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Artist: Andy Hunter
Label: Nettwerk

Andy Hunter has been through some changes over the last couple years. He's a daddy now, and being conscious of what he wants to leave as an
environmental legacy to his progeny, he figures green prominently into the Colour scheme of his latest longplayer.

Thankfully, instead of Al Gore's documentary film-making team and  owerPoint, Hunter has what clubbers and others who want dance beats behind
their praising and worshipping have come to love from him--music to move feet and spirits.

Unlike past releases, however, he doesn't offer one long, continuous mix.  nd there are more songs with the kind of verse-and-chorus structure that
would better suit U.S. pop radio (and its Christian counterpart, even if he's no longer signed to a label in that market). Yes, Hunter's another DJ/producer/remixer type who has taken the plunge of recording an "artist" album.

Hunter beats the odds, laid down by forebears such as Paul Oakenfold and DJ Rap, by making a good example of such an album. It doesn't hurt that
he has some friends to help him in that effort, too.

Some of those pals listeners may know from Hunter's cohorts in the English sanctified dance music scene. Shaz Sparks of DBA waxes pretty on the
glistening thump of "Shine," while Cathy Burton kicks "Fade" into a fiercer gear.

He gets his son in on the act in the most enviro-conscious number, the techie "System Error," and Hunter even brings in someone possibly old
enough to be his kid's grandpa. Midge Ure, who provided the U.K.'s early '80s new romantic movement with one of its more enduring artifacts via his
lead vocals on Ultravox's "Vienna" and chimes in on the lustrous "Smile." In a similarly pop vein, Mark Underwood helms "Stars" (co-written with
Hunter by Sparks' other half in marriage and DBA, Robbie Bronniman, as is much of the album).

At his best, the lyrics point elliptically toward redemptive themes, perhaps best exemplified by D'Morgan's go at the set's most explosive jam,
"Technicolor." Elsewhere, Hunter employs mantric slogans ("Sound Pollution") or empties a couple of short sentences to summarize something
momentous as his boy's birth ("Miracle").

And Hunter doesn't sacrifice danceability for his more profound depth. As he relies less on the translucent trance sound that built his rep, he
plumbs more into breakbeats and various house music textures. His diversity works pretty well throughout, too.

Hunter's lack of Christian label backing doesn't indicate that he can no longer be appreciated by his kin in faith. His is a more metaphorical
approach that works with those who have ears to hear. The rest of anybody's body should be moved regardless of whether they share his faith.

Jamie Lee Rake 
July 15, 2008

This CD marks a definite sideways shift in DJ Andy Hunter’s progression, but he still makes dance music for people who didn’t know they could love dance music. He continues with the trancy, driving, whole-person instrumental tracks, and a few with just a hook-line of vocals, but has added more complete songs. This may open him up to a wider audience, without alienating those who love the energy and textures of his keyboard work.

If there is a typical Hunter' piece, it lasts six or seven minutes and starts with a wafty, multi-layered synth wash, before an addictive beat kicks in. It builds, the beats break, then crash back. All the time textures weave in and out of the music as layers come and go. The end mirrors the start as it winds down, but when it has finished, the hook has been firmly lodged in your mind. You may well feel more alive than before you played the track. 

But Hunter is no formalistic. Three of the first four tracks show very different slants to his art. Opener “Sound Pollution” is close to the typical trance from his previous two offerings with an orchestral feel to the beginning and just enough words to add a hook. Then comes the gorgeous “Stars” – a piece of pure, perfect pop-with-attitude, in which Hunter’s keyboards dress up as mock classical piano and orchestra to give a sheen of class, while synth lines dance with exultation over the bass beats, some almost sounding human. Typically, the whole dynamic range gets to come out and play. “Miracle” is a first for Hunter o as it gives a slower, deeper vibe thanks to the inimitable low growl of D Morgan. He puts such atmosphere and feeling into his line that you’d imagine anyone else covering it would be as pointless as trying to replace Barry Ryan’s unsurpassed classic “Eloise” vocal. The whole track shines. To hear it is like swimming in an ocean of kaleidoscopic rhythms, beats, percussion, synths and musical colour.

With “System Error” he goes for a denser, more industrial sound. After 90 seconds, the hook line powers in, along with programming and deep washes, again kept fresh by break beats. It is what dance music should be, making you want to leap from an explosion of life-loving joy.

“Technicolour” is ironically the most monochrome of all the tracks, depending largely on some denser beats that really slap down. D Morgan shows the range of what he can do here, on a track that captures the essence of the difference that God can make: 

            You pulled me through into the light, locked in your gaze.
            I feel alive. I’ve shed my skin, learnt from the pain.
            Reborn from within. Reality changed.

Faith is conveyed infectiously, by invitation, rather than by force of words. The disc’s climax “You” is a simple theological statement that never adds any words past “You are the one / The one in three / Three in one / Infinity” yet it makes its point about who is giving the life that fizzes and bursts throughout the disc like Space Dust does on the tongue.

You could say something about every piece, whether it’s the way that Hunter wraps an appropriately post-Europop style around Midge Ure’s vocal on “Smile” that hints at where Ultravox might have been if they lasted to the new Millennium; or the couple of tracks (especially “Sapphire”) that echo the lush melodies and sharper lead lines of Vangelis.

Hunter is a class act, who has an intuitive sense of atmosphere. He now occupies the same territory as Moby and has just as much talent. This disc should not just win him plenty of new fans, but also get them checking his back catalogue. 

Derek Walker

For interview click Here 


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