Our Daily Bread 452: Andrew Hung ‘Devastations’

June 16, 2021

ALBUM REVIEW/Dominic Valvona

Andrew Hung ‘Devastations’
(Lex Records) 18th June 2021

Celestial hymnal choirs and star-lit corridors to the cosmos Andrew Hung dreams big on his first solo album in four years. The once in a lifetime, if not century, events of this pandemic have sparked something almost epic, all encompassing from the former Fuck Button foil turn soundtrack composer and trick noisemaker producer.

Whilst many are riven with anxiety and even anger, Hung looks to the universal, making awe-inspired scientific and personal connections as he gazes in wonder at the deep expanses of a space. That’s not to say there isn’t an air of longing, yearning and an almost Lydon like petulant sneer at times in Hung’s vocals too: a voice that often summons up hints of solo Mark Hollis, Karl Hyde, Eno and even The Cry’s Kim Berly. But this is essentially an emphatic-voiced release from Hung’s psyche; a reconciliation of ‘the dark and light within’ we’re told, played out to the gravitas of an anthemic cosmology.

Learning a thing or two about building up to the climax as a musical partner to Benjamin John Power in the progressive-Techno come Kosmische soundtracks (like Sven Vath in communion with Ash Ra Tempel, transmogrified by a noisy Basic Channel) Fuck Buttons duo, Hung now creates something far more organic and personal on Devastations. Much of this is down to the warmth of real instruments, from a vague Mediterranean flair and twirl of acoustic guitar, to the transient tingles of piano and live sounding slipped, cymbal splashed resonating drum kit. This is coupled with the spectral synthesized rays, tubular mechanics, light refractions and bended warps of the technological machine age to perfection on an album that navigates the inner mind and outer reaches of exploration. It seems a lot like escapism; a search for something: On the soaring star-bound wonder ‘Space’ Hung sings that, “perfection exists in space”. And it would be hard to argue with that, especially as he conjures up such epic journeys towards it.

The final frontier of course is a near blank canvas, still beyond comprehension. Hung plays to that scale and uncertainty whilst firmly attached to the all-too worrying stresses of terra firma. Different thematic frustrations, the changing of the guard, are cried out as the inevitabilities of time marching on regardless are breached with sympathetic wistfulness.

Hung creates soundtracks that both traverse sea-voyaging bobbing cosmic-Americana (‘Colour’) and dreamy candid soliloquies (on the Flaming Lips pal up with The Cure finale, ‘Goodbye’). A grandiose vision that esacapes the current miasma, Devastations, despite its title, is full of light emitting love and philosophical yearning; the propulsion of which is woven together from the fabric of the motorik, the kosmische , the Madchester crowd marooned in Ibiza during the late 80s, Freur, The Amorphous Androgynous and the best in progressive electronica.

Digging deep, Hung plows the universal and comes up with a most stunning, expansive solo album; a unifying call to reach beyond ourselves for what connects us. A sentiment we all need more than ever.

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

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