The first time I watched HVOB live I had never heard a single one of their songs.
I stood in front of the stage at Cape Town Electronic Music Festival, completely blown away by the performance. It was, however, a few years later at Lighthouse Festival South Africa that I saw the full scope of what these artists are capable. Pressing play on the newly released Rocco took me back to that moment.
The first excursion into this release happens while I’m lying in the dark on my bed. The opening track has barely reached the half way point and I’m covered in goosebumps. Its been a while since any music has given me chills. But what’s even more alarming is that as I progress further into the album, my eyes start welling up with tears. The progression of this album, the way the song order is structured, the energy harnessed and the almost overwhelming sense of nostalgia is a heady combination that will get the better of even the most emotionally-sound consumer.
At an impressive 1h22min this album is a complex body of work to digest. And the most incredible part is that it’s not all straightforward dance music. There are ambient, moody and haunting reprieves throughout. Moments for us to catch our breath, or to shake ourselves awake from being entranced.
The video for ‘A List” was released a week before the album. South African filmmaker Jas Maciek Misewski was tasked with creating the visuals. Using 16mm and 8mm film footage shot between 1920 and 1960 by his great grandmother, he spliced together a storyline that matches the nostalgia and longing evoked in the song. There are moments when you feel like you’re part of the story, and the music is the soundtrack to that long forgotten part of your life. I don’t imagine any other approach would have done this song the same justice.
Both clocking over 8 minutes, ‘Eraser’ and ‘Butter’ are intricate and coercive without an inkling of tedium. I cannot tell you the last time I enjoyed a song of this length to completion. The ability to deliver surefire dark basement rave burners like this, amongst the rest of this album, further solidifies the unquestionable calibre of this collection of music.
For those who are still apprehensive about exploring the world of electronica, due to a long standing allegiance to “real music” as opposed to electronic music – I know you’re out there and cheating yourself of true magic. I recommend ‘Shinichi’ and ‘Bloom’ as they offer the most live feel and will serve as succinct transitional tracks when introducing yourself to this album. These tracks also have me itching to hear them live, so that I can be filled with pure euphoria.
Anna Muller is on the fast track to establishing herself as a timeless and iconic voice of the modern electronic music generation. And if HVOB continue to raise the calibre of their music, and remain on their steady trajectory, future generations will hold them in the same regard as we currently do with the likes of Lamb, Portishead, Massive Attack and Kruder & Dorfmeister. True pioneers who are unwaveringly confident in their identities, icons and inspirations who etched their place in the history of electronic music.
The album release falls comfortably amongst their crazy world tour schedule.
And with new dates being announced weekly, it is with great excitement that we are able to announce that HVOB will include South Africa on their world tour with shows in Johannesburg and Cape Town at the beginning of 2020.