Captured by the Game

Hunter Complex
Open Sea
U.K. DEATH WALTZ ORIGINALS DW025 L.P. (2019)

“More Flesh for Dr. Lucifer”, “Fiends in Human Form” and “Cannibal Vixens from the UltraWorld”. .. Of course we all have our favourites in the psychotronic/horror film canon. In the last few years, the cineaste fan boy’s lust for those elusive soundtracks seems to be well sated by the folks at ‘Death Waltz’. An imprint now well known for its nicely appointed reissues from legendary heavyweights such as Ennio Morricone, Fabio Frizzi and Riz Ortolani. Fairly recently, said label has branched out a little with a subsidiary called “Death Waltz Originals”, a home for the newer, more contempo acts like Pye Corner Audio, Pentagram Home Video and Lars Meijer. The latter a familiar face in the Dutch underground, having a background in the lo-fi pop of Larz and the more avant garde Psychon Troopers and the Living Ornaments duo. His current port of call being the more pictorial/cinematically-rooted elements of electronic theory under the guise of Hunter Complex.

This, the third release under that alias, shows its hand from the first couple of notes cast and appears to register a major interest in transporting the listener back to the nineteen-eighties; a fools-golden age where yuppiedom, shoulder pads, big hair and ‘Stars-on-45’ formed an ever-widening blot over the U.K.’s collective brain pan. The bewilderingly commonplace ‘glacial’ synth-tones, supplanted by a number of hyperactive sequencer backdrops and “80’s style drum machines” (quoth the promo sheet) on “Night City”, “Original Vision” and the brooding big cityscapes of “Chase Manhattan” are found stumbling helplessly over templates constructed by John Carpenter and latter period Tangerine Dream sound tracking around the time of “Thief” and “The Keep”. The promo’s claim of “O.S.” being “…retro and at the same time futuristic…” seems somewhat at odds with what’s actually on show.

Melodically self-assured with bright optimistic production values, it surely be… but haven’t we experienced an overload of ‘soundtracks in search of films’ in recent times? I’d rather today’s electronix grandees would refer back to other now neglected sources as potential roads to Damascus. Beaver & Krause and/or Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, for example. Open Sea will certainly push all of your buttons for your next retro-tech experience – if you’re that way inclined – but those expecting an occasional jolt of joyful frisson generated by rogue circuitry could feel a mite short-changed.

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