Hype Williams – One Nation

Hype Williams – One Nation
Hippos In Tanks: 2011

Have you ever bought a pair of jeans with premade holes and strategic areas of subtle fading? Hype Williams is a lo-fi, dub-influenced, electro-beat duo out of London—the pre-faded jeans of half-hop. Everything sounds like a tape cassette that sat on the dash of your car in the middle of July while you ran into 7-Eleven. Everything sounds warped and melting. But that’s why you’ll listen to it, because it sounds used, fermented and strangely appealing.

Roy Blunt (Roy Nnawuchi) and Inga Copeland (Karen Glass) open the One Nation album with the track “Ital”, which could also accompany a remake of the movie Mad Max, with a futuristic, post apocalyptic notion. Track two, “Untitled” confirms that notion with a soliloquy on the inescapable event of your death, saying in a heavy rasp “but of course everyone dies, and you will too.” It’s the heaviest vocal presence on the album, so it sticks with you throughout the rest of the album’s 13 solitary tracks.

The next track that really stood out was “Unfaithful”. It may or may not borrow a drum beat off a $30 Casio keyboard. It takes what some might consider a low budget sound, unworthy of a studio presence—and gives it a studio presence. This album is full of that balance between the masterfully mixed and low budget beats.

As a whole, One Nation is held together by an adhesive mixture of reverb and echo effects. Nearly every plucked string or struck key bounces around in your inner ear for what feels like too long. But the effects add to that overall pre-faded feel. It’s that micro delay that makes everything sound imperfect and noncommercial.

In the right setting you could dance to this music—or not move at all. It’s an open book of beats and mellow haunting grooves, which are flexible for the listener. The track “Jah” has a great vintage kung-fu funk vibe, great for hip Brooklyn studio dance gatherings. The tack “Warlord” is almost lo-fi, trance track—also great for people quick on their feet. But most of the album more suitable for that gray area between dancing and loitering.

This album is great at expressing a fluid sound through lackadaisical grooves, even when the grooves give you a slow head nod, with a drool covered lip and half closed eyes. It’s a nice way to spend a rainy afternoon, which is exactly what I did to finish the rest of mine. If you’re expecting something earth moving and unexpected, perhaps this is not the album for you. But if you’d like to take a slow smooth ride into something strange and ethereal, well then you’ve come to the right spot.

[audio:http://potholesinmyblog.flywheelsites.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Hype-Williams-Businessline.mp3|titles=Hype Williams – Businessline]
★★★☆☆
3 out of 5

One thought on “Hype Williams – One Nation”

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  1. Kara-Lis Coverdale|

    “It may or may not borrow from a $30 Casio Keyboard.” <– :o)

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