Hifiklub, teamed up with Soundgarden legend, Matt Cameron, during the Covid-19 lockdown and brought in jazz trumpeter, Reuben Lewis, to add his signature to their latest collaboration project. Avant-garde enthusiasts and readers of Wire magazine are already talking it up at their hipster cafes as they discuss how to source fair trade coffee beans in their trendy city suburbs, but what about us folk from outside the cosmopolitan bubble?
Forget that Hifiklub are French and experimental. Dismiss your prejudices and admonish your instincts for thinking them pretentious. This is spell-binding music – part electronica, part ambient, grounded in jazz improvisation and hypnotic psychedelia. Rupture is that record you name drop when you want to impress somebody with your sophisticated tastes. Hey, I don’t just listen to Megadeth and Pantera, you might say when you look into the eyes of the woman who shows you more than five seconds of interest as you sip your glass of wine at a house-warming party.
At twenty-five minutes in length and split into six segments, Rupture is not a record you can play on shuffle. The band advise to listen to it as one piece, and who are we to argue? After all these are jazz musicians and composers from France, the country that gave us post-modernism. This is designed to transport you to another realm where the human psyche can experience new realities.
Transcendence is the order of the day here. Think of an autumn day in the countryside with the drizzle and the shrubbery leaves and scent of wet tree bark on the tip of your nostrils. No breeze exists and the sweat on your forehead is a sign that your energy levels need a boost. Rupture is the music to convince you that floating home for the remaining five miles of your journey is a realistic possibility. That faint keyboard drone that permeates through most of the album is your catalyst. The monotone key of the Tangerine Dream synth bass rumbles along like your state of euphoric tiredness. But then you start to swagger. Is this a darker version of Pink Floyd? Why does it go all Mike Patton weird at 06:35 and evolve into a progressive industrial ensemble like something from Nine Inch Nails’ The Fragile? Fans of the debut Leftfield album are in for a treat.
But we need something to keep us going and this is where Reuben Lewis comes in with his trumpet. We now crave an outer body experience. Give us some dreamy brass posturing to keep us on the righteous path towards self-discovery. The climax arrives with the synth loop at the 14-minute mark. You touch the sweat on your forehead and marvel at your perspiration. It is proof your whole life was a rehearsal for this point in time. If you never touched hallucinogenic drugs until now, then, here is the time to consider them.
Like any experience, the potency wears off after repeat engagements, but Hifiklub are worth your time. Matt Cameron’s contribution is minimal and not even a footnote in his illustrious career as the drummer of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. But this is about the individual and their interpretation of the immediate reality. It could be anyone behind the instruments and mixing desk. Who cares? It’s all about the music, man. This is captivating stuff.
Release Date: 31/07/2020
Record Label: Electric Valley Records
Standout tracks: N/A
Suggested Further Listening: Nine Inch Nails – The Fragile (1999), Leftfield – Leftism (1995), Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993)