I Love You

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Those familiar with the Irving Klaw Trio might have thought they knew what to expect with Hochenkeit's debut, but rather than the Trio part two, I Love You was a different kettle of fish entirely. One of the many turn-of-the-century bands that saw the way forward not in pursuing old traditions faithfully but in creative hybridization that avoided the cul-de-sacs of mere fusion, Hochenkeit on I Love You took the world as its launching pad. About the best comparison that could be made would be to the similarly broad-minded folks in the Idyll Swords, given the wide range and intelligent use of instruments from across the globe (such as the Turkish cumbus and the chang from Thailand). There's a specifically drone-oriented tinge to the songs, though, that calls to mind a psychedelic approach in the most wide-reaching of senses. With the lengthy, steady groove and head-nodding zone of "Ritual Nacirema" brilliantly setting the mood from the start over ten entrancing minutes, chirping bird sounds adding to the mysterious tribal atmosphere of the track, I Love You from there moves from film noir in Myanmar threat ("Help Me/Help You") to crumbled, drifting bliss-out on "A Roomful of Sun" and many different points between. The use of electronic instruments here and there -- then-member John Hanson contributes theremin among other tones, as can be notably heard on the wonderfully murky and unsettling "Frightening Diaspora, Drifting Cranes" -- makes the end results of I Love You all that more unique, a haunting, not-meant-to-be-pinned-down compositional approach. Even the more "conventional" numbers on the face of it -- the slow, unplugged dance of "Pios Böri?," the rumbling, dank rock drive of "Smokin' the Astronaut" and more -- are shot through with multiple approaches to scale, style, and delivery, resulting in fascinating collages.

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