Hardkiss – Delusions of Grandeur (Remastered 20th Anniversary Edition)
Twenty years? Has it really been that long? Doesn’t seem like it. And listening to this remastered edition confirms yet again how incredibly fortunate we were to be around at a time when so much excellent music was being produced. Seriously. Lucky or what?
The glorious ‘Daylight (Dreamerdreamsalone)’ gets it all going with a wonderfully funky opening of rapid fire percussion and lively bass before letting rip with a frantic sounding ‘Fools Gold’ drum sample. With the addition of suitably psychedelic vocal harmonies and swirling waves of warped synth, the result is a blissful synthesis of hard-grooving, trippy celebration. Awesome, as our American cousins would say.
There’s a considerably more nuanced inception to ‘Pacific Coastal Highway #1’ as the stodgy beat contrasts nicely with the introduction of some deft melodic synth, only for it to be shunted aside by chunky slices of undulating acid, sweeping orchestral synths and piano. This subsides briefly, as the delicate synth returns, only to be usurped again by the ballsy acid grind.
There was always a surreal quality to Hardkiss, the metamorphosis of their music (an admirable refusal to be ham-strung by convention) producing all manner of elements into a tune. ‘Out of Body Experience (Burning Spear) is a pleasing example. Beginning with tick-tack bongos and anxious high hat, the track gathers pace before segueing into a fairly intense, acid-techno throb, then alters direction again with a chopping rhythm before changing once more to a potent techno vibe.
Eccentricity comes to the fore in the relatively brief ‘Top Secret Song,’ bringing with it a fusion of languid dub techno, granulating bass, and aberrant noises and samples that swoosh, bleep, click and clack, in and out. It could have been a stoned mess but is put together so well that it becomes a remarkably cohesive, albeit off-beat, number.
Final track, ‘Thing (One)’ is sweet and tender, the appropriate denouement to the dynamic sounds that came before. The initial dogged beat quickly gives way to benign, squelchy acid, unhurried hand-claps, percussive beats and soft, deep bass. A fleeting interlude discards the acid before returning to it once more before all finally peters out.
Review by D