In the aptly titled “Primær” Espen Hangårdmakes his debut in electronic music, turning his resources from the world of Metal to the alien distant planet of electronica for a punchy and slinky Electro album. Trading in his guitar and microphone for synthesisers and drum machines, after a lifetime of colluding with the dark forces in doom and trash metal bands of nefarious sorts, he makes his debut as a producer with a brooding and mesmerising take on the DIY electronic music genres.
Although Espen T. Hangård is possibly best known for his work as the lead singer and vocalist for NoPlaceToHide, he has been known to dable with the dark arts of electronic music, like that of his atmospheric doom metal side- project like Altaar.
“Primær” is an entire world away from any of Hangård’s previous musical works however, as a beat-orientated Electro LP,that yields some interesting curiosities, undoubtedly informed by his own musical history and experiences. The extended repetitive loop of “Es ist” takes the listener on an evocative journey through a breakfast TV aerobics workout after the short opener “16” Jupiter” to stake its claim in a late eighties musical palette.
Incisive percussive rhythms deliver bruising body blows as they pummel their way through the centre of track with a 303 bass line warbling away in the foreground with dynamic flair. This opening track deceives however, because beyond “Es Ist” we find more fuller arrangements than the stark opener.
Brooding synthesisers romanticising about melodic synth wave hooks, prance above ferocious gnarling bass-lines and skipping break-beats. Somewhere between DMX Krew and Depeche Mode, Espen T Hangård’s music lives. Each track makes its own particular statement and besides “Es Ist” they only stay long enough to make their mark and then hand it over to the next. The soundscapes are lifted straight off the eighties program patch these synthesisers arrived with, while the beats run through systematic patterns like an old binary computer. It’s in the way Hangård combines them in which they find that ineffable charm.
“Turbo” and “Left Hand Pad” are some of the more memorable moments on the record and are very much composed like songs with melodies that require something a little more than one note. Arranged through distinct phases, Hangård applies some craft to the electronic domain on “Primær” and the result is an album that lasts beyond a functional design or the instant moment. These and the small imperfections Hangård allows to linger on from the recording process, gives “Primær” a particular hand-crafted sound that does away with any posturing. It’s laid bare for the listener to take from it what s/he will.
Primær doesn’t break any new ground nor does it try to assimilate genres in tactless promiscuous ways in order to consolidate the artists other musical projects. It’s just a good solid electro album from somebody that has been a long time fan of electronic music.