Hopen: We Are Singing For Hurrays (Arbouse Recordings, 2004)
Childe Grangier is an artist living in Geneva, Switzerland. His art is experimental and very eclectic. He utilizes samples, noises, loops, voices, and various instruments. This music, as it were, is not for the faint of heart. It is for those interested in the very, very experimental side of noise production. That being said, he is a great artist and brilliant at creating tension and ease throughout his work. What follows is my feeble attempts at trying to describe his work in words.
“Musique En Fon Cee” begins as if ushering the listener into a soundtrack for an eerie movie of sorts. Click and bleeps are spread throughout the track, with mingles of birds, insects, a loud fuzzy noise, dreamy keys and some almost scary vox. A clock eventually enters the picture. A voice eventually says, “This has to do with accident.” A 20’s big band sound repeats in the background. Eventually, electric guitar and spacey sounds with French samples is brought into the mix. I guess I am trying to communicate what is going on here so that you, the reader, can get a sense of the complexity in Grangier’s work. “Le Aue Conclue La Frequence” has a backbeat in it with a repeated voice sample, some piano, and various noises. There seems to be a theme here of courage and the ability to cope with hardship, both in the dissonance of the music and the voice samples.
“Watching Radio” comes on the heals of “La Frequence” and shoots the reader into a frenzy. It begins with a rave sort of techno sound and runs into jumbled noises. Then, it falls apart a bit and becomes dissonant percussive type sound with a mix of peaceful keys. Then, some backward looping takes over. This turns into a spacey, kind of soundtrack that could be in the background of an artsy, sci-fi short. “Sun is Moving Like a Ghost” is, well, an angry track with killer music in it and great sounds, like the ocean. This song does grate on the nerves in places because it is the same line over and over again. I would have liked some variance. “This is Not Here” begins once again with an infectious beat and fades quickly to guitar picking and mingled sounds. Then, it gives into a backbeat and some mumbling of French in the background.
“The Sun in the Son” begins with a wind-up child’s toy and has some other cranking sounds, kind of like a music box. This song also has a sort of backbeat, but it is more consistent. This is probably my favorite track on the album up to this point. It is certainly the most accessible song on the album. “Grasa Legend” begins with scratching, like in rap music, and ends with a low rumble. This also has a more accessible feel and has religious overtones in the samples. “Another Blind in the Sun” is a slow tempo song that begins with sparse percussion and some bass sounds. This, of course, falls apart into chaotic sounds, and then Grangier brings things back together again, moving from quiet to noisy throughout the song. “Ainhem for C.Rock” is a very moody piece that actually has peaceful moments in it. This song has some really nicely done, intricate percussion.
“Sound is a Sea” is another more ambient track with peaceful moments amidst the noise. Wind is mixed in with what sounds like a pilot speaking to his passengers with instructions and what the flight will be like that day. This evolves into laughter and a great, soft backbeat. “I Saw Your Ghost” is an interesting track in all and has the feel of the rest of the album until it hits a point where an acoustic guitar takes over with beautiful whirls in the background. This is a very soothing track.
I feel like I covered a lot of tracks, yet there are still more. I hope the reader gets a feel for Hopen. It is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it is brilliant in many places nonetheless.