Review: HK119 – Imaginature
Published on March 18th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
This third album from HK119, aka Finnish artist and designer Heidi Kilpeläinen, is introduced as exploring “the natural world, taking inspiration from the simplest sound of a birdsong or waves crashing along the shore”. If this is indeed the case then she has a commendably berserk perception of the natural world.
Take seven-minute opener “Wild Grass”, for instance: it begins in wilderness, someone asks “are you there?” and this is met with the following reply from a deeper, faintly frightening voice: “I haven’t left yet but I’ll be there soon. See the snake upon my neck? I had to prepare.” Kilpeläinen’s ‘crazed siren diva’ vocals then slither into the fray alongside a tentative electronic rhythm section, prompting a bout of swirling psychedelic synthery that transports us into a netherworld watched over by some dark side Kate Bush. It all adds up to such a strangely alluring sound, one which hints at the prevailing retro-futurism (or perhaps just plain futurism) of the LP when she starts singing about “21st century Japan”.
Hallucinatory splendour continues to play well with sultry, reverb-drenched, ’80s-updating minor-key-dom, until “Iceberg” underlines just how spellbinding Imaginature manages to remain throughout its course with the anthropomorphic ventriloquising of an iceberg whose mean-ass beat and commanding delivery might in more accepting times have been a big hit. “Please don’t stereotype me / As I’m never the same” we are asked at this juncture, and you can only comply with such a multimedia talent.
“Moss” is total, urgent madness, its male-voiced spoken word section recounting the following happenings from HK119’s bizarro: “An owl meets me… It opens its mouth and screams / It’s just a noise / It opens its chest like if it was a jacket / Inside is a dark ball / I reach inside to take it / I swallow it / It goes into my tummy and starts changing shapes / Like an alien form / Something wanted to come out… Twisting its body like a corkscrew, the head opens and explodes”. Cripes – gleefully unhinged electro-pop ahoy!
If you’re looking for something dark, daft and magical to play with at night when there’s no-one else around, then the scooped-out mind of Heidi Kilpeläinen could be just the thing for you. “Rather be alive in her mind when it rains” she seems to sing on “Rain”, and we dare say that she projects the kind of lysergic properties onto the wet stuff that The Beatles did on their song of the same name.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!
Imaginature will be released on 25th March through One Little Indian Records. For more information, please visit hk119.co.uk