just to tell you The Hunter Gracchus LP is now out
you can listen 2 tracks here:
here are also few reviews:
Volcanic Tongue (december 08)
Debut vinyl release from this excellent Sheffield-based improvised/psych/out unit with personal/aesthetic connections to the amazing Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides. The Hunter Gracchus is a revolving collective centered on a performance space in Sheffield that features Jon and Fiona who run the Singing Knives imprint alongside Kamran Ali (aka Harappian Night Recordings)and sometime Tirath Singh Nirmala/John Clyde-Evans collaborator Ross Parfitt. The sound is kinda similar to Part Wild Horses in that the group play free-jazz influenced fourth world trance music using percussion, strings, small instruments and crude folk melodies, though the overall sound has more to do with the kinda abstruse post-punk/jazz strategies of ensembles like The No-Neck Blues Band, some of the more dilated Finnish communal workings and even the early, acoustic Shadow Ring. Something is definitely happening in Sheffield after many years of studying and working with the form and it’s exciting to think that there are finally the stirrings of a convincing post-Vibracathedral Orchestra underground scene in another corner of the UK. Bring it on. Highly recommended.
The Wire (january 09)
The sacred object of the title is a mummified hare fetish belted into a wooden contraption. Meanwhile, The Hunter Gracchus take their name from a short story by Franz Kafka, and their music from a variety of indigenous sources, perhaps of Bedouin extraction, decorated with Balkan overtones. This submersion into a mythological dreamscape has allowed the group to escape from suburban Sheffield via an exotic sound mirage. The Hunter Gracchus's artful combination of hypnotic percussion, acoustic strum, frayed vocals and desert drone coagulates into a series of altered state anthems (bearing titles like "The Blood Never Dried", and the more flamboyant "In The Soft Typewriter Of The Womb You Do Not Know The Word Armour You Carry") that merge blurred reality with fully focused fantasy.
Foxy Digitalis (october 08)
Landing out of nowhere and traversing historical sonic planes with freeform light-speed, The Hunter Gracchus arrived at my desk. Continuing the recent leaking tap, (so obscure and secretive no one seems to have really cottoned on yet), of European free-music, folk and psych that has been seeping into the underground, Hunter Gracchus sound both fresh and devastatingly contorted. Listening to the fragile and intoxicating sounds generated by The Hunter Gracchus, your surroundings are skewed into displacement. When describing the output and production of sound experienced on the record, HG used the foundation of non-studio based recordings, stating 'where the microphone's presence seems inconsequential to the performance you hear and its placement is determined more by remaining inconspicuous than maximising fidelity.' This is a keen observation and sits well with the overall experience that the collective creates. Spatial awareness is delivered through raga styled drones, but also, more inventively, through anarchic freeform playing. HG also site the Bedouin music recorded by Deben Bhattacharya and the Vibracathedral Orchestra as having influenced their sound; this alludes to what you will hear, but be prepared for a unique sound-world, all of its own (and straight out of Sheffield!)
An abundance of acoustic instruments are blown, strummed and plucked alongside inventive percussion that clangs both traditional and (seemingly) found objects. The improvised nature has a difficult narrative that paddles murky water through perilous terrain. This is imagined through the music, but also signified through lengthy and descriptive song titles, e.g. 'Elkadia Priests' Ransacking of the Pnac Offices'. A mythology is an adequate accompaniment to a challenging and overwrought listen. There are moments where the peaceful rolling of hypnotic free folk is suddenly disrupted by chaotic, (close to a nervous breakdown), improvised attack. The de-tuned gypsy-shanty of the final track on Side A, twists and turns like a serpent of rust and soiled canvas. The tort strings scrape and roll in unwavering tones that arch beyond the inevitable outcome one might assume, (then again this is the point of freeform music).
Side B has pastoral marches with Balkan overtones that allude to foreign tradesmen and portside harlots. This has a similar disjointed glow that fans of Lauhkeat Lampaat will immediately warm to. This has a similar, yet rawer, feel to the recent Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides record. The record displays a combination of deep folk understanding, along with a distinctly western European ability to juxtapose misery and hope. The closing track hits a fantastic high with a mix of subtlety, drone, vocal wavering and distortion. The sounds implode in glorious sonic hollers that over lap and consume themselves in the form of an Ouroboros. 8/10
Peter Taylor, 22nd October 2008