Somnambule - Writing About Music

Hu Vibrational ~ Beautiful

You’re reading this review on a website devoted to electronic music so why is a cd of entirely acoustic percussion duets being reviewed here?

Aren’t you ever tempted to take a break from the ceaseless vibration of electrons, the endless circling of circuits, the scurvy of glitches and the slow baking of microchips? Hu Vibrational are two artists of rhythm - Hamid Drake and Adam Rudolph - and the closest electricity comes to their music is in the quality of their interaction and the equipment used to record it.

50 minutes of percussion duets may not sound immediately appealing, but Drake and Rudolph focus upon grooves around which they improvise on a wide variety of instruments whose sounds are gorgeous to behold. They also add occasional dashes of a bass-like instrument, guitar on one track and so on. As they play, you can feel the vibration and tension of the drumskins, the flutter of wind travelling through a flute, the whirr of the kalimba. ‘Beautiful’ returns you to the source. The last couple of decades of popular music has concerned itself predominantly with rhythm and rhythm is the centre of Hu Vibrational’s music as well as the melodies which take shape within them, only it’s rendered and explored in real time with ancient, timeless instruments rather than sequencers, midi interfaces or oscillators.

‘Beautiful’ is revelatory - it’s like a cloudridden sky on a grey, miserable day rent apart and the sun shining right down on you. It’s like realising that you’re incredibly thirsty and having your thirst deliciously slaked by cool, clear water. It’s difficult to imagine anyone not loving this music. If you ever get to hear this album I wonder whether you’ll be able to stop yourself thrumming your fingers or tapping your feet, let alone dancing...
Colin Buttimer
March 2004
Published by Absorb