The cutting edge of innovative electronica, post-rock, down-tempo and future roots...
As the Chicago-based record label Hefty Records approaches its tenth anniversary, 'History Is Bunk: Collaborations, Reinterpretations and New Compositions' stands as a glorious representation of what the company has come to stand for. For those not familiar with Hefty, the independent label was founded in 1995 by John Hughes III (aka 'Slicker') and established itself as the home for innovative electronica, not to mention post-rock, IDM, down-tempo, jazz, hip-hop and future roots, constantly laying their emphasis on the mesmerizing sounds of the present and the future, this compilation sets out to show just what the future of music Hefty-style has to offer.
Yet your average listener, perhaps, might not be too convinced by this collection if they're not used to the kind of contemporary noise found here; as I slid the CD into my computer, I wasn't even sure what 'post-rock' and 'future roots' are, and from the first notes of Slicker's 'Russian Ice Slide' (with its sparse yet funky mix of quirky electronic blips and gentle pneumatic drill sounds, coupled with the kind of beeping warning noise a van makes whilst reversing) I instantly felt like I was looking on at a party that I really didn't belong at; that I simply wasn't cool enough to 'get' this kind of music.
But don't get me wrong, it's not all bad; L'Altra's 'The Last' is in fact beautiful, chilled out Americana, with an essence of Jeff Klein or Aqualung vocally, and bare strings that are soon made even more chilling by the ice cold electronics that fall like water droplets behind a steady dance beat.
However, the overall feeling that I'm left with when listening to 'History Is Bunk' is that this is a compilation to put on when you're not in the mood for music, but don't want to sit in silence; much of it is intriguing and mesmerizing, and there's an elegance and beauty in the freezing fire of 'Deluge'... but at the same time 'Deluge' and 'Paths In Soft Focus' could easily be elevator music, or the kind of slightly irritating music you're forced to listen to when someone puts you on hold.
Fans of chill out and electronica, and super-cool New York types will definitely be interested in this album, yet the rest of us who haven't quite reached this pinnacle of cool will probably be left a little bemused. However, those of you that fit into the first category, keep an eye open for Hefty artists promoting the release with tours throughout the year, not to mention a number of tenth anniversary celebrations in New York, LA, Chicago and Berlin.