Friday, March 6, 2015
Album Review: Hunt Hunt Hunt Camp, "Light on a Landfill" (2014)
"A lot of great things I did not do/But there's nothing here to ruin."
Hunt Hunt Hunt Camp is Chicago-based Joseph Starita and whoever's around. For Light On a Landfill, Joe is joined by a cast of a dozen, aiding and abetting the cause with horns, guit-fiddles, keybs, beats and bleats. Time to take a short drink from an infinitely flowing fountain.
The fourteen songs comprising Light On a Landfill were recorded from 2011-2014, and the diversity of moods and textures I expected was indeed present. The inconstancy in quality I feared was absent. Result.
The pieces possess power of a peculiar sort, the most potent sort, in fact. The sort that sharpens the tongue rather than scrubs the throat. The type that uses the walls to test slap-echo rather than to discharge fury. Words are used first as weapons, for as long as the arsenal allows. The deceptively labyrinthine vineyard that opens the album ("Hellos") is also one of the record's standouts, along with "Handshake," a three-minute track consisting of two similar yet distinct acts: Mr. Starita on Doomsday, surrounded by the stutters and putters of a dying world; then, finally, the oceans beginning to boil.
"Missing Persons" is all open heart thumping underneath an aluminum cage, dangling just out of reach. And it has a fire-ass first line.
My favorite tunes come near the end: the gorgeous swaths of "Continental Blues" and the ultimate track, "Hunt Hunt Hunt Camp," what feels like (to me, anyway) a tale of survival in the immense outdoors, all splayed limbs, aching skull and treacherous heart. Harrowing covers it...well, most of it, I can still see the feet poking out.
There are abstract EVP echoes, tenderly-articulated tracks and songs that lean towards the more standard construction, all juxtaposed wonderfully under the auspices of an even-keeled oddball. Song after song, logic and emotion tussle to the soul's delight. There's hope for the analgesic addicts here as well. Some offerings ("K.I.L.L.S.," "Ginger Unit") hit my ears as Starita and crew making sound because they needed something to perch upon and gaze out from (or stand upon and dive down from). Others coated my brain like the tree-filtered sunlight hitting bay windows, spreading through a sparsely-decorated living area, blending the light blues and hard whites.
For the listener who loves to be pulled to, rather than pushed in, Light On a Landfill is worth a purchase. Not only for the music, but the unique packaging. Jesus, but do I appreciate effort ever more as the days go by.