Unknown Hero 2017
Tripping into mindscape of endless possibilities and powers that be and that have always been there to feel the primacy of music.
SF can stand for both “San Francisco” and “science fiction” so there’s a little surprise in this artist’s attempt to link the two. As an electronica-minded multi-instrumentalist, Unknown Hero worked with a lot of talent, yet the world of his own is truly special, because it revolves around a tale worthy of a comic book, with music being a super power. The tale of planet Altarz’s toils and the characters who help Hero and try to stop him are outlined on the player’s website, but they come alive only on his debut album, where such a flight of fantasy spills over into the melange of genres that, without veering away from a dance galaxy and not strictly sticking to storytelling, is a vehicle for the listener to experience a great sonic vortex.
For all the record’s groovy slant, it starts with an acoustic strum of “Be Alright” whence Kate Wild’s sensual vocals draw spiritual wail, which would be spiced up by beats further on to take the desperately optimistic message to the stars, even though there’s no escaping the gloom as “Monsters In My Head” suggests in soft, soulful tones set against an almost orchestral background – sucking one in in the track’s instrumental reprise. As a result, the prevailing mood is sad, with the pseudo-flute-stricken throb of “Her Name” given emotional nakedness, albeit it ain’t aurally raw, while the baroque piano and strings behind “A Minor 2125” create immense cosmic depth and snippets of tribal chant shine like signs of life.
Along the way, the flow may become quite templated, yet the desert-disco likes of “One More Day” still possess alien allure. With handclaps propelling “Make It Happen” and the organ-ground “Going For A Ride” towards ambient fusion kind of bliss, and “Keep Moving Me” bouncing off infectious funk chords and curlicues which host a ghostly voice, there’s a lot to process and let it all seep under the skin until “Hero’s Groove” allows its dub to come to the surface and daub the space in warm colors. When the calm tones of “Close My Door” bring the whole trip home, quiet and joy descend on this planet from outer reaches that, ultimately, exist only in the artist’s head – but imagination has no limit, after all.