On its last four albums, the Lucerne-based band Hanreti has stood for reduced, sensitive pop music. At the same time, the band always showed that it is open to new influences and new ideas, as long as it can remain atmospherically dense at its core. Now the all-male quintet has released their new album, and it’s wonderful in the best sense of the word that “The Afterdark” came out on the same day as the news from researchers about the discovery of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance — which sank in the Weddell Sea in 1915 during the expedition of the same name — went around the world.
The coincidence is worth mentioning because photos from the expedition were the inspiration for Hanreti frontman and songwriter Timo Keller for the new album. Keller describes having been tinkering with the idea writing songs not vertically “like clockwork,” but horizontally, so to speak, by developing multiple layers of music and then layering them on top of each other.
The idea of patterns in music is not new; Zurich pianist Nick Bärtsch has made it to world fame in the jazz scene with the horizontal orientation of his compositions. But in pop, it’s very unusual. And all the more exciting. Especially since, for Hanreti, images of Antarctica with its endless icy expanses remained the tone-setting inspiration for all eight songs on “The Afterdark”. Accordingly, the texts also tell of the loneliness of the large spaces and the arrogant claim of people to want to claim these spaces for themselves.
Musically, the songs of “The Afterdark”, strongly supported by synthesizer sounds and rhythmically concise, remind us again and again of earlier synth luminaries like Tangerine Dream, The Alan Parsons Project and of course Vangelis, who himself composed the soundtrack to the film “Antarctica” in 1996. The moods of the songs on “The Afterdark” sometimes recall those of old Pink Floyd or Mike Oldfield tracks: beautiful, dense and (the expression fits here) extensive.
“The Afterdark” is not just music: a film in which the band’s five members move through polar landscapes in search of scientific samples is just as long as the album. Three-dimensional animation, virtual reality and real images blend into a new whole. An equally acoustic and visual adventure trip. Ernest Shackleton would have enjoyed it.
Advance notice: Record launch “The Afterdark” on April 1, 2022 at the concert hall “Schüür” in Lucerne
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