HULK: Rise Of A Mystery Tide (Osaka Recordings)


Posted on Jul 28th 2008 12:45 am

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Hulk: Rise Of A Mystery Tide

Rise Of A Mystery Tide
Osaka 2008
11 Tracks. 45mins22secs

This Hulk has very little to do with the Marvel Comics monster with serious ADHD issues, apart perhaps for a definite colour affinity, as Thomas Haugh hails from Dublin, capital city of the Republic of Ireland, a country as green as the aforementioned bully boy. In fact, Hulk’s debut album, Silver Thread Of Ghosts, was a moving assemblage of delicate found sounds and guitar textures together with orchestral brushes, set into drone-like formations, light years away from the enraged spirit of the Marvel character.

Before joining the ranks of Irish imprint Osaka Recordings, Hulk appeared on Static Caravans with his debut single, Fixed Star Day/The Sea Is Mute, The Waves Are Hymns in 2002, and consequently went on to have material featured on compilations released on Expanding and Melodic. Silver Thread Of Ghosts was released in 2005. Since, very little has been heard from Haugh, but eighteen months in the making, Rise Of A Mystery Tide has finally landed.

This new album is set very much as a continuation of Haugh’s previous work. Haugh provides bowed guitars, found sounds and organ, assisted by a much more developed orchestral formation, involving cello, violin, viola, bass clarinet, oboe, cor Anglais, bassoon and flugelhorn. While the drone forms are still very much at the core of this album, the soundscapes are texturally richer and more evocative. There is, very much like on Silver Thread, a feeling of great consistency throughout, with soundscape clusters seemingly developing across a range of tracks, but there are more nuances and greater overall depth in the sound formations. At times, Haugh flirts with hazy shoegaze ethereal density, especially on Gate Of Orion, where the intricacy of sound is so that it becomes difficult to isolate any particular instrument. On Another Icarus, and later, Sending Armadas, Haugh creates dense structures which, while rich with orchestral textures, display a darker mood and appear somewhat more mournful than the rest of the compositions. Golden Bow is another complex and intricate piece which is centred on a series of rhythmic patterns which ebb and flow throughout the tracks, but these occasionally clear to reveal a sub rhythmic loop based on the sound made by a bow hitting and bouncing off strings.

Elsewhere, Haugh deals with much more minimal structures. On the short Capricornus for instance, the layering is so light that each instrument takes it in turn to gain prominence around the melancholic howl of a cello, and Century Swell, which closes the proceedings, seems to take a similar concept and develop it to full effect. Song For A Sleeping Giant, which follows, is more layered, but there is a similar feel of minimalism running through the piece. Album opener We The Burning Night is another composition which, despite its multiple instrumental layers, remains minimal and nuanced in structure.

With this second full length effort, Hulk has developed a much more mature and rich sound, which takes a few listens to fully appreciate. Rise Of A Mystery Tide was apparently developed around themes of dreams and emotions within dreams, and the resulting work here is, often, very dreamy and lyrical itself, but the sonic depth and detailing also make it a very focused and accomplished record.


Hulk (MySpace) | Osaka Recordings
Buy: CD | iTunes

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