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K. Freund - Hunter on the Wing Music Album Reviews

K. Freund - Hunter on the Wing Music Album Reviews
A member of Trouble Books, Aqueduct Ensemble, and Lemon Quartet, Akron’s Keith Freund combines found sounds, acoustic instruments, and wonky electronics into evocative ambient miniatures.

For Keith Freund, even the most cerebral compositions sound humble, heartfelt, and homemade. As part of the Ohio indie-pop duo Trouble Books, Freund paired stories of domestic life (with his bandmate and partner Linda Lejsovka) with clean tones, muffled field recordings, and warbling electronics that felt delightfully subversive against the backdrop of the early-2010s twee explosion. As bands like A Sunny Day in Glasgow and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart found massive acclaim recreating underappreciated sounds from the past, Trouble Books took a sharp left turn, combining noise music, ambient experiments, and musique concrète with charming lyrics about stray cats, washing dishes, and houseplants. Just as Microphones songwriter Phil Eleverum started his career using unorthodox studio techniques to convey his love for the recording process, Freund and Lejsovka took comfort in wide-eyed eccentricity, building a sprawling universe out of their native Akron, Ohio—both with Trouble Books and as part of the regional community of acts like Talons’, G.S. Schray, and others on Freund and Lejsovka’s label Bark and Hiss Records.

In recent years, Freund has expanded his focus to explore other styles and genres with a growing number of projects: the self-professed “DIY shitty classical” of Lejsovka + Freund, the moody, ECM-adjacent jazz of Aqueduct Ensemble, and the smoldering solitude of Lemon Quartet, always finding the same warmth and delight as in his time with Trouble Books. On his second solo album (following 2011’s Constant Comments), Freund continues to explore new terrain within noise, jazz, and musique concrète, with an enthusiasm for the soundscapes of the American Midwest that feels wholly his own.

Billed as a collection of nine “sound objects” in the rich tradition of electroacoustic pioneer Pierre Schaeffer, the album combines tape loops, field recordings, and instrumental improvisation into a brisk assemblage of gently moving parts. “Aire 3” opens with a shuffle of incidental noise as a fluttering synth enters and the piece builds around sparse notes from a cello and upright piano. Though ostensibly in the same key, each part feels conspicuously designed to act independently; amateurish keyboard flourishes sound more like ringtones than jazz or classical music. Other pieces like “Nothing, I’m Just Listening to the Moon” and “Hunter on the Wing” orbit around small bits of looped tape, as melody and harmony slowly emerge from the background. The former track calls to mind the somber, cinematic compositions of Bing & Ruth and Harold Budd, while the latter leans more heavily on collected audio snippets and saxophone overdubs to flesh out an otherwise minimal track.

While Freund is certainly a capable performer, it’s his ear for arrangement and astute use of found sounds that really shines through. From his early days with Trouble Books, when crackling recordings of wind chimes complemented Rhodes chords, synth arpeggios, and introspective lyrics, Freund has routinely asked the question: What would the experimental music of Emeralds, Black Dice, and early Oneohtrix Point Never sound like if imbued with the self-reflection of the Microphones? In his departure from narrative songwriting, Freund has captured a similar intimacy in delicate sound collages. Tracks like “Aire 2” and “Wet Flag” derive their warmth from projector reels, thunderstorm recordings, and circuit-bent electronics.

The album isn’t completely instrumental. Two compositions include short spoken-word poems that find beauty in the Midwestern landscape. “Glimmering runnel over frost-wedged shale/Pulls a pop can tumbling,” Lejsovka intones on “Therm 2.” While her deadpan delivery calls to mind the dystopian satire of Holly Herndon’s “Locker Leak,” the poem offers something altogether separate from social critique. By contrast, it’s striking in the way it uses a small piece of Midwestern vernacular to new percussive ends, punctuating a natural scene with a strange regional inflection. On “Therm 5,” Lejsovka recites, “Hunter on the wing, walker at the key/I could’ve seen a stone dissolve in the wind and disappear, and it would not have surprised me.” Paired with steadily pulsing keyboards and swelling string loops that fall in and out of sync, the words feel like a defense of the subtle charms of small-town living, with a wide-eyed naturalism—or perhaps a magical realism—in place of provincial sloganeering.

For all of its romantic, secluded imagery, Hunter on the Wing feels broadly in tune with a recent impulse in ambient music that aims to capture the uncanny, sublime feeling of living through a moment of immense socio-cultural upheaval. Roughly two years since the COVID-19 pandemic first shut down restaurants, live music, and urban noise generally, our global acoustic ecology feels vastly different than in the days before the crisis. Armed with a Zoom H5 microphone or the iPhone’s default Voice Memos app, artists like claire rousay, Eli Keszler, M. Sage, and Andrew C.S. have used electroacoustic composition to address themes of politics, ecology, technological intimacy, and pandemic life in their work, enlivened by the changing soundscapes around them. Where artists like rousay and Sage may have once been drawn to the novelty of a digitally mediated, yet phenomenological trend like ASMR, these ideas have ultimately inspired a greater return to the world, one in which frog croaks and bird songs can feel as astonishing as the wonky synthesizers slathered throughout Freund’s work. These are strange times for ambient music, and Hunter on the Wing offers just about the furthest thing from a didactic explanation. But when Freund and his collaborators deliver yet another moment of bliss from a well-placed sample, it’s hard not to feel slightly more at ease.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
K. Freund - Hunter on the Wing Music Album Reviews K. Freund - Hunter on the Wing Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 Rating: 5

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