Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep: The Hungry I : "Birthday Ep" (ATF Products)

Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Hungry I : "Birthday Ep" (ATF Products)

The Hungry I is the work of the multi-talented John Stobler, who is also in possesion of a rather haunting voice. His vocals here, although softer-edged, echoes that of Muse's Matt Bellamy in more ways than one. But while 2006 has seen the music press literally falling over one another, praising Muse, I have been far from impressed. The title track of this ep could easily give anyhting Muse have done recently a run for its money.

In fact, Muse could do well here and take on board Stobler's approach to songwriting, because most of The Hungry I's tracks are bursting with ideas and are executed expertly. "Birthday", itself, seems to be split into three parts and requires a few listens to digest fully. It starts with A Portishead vibe and weaves along with some sort of fanfare keyboards. It takes an unexpected turn (the first of many on this ep) firstly with a Ninjatune style breakbeat and then moves swiftly into a piano and vocal segment that strongly recalls Muse.

Its also worth mentioning that there are some excellent production techniques throughout this track, especially with the filtered vocals. In short, "Birthday" comes across like Muse had they being put through and electronica blender. Its a unique mix, but one that works very well.

"Jaws of Love" follows and immediately bursts into an inspired bout of beat programming. Those aforementioned haunting vocals are intact here and reaffirm Stobler's talents. If anything, "Jaws of Love" is the strongest track on this release. It's atmospheric and reminiscent of a more upbeat Massive Attack. But not too upbeat, because this track still broods in all the right places, my only complaint being it lasts just 3 and half minutes.

"The Idiot" (Fat Benjamin Remix) ends this release. Althougfh it's not clear how much this had changed from the original, this remix sounds like one of those experimental Radiohead b-sides. There is even a guitar riff that summons the spirit of Jonny Greenwood.

Overall, fans of melodramatic rock and dark electronica will enjoy the "Birthday Ep". Each listen a new sound seems to be established. Listen through headphones and something different will reach out a grab you every time. You can stream some of The Hungry I's work here.

Rating = 74%

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