Hacker Farm – ‘UHF’ CD [Exotic Pylon]

Every few months I get OCD about certain music, rinsing one-off projects, new artists or albums for weeks on repeat. This is exactly how I’ve lived with the new Hacker Farm release, with it currently sound tracking public commutes and the work hours, somehow calming the murderous rage that lives within me during these times. Farmer Glitch, Kek-W and Bren make up the core of the collective, joined by solo stars and fellow locals IX Tab and Kemper Norton as and when, with the ‘-farm’ part of their group name being as much a rural West Country reality as a technology juxtaposition.

For their last issue of 2012 The Wire sent Matthew Ingram out to meet Hacker Farm on their home turf, resulting in a brilliant 10 page feature of words and photos, covering everything from early influences of witch-hunting, to town-hall raves and their home-made cider. It’s a crazy good read, even if you don’t like their music; I definitely recommend tracking it down: http://thewire.co.uk/archive/artists/hacker-farm

Although hearing good things, I totally slept on Poundland, last year’s full length release and what many would consider their first ‘proper’ outing, being as it didn’t come out on cassette or as a floppy drive series as the previous two had. From the entire collective there’s a wealth of material to dig through though, and by all accounts much more on the way, though I’m yet to start on it properly.

It’s an easy comparison, but Hacker Farm reminds me of the first time I heard Ekoplekz, which is also akin to playing NES for the first time. The more you listen, the more you discover and appreciate the depth and intense composition skills, and like Mario the replays show more and more complexity, cheats and different levels. It’s insight to a whole new world, and very few electronic artists I obsess over are capable of marrying and walking the line between their own twisted mind’s eye and musical composition. Hacker Farm seem to have that rare talent of being able to talk through analogue equipment, sharing their ideas, experiences and stories through patches, patterns and samples.

The trio take it a step further than most however, with their homemade instruments and field recordings adding an extra organic element in to the mix, stepping away from the stranger world of electronic immersion. It’s probably the first time field recordings and home made circuits have actually made something more accessible.

UHF has dropped on the ever-brilliant Exotic Pylon label, a stunningly complete album with the fat bits of what could be hour long electronic jams removed. Varying between depraved techno, stretched out and built upon with unexpected layers, to revolution inspired spoken samples over Philippe Petit-esque soundscapes, there’s no chance of getting bored or unintended monotony. The highlights for me come when comparisons are musically drawn between futurism and chaotic city-life. It sounds odd, especially due to the group’s country-roots, but it works incredibly well.

Equally inspired by the randomness of urban Plastikman and the leftfield sentiments of Russel Haswell, these moments on the album are what music journalists meant when they wrote about ’emotionally evocative’ tracks. Music that gets you grounded in reality and thinking, that can soundtrack a work day of spreadsheets as much as The Age Of Apocalypse or an equally depraved and random future where the robots defeated John Connor in the first round. There’s meaning here, and it’s incredibly rewarding even if you have to listen a few times to properly find it.

Track and video below, and don’t forget to track down that Wire piece.