HVL - Alignment

  • Published
    22 May 2020
  • Words
    Resident Advisor
  • Label
  • Released
    April 2020
  • Genre
  • An impressive album covering the full spectrum between peak-time and afterhour.
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  • Since at least 2018, HVL has been on a roll. A resident DJ at Bassiani in Tbilisi, he's the best known artist in one of the world's best techno scenes. As a producer, he's kept up a crazy rate of production, with three albums out in barely three years. The first two, Ostati and Rhythmic Sonatas, established a delicate, emotive style of techno that he's still honing today. Alignment, his latest, hits the same heights as those records, but on a larger scale. Released last month on Bandcamp with a pay-what-you-want price scheme, it packs in 19 tracks and more than two hours of playtime. Luckily, this is music that works well in large doses: dreamy and uplifting, all soaring rhythms and twilit atmospheres. It's also impressively dynamic. The rhythms are diverse across the record, flirting with elements of electro and IDM, never settling for a standard techno stomp. The sounds are the same ones HVL's been using for years—techno, electro and acid, with hints of IDM, ambient and minimal—though he finds new levels of expression with them here. The drums are crisp and lean, the squiggly acid lines rich with feeling. The tracks never end up where they started, or where you'd expect them to. Often one loop will run from beginning to end, providing a hypnotic mantra while the other elements change around it. (For DJs, it's a fun album to mix through, with each track contrasting elegantly with all the others.) If there's a single element that runs through Alignment, it's a dual sense of both freedom and longing. Spacious reverb and soaring rhythms create a vast sense of space, but also a sense of great distance. Minor chords and ever-so-slightly sad melodies suggest something on your mind. HVL is that rare techno artist whose music, DJ-friendly as it is, has a potent introspective quality, using club sounds to convey subtle aspects of inner experience. This is what gives his records their spark, and this time around, helps Alignment pass the strange litmus test all dance music faces these days: in a time when clubs have never felt more distant, it resonates in the day-to-day.
  • Tracklist
      01. Epil 02. K01b 03. Luca Patch 04. H1 M-del Tskoba 05. U0202phas 06. Prosthetic Brain 07. K00 08. Bseqya 09. Hola Drive 10. Mouth (Horoom X) 11. Marchasid_lim 12. U1202 13. Dead End 14. Lush Breeze 15. Decapad 16. Wilburn Tribute 17. Limg Melody 18. Belated Acid 19. Temp Thought