Zachary Huff’s “Laniakea” came to me through someones Bandcamp buying history and I am increasing finding this a fantastic source of music discovery. I would never have found out this percussive pianist and would not have discovered a surprising album of 2014.
The opening of “Penumbral” marks a man that is more than capable at the ivories, tinkling away and then slowly twisting in other tuned percussion. It’s not long before the piano and the weird synths are wrapping themselves around each other and suddenly a post rock drum machine kicks in and drenches everything with synths. It’s emotive, effecting and feels like the scope is far wider and larger than what my ears and speakers could handle. Similarly “Verge” holds a more manic space. Between a clown-esque eerie evil riff that the piano and keyboards rotate around, there’s also a buzzing guitar synth that cranks up the tension over the thick drum beats. Think Go Go Penguin going symphonic and you are nearly there. It effortlessly changes from hardcore to classical dreams and it always fits perfectly together. “Lilt” is the token short track and is spacious echo of reverbed voice and heavenly warm synth pads.
“Threshold” is a track with two distinct personalities. It opens and closes like a sci fi saga. The synth orchestra bellows, cowers, shivers and roars as it grows and develops into a magnificent track. In the centre lays an atmospheric ambient electronica piece with huge drums, fun bass lines and a colossus of a tune. It’s eight minutes of drama and joy. “Bloom” is an elegent drum n bass piece with acousic guitar and electric piano led samples that effortlessly flow out the speakers. Later on in the track water droplet samples are introduced into the mix and warped around with and it’s cute to hear it interact with other instruments. “Laniakea” then closes the album with a symphonic / drum n bass hybrid with vocals. It reminds me of a really happy Sonic track from the mid 90’s at times but it’s really well paced with so many changes in pace and tone over its nine minutes.
Zachary Huff has created 40 minutes of beauty. It encompasses so many things into each track and is crystal clean in its production. It’s one of my surprise new finds of 2014 and I heartily recommend it to anyone that enjoys instrumental music, piano based music or electronica with soul.