are more than enough to keep showing up to.



The Year. 10-9

10. Burywood – There Exists An Abstraction Ladder [US]

This album’s from nowhere, but it synthesises everything. Philip Woodbury is one guy, hype-free, from Austin, Texas, very clearly a fan of music, and of the ‘alt’-sphere in general. “One of us”, I really, really hesitate to say but will say anyway. One of us. So he absorbs it all, the iPod-enabled volumes of music. And he churns it out in new, various ways. Northward is an explosion of distorted drums, and Denton Desert Island is the opposite, reflective and soft, but the thoughts are clear in both. This is not obscure music. It’s serious, self-assured, shooting for a place in the tapestry that its provenance (home-recording, usual story) might not automatically allow it. The people it borrows from – the studied melancholy of Stephin Merritt, or the masterful instrumentation of Kevin Barnes – are the geniuses of the scene. Time might prove Philip Woodbury to be in that company, but whether it does or doesn’t, There Exists An Abstraction Ladder feels like an arrival of something serious.

Ian Thrill Pier is responsible for unearthing this, and here‘s where you can hear what it’s like.

9. Hunter-Gatherer – I Dreamed I Was A Footstep In The Trail Of A Murderer [IRL]

There is music that works on a literal level, that holds you by the shoulders and tells you to your face what it wants to say. After all, everyone relates to a human voice, whether they can understand the story being told or they just appreciate the passion and the melody.

But somewhere below that verbal, literal level, there is music that works in a different way. Music that doesn’t conjure up images of your last girlfriend so much as it reminds you of the feeling in the pit of your stomach when you broke up. It’s ambient music, music that says nothing but somehow means everything. That’s what Hunter-Gatherer does. He once claimed it to be his ultimate ambition “to make a piece of music that could make someone cry.”

That sounds likes a grisly aim for a musician, but it is the dark quality that makes it such a captivating album to listen to. “Left For Dead” sounds like a thunderstorm on a cheap conservatory roof, ominous and all too conscious of the futility of human artifice. “Memory Pillow” is zoned-out, anhedonic half-sleep. The highlight, “The Salivation Army” has the added benefit of being up-tempo enough to sustain some existential techno dancing, if you have imagination enough to consider what that would entail.

At fifteen songs, the album runs the risk of being too long to maintain attention, but the subtle changes in mood stave off any chance of the tracks blending into each other. The only danger, really, is that, listening late at night on headphones as the music nigh demands, you would fall asleep and suddenly find yourself seeing the nightmare tones come to life.

This review is verbatim from Issue 6, Trinity News, who nicely let me away with this sort of thing regularly. Hunter-Gatherer interview from here and one with Dan.

Interview Project #9: Hunter-Gatherer


Hunter-Gatherer is an electronic artist who makes the music of the sultry night. The kind of music you toss and turn to, where you zone in and out of sleep, awake but caught up in your own half-dream visions. You might find him at The Box Social, wearing a robe and conjuring melancholy but never focusless electronica from his laptop. My ears are unschooled as programmed music goes, but there is occasionally something of the anhedonic warmth of Kid A/Amnesiac Radiohead and the obscurantism of Plaid in this. There are links to various EPs through MySpace, and you can look forward to an album in late 2009.

Hunter-Gatherer – I Dreamed I Was A Footstep In The Trail Of A Murderer Hunter-Gatherer – Memory Pillow

Q 0.5 How are you?


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Box Social in pictures

Last Saturday, the Box Social celebrated its tenth gig with a mini-festival stretching from mid-afternoon to late night and taking in everything from the could-not-be-further-off-kilter Ewa Gigon‘s vocal loops and semi-spoken word admonishments to an acoustic set from Crayonsmith, a doo-wop set from Patrick Kelleher, a great sitting room show from Hunter-Gatherer and some feral music from Children Under Hoof. Plus loads more. Here’s a few pictures by Laura Gilsenan to either show you what you missed or remind you of what you saw:

Ewa Gigon

Ewa Gigon

More after the jump

Saturday at the Box Social

So on Saturday I made the pilgrimage to the Box Social in the alluringly mysterious venue of “Behind No. 236 South Circular Road”. Sure enough, when you make it to 236 South Circular Road, you are met with a sign on the door telling you, conspiratorially, to go round the back. Some secret business that can’t happen in front of the eyes of the masses.

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